Are you interested in sharing your knowledge at the industry-leading technical communication conference? Now is your chance! The 2016 STC Summit will be held 15-18 May in Anaheim, California, USA, and we’re inviting you to contribute your ideas, studies, experience, and expertise via our call for proposals.

The Summit fosters industry-leading technical communication by stimulating information exchange, cultivating research, and serving as the primary source of education for professional technical communicators. All session proposals should represent the latest business trends, communication techniques, technologies, approaches, and solutions.

Learn more about the submission process using these important links:

Proposals are due by 11:59 PM EDT (GMT-4) on Monday, 21 September 2015. All proposals must be submitted through the online submission system outlined on the Call for Proposals webpage.

The work you are doing is an important element in the education process, and we invite you to share it with Summit attendees. Good luck and we’ll see you in Anaheim!


Nominations Due for Society-Level Positions

by Marisa Seitz on 28 July 2015

Have you considered running for the STC Board of Directors or Nominating Committee? Do you have colleagues with ideal qualifications to serve? If so, consider recommending yourself or others for consideration for Society-level office.

The 2016 STC ballot will include candidates for Vice President, Secretary, Director (two positions), and Nominating Committee Member (two positions).

Desirable skills for Society-level officers include:

  • Experience with budgeting and reading and understanding financial reports
  • Well-connected within the technical communication industry
  • Ability to market and publicize STC
  • Experience with management and decision-making within organizations like STC
  • Experience with fundraising and cultivating sponsors
  • Thought leader status within the profession
  • Attendance or participation in other technical communication-related organizations and events
  • Ability to identify and articulate trends in the profession

If you have some of the above skills or experience, we’d love to hear from you. Recommendations are due 14 August 2015. For more information, or to recommend yourself or another STC member, visit:

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STC Histories

by Bill Leavitt on 27 July 2015

STC has a long and rich history, going back more than 60 years. Many STC chapters also have amazing histories. If you are a chapter historian or are just interested in STC history, you may want to find out what historical resources your chapter has. A chapter historian or other leader should collect historical records and artifacts so that the chapter’s history will not be lost over time.

I have been a historian involved in Chicago chapter and STC international history for over 35 years. With the help of other chapter members, we have created historical exhibits and information that goes back to the very beginning of our chapter. This past January, we celebrated 60 years as a chapter, recognizing January 6, 1955, as the date of our chapter’s formation.  [click to continue…]


By Bernard Aschwanden | President and Associate Fellow

Editor’s Note: Bernard Aschwanden was formally installed as STC President at the Annual Business Meeting during the Summit on Monday, 22 June.


Thank you. To the STC’s past, current, and future members and volunteers, and also to the Board, staff, and families who support us in what we do. Your efforts got us here, so thanks.

Bear with me as I recap a moment from a past conference. After an overnight flight with little sleep, I wanted to say “hi” to a presenter—an STC President—and the only person who saw me sneak into the back of the room. My plan was to relax before my afternoon presentation. A few slides later, the speaker said, quite loudly, “Bernard, do you have any ideas?” Startled, I looked up at a slide, which asked in bold letters, “What is the FIRST rule of technical communication?

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Did you enjoy the educational sessions at the 2015 Summit? Perhaps you noticed some areas you’d like to expand on, or you can think of one or two topics that are up-and-coming and deserve our attention in the future. Then you may want to consider joining the ranks of our 2016 speakers! In late summer/August, STC will open the call for proposals for the 2016 Summit, 15-18 May in Anaheim, CA. This is your chance to make a difference and be an integral part of such an important conference in our industry.

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Hot Summer, Cool Savings from Lenovo

by Marisa Seitz on 10 July 2015

levonoJuly means hot summer savings at Lenovo! Get these STC member deals before they cool off. Get instant savings of up to 30% off Lenovo’s laptops, tablets, desktops, and more! Check out the latest and greatest in Lenovo technology at and get FREE shipping on all Web orders.

