Steven Jong: candidate for STC secretary

by Steven Jong

I’d like to tell you a little about my background, describe the secretary’s role and why I’m a good fit for it, and list what I see as the Society’s issues and my ideas to help.

My Background

In 30 years as a technical communicator, I’ve done a little bit of everything, including editing, illustrating, and training, but mainly writing and managing. Currently, I work as a documentation manager. Outside of work, I’ve led four non-profit organizations (including a stint as secretary) to long-term stability.

I’m an active member of the Boston chapter. For nearly 20 years I’ve served their chapter competitions. In 2001 I was elected to their administrative council, and in 2004–2005 I served as president. I also belong to the Northern New England chapter, the Management SIG, and the Information Design SIG.

At the Society level, I am in the final year of my term on the Board of Directors. I am the chair of the Certification Task Force. I’ve participated in the International Technical Publications Competitions. And I’ve presented at eight annual conferences.

The Secretary’s Role

The Secretary assembles and distributes the agenda and materials before meetings, takes minutes during meetings, and distributes them to members afterwards. A secretary must be highly organized and detail oriented. But a good one also keeps the group on agenda, manages time, and reminds people of previous actions and decisions.

As a member of the Executive Committee, the Secretary is both an officer and a voting board member. You have to know when to take notes and when to speak up. All Board members must focus on strategy, not tactics. You have to set goals and directions for the good of the entire Society, and leave the implementation to others.

Society Issues

Today, STC’s biggest issue is existential: will we be around next year? We’ve taken huge steps to reach 2010, and I think we’ll be around in 2011. But there are still major issues to resolve, such as next year’s chapter business model. We need to rebuild our membership, and to do that we need coordinated membership drives that reach out locally to lapsed members and globally to new demographics and new areas of practice.

I also think a serious communication gap exists between the Society, chapter leaders, and members. Our relationships need repair; good communication helps, and the Secretary plays an important role.

Finally, we need for STC to set the standards in the field for everyone — practitioners, clients, and consumers alike. I support initiatives that would raise our value to employers.

Summary

I have a great deal of relevant experience, not just at the chapter and Society level but also at other non-profits. I am an excellent communicator, well organized, and process and detail oriented — all critical traits in a secretary. And because I’ve observed the exemplary work of our outgoing secretary, I already know what to do.

For more information, go to www.StevenJong.net. In March, please cast a vote for me. Thanks for your consideration!

Steven is a documentation manager in Marlborough, MA. He has over 30 years of experience as a writer and manager, and has developed and led training, in the US and Europe, on a range of subjects. Steve is active at the chapter, SIG, and Society level.