Several weeks after the STC Summit, I can finally see it with a more balanced perspective … perhaps. I am not yet over the gravity of being formally “installed” as president of STC, or the excitement of taking the stage to address hundreds of members, or the joy of handing out awards to people I have respected and admired for years. Just thrilling … all of it.
But the power of the Summit, like the responsibility of assuming the presidency, is not just about the hoopla and the socializing (though I loved wearing that golden dress). The sessions and events at the Summit remind me that this is a noble profession. Every person I met, every session I dipped into (couldn’t stay long, alas) communicated energetic commitment to technical communication as a true profession, however multifaceted.
We are a very diverse and verbal lot, we technical communicators. I talked with extraordinarily articulate student members, wise and humorous tech comm veterans, and people of all sort of ages and stages in between. I talked with members who write all kinds of documents (proposals, Environmental Impact Statements, functional specifications, policies and procedures, business processes, all sort of user reference and help docs) and with members who don’t write much anymore but who design websites, conduct usability studies, manage and strategize about content, etc. Tech comm is becoming bigger and more interdisciplinary than ever before, and that is an incredible challenge and an energizing opportunity for all of us.
Technical communicators are well positioned for the work of the 21st century—we’ve been collaborating and approaching problems from many angles for decades. This ongoing preparation for a future in which technical communicators contribute positively to the way we all work, communicate, and collaborate—this is the promise that the STC Summit offers. And I want to work throughout the year to help STC deliver on that promise in many ways, with its educational programs, collaborative cyberspaces, and a robust (if not fully fleshed out) body of knowledge. And of course with next year’s Summit in Rosemont, outside of Chicago, Illinois. May 2012 may seem a long way away, but STC committees and staff are already working hard to build a hot-shot program with meaningful and fun collaborative and social opportunities.