Take advantage of these special offers until 31 July 2015:

  • 30% off the Lenovo Yoga 3 14” laptop – the ultraportable convertible laptop with a vibrant multitouch display that flips back 360°

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STC unveiled the winners of two community awards at the 2015 Summit: The Most Improved Community and the Community of the Year. These awards were introduced at the 2011 Summit to complement the current community awards and provide an extra incentive for chapters and SIGs.

Most Improved 2015The Most Improved Community is given to the community that “stepped up their game” the most from one year to the next, based on their applications for the Community Achievement Award (CAA). This year the award goes to the Phoenix Chapter.

Their citation reads: For your tremendous increase in chapter activities between 2013 and 2014, for rebuilding your chapter, and for serving as a model host for the 2014 STC Summit.
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Note from the Editor – June Intercom

by Liz Pohland on 23 June 2015

June Intercom is guest edited by Jack Molisani with a theme of career management and prosperity. Jack is president of ProSpring Technical Staffing, executive director of The LavaCon Conference on Content Strategy and TechComm Management, and author of Be The Captain of Your Career: A New Approach To Career Planning and Development. He has solicited six articles that showcase ways to be more successful and influential in the workplace. This issue also marks the retirement of Jack’s column Advancing Your Career. Thank you, Jack, and all the authors in this issue of Intercom for your expertise and assistance with promoting our professional development.

From the Guest Editor

Jack MolisaniI recently had the pleasure or hearing STC Past President Andrea Ames speak at a conference. (Andrea is the first woman in the history of IBM to rise to her level from an information development track.) She presented an inspiring keynote on career development titled, “Forget ‘Predict’ the Future—Create the Future!”*

In her keynote, Andrea reminded us to not only watch for career opportunities, but to create career opportunities. So when Intercom Editor Liz Pohland asked me shortly thereafter if I’d be interested in guest editing an issue of Intercom, I said, “Yes, and I have a perfect theme in mind: career management and prosperity!” [click to continue…]


At the Opening General Session for the 2015 STC Summit in Columbus, President Kit Brown-Hoekstra named her recipient of the President’s Award. The President’s Award honors one or more persons or institutions that have made distinguished contributions to the profession or the Society.

Phylise  BannerThis year’s honoree is Phylise Banner.

Her citation reads: For your dedication to our profession and to STC; for your creativity, visionary thinking, teaching, and speaking abilities; and for all the work that you have done over the years helping STC build its online educational programs, Virtual Summit, and conferences. [click to continue…]


Badass—An Interview with Kathy Sierra

by Marisa Seitz on 17 June 2015

By Nicky Bleiel, Senior Member and STC Past President

Kathy Sierra - Badass: Making Users AwesomeKathy Sierra is the author of many successful books, including the award winning Head First series with Bert Bates. She’s an in-demand conference speaker, trainer, programmer, and the founder of the online community JavaRanch. In this interview, she and Nicky Bleiel discuss her new book, Badass: Making Users Awesome.

Nicky Bleiel: Kathy, thanks so much for joining me to discuss your new book. I must admit, the minute I heard the title I wanted to interview you about it, because technical communicators consider our main goal “making users successful.” Your book ups that ante to “making users awesome.” That’s impressive.

Kathy Sierra: Thank you. That title was actually controversial. For a long time they didn’t want to use the word, “badass.” I chose it very deliberately, because I use to refer to it as making “passionate” users. But I realized how many time people mistook “passionate” to mean “people are really enthusiastic about the brand.” I always meant “growing expertise,” not “we love the brand” or “we love the product.”

I chose “badass” because it was just a more difficult word to get wrong.

NB: It is much less ambiguous. What was actually the impetus for writing Badass? It was many years in the making, correct?

KS: It was. I delivered it about six years late. I’m the worst possible role model for meeting a deadline but I had very patient publishers. [click to continue…]

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