As 2012 came to a close, STC offered a membership promotion: renew your membership by 31 December and be entered to win a free Samsung Galaxy Tablet. Paula Ludmann is the lucky winner of that prize, and she spoke with Your Friendly Neighborhood Blogger about her membership in STC.
First of all, thanks for renewing your membership! How many years has this been for you? What keeps you coming back?
I’ve been a member of STC for 11 years and continue to renew my membership because being a member offers me the best way to network with others in the field. I’ve developed quite a network of contacts within the Chicago chapter. I value these connections, which I might not have without my membership. The folks in the Chicago chapter are outgoing, committed to improving the chapter, and very talented. I also value the connections I made during the 2008 STC and People to People delegation to China. That was an awesome life experience that I’ll never forget.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you do in technical communication?
My job title is senior technical writer. I’m employed full-time by the American Academy of Dermatology. In this position, I am responsible for developing the content strategy for all public content. Since this is an association, I also develop most of the public-facing content. I write Web pages, video scripts, print pieces, and a monthly e-newsletter. The mission is twofold—to provide the public at large and dermatology patients with the content they need to make informed decisions about their health and to influence them to make healthier decisions, such as check their skin for signs of skin cancer and protect their skin from the damaging rays of the sun.
How has your membership in STC helped with that job and others in the past?
In 2012, I took a two-day workshop at the STC Summit in Rosemont about content strategy. What I learned during that workshop allowed me to roll content strategy into my job responsibilities and become the go-to person within my association for anything related to content strategy. This year, I’m leading a cross-departmental team that will develop content strategy for all our Web-publishing efforts. I couldn’t have done this without that hands-on workshop led by Jeff Eaton and Karen McGrane.
What else has membership in STC provided for you?
Intercom, Technical Communication, and the e-newsletters (national and chapter) keep me on the forefront of information that I need to know so that I can make evidence-based decisions at work. I work for physicians, so including evidence-based research in my recommendations is essential.
I noticed that you joined a Chapter and a SIG as well; what extra benefits do those communities bring?
I think I’ve bragged enough about STC’s Chicago chapter. If you’d like to hear more, you’ve found a great resource.
Any plans for your Galaxy Tablet?
Yes, this tablet will be immensely helpful to me in an upcoming project at work. I’ll be creating comprehensive patient guides for people living with some of the more common dermatologic diseases, such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and melanoma. I’m thinking of making these guides available on tablets. I have one tablet, an iPad. I will be really helpful to look at health apps on the Galaxy.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Keep up the great work and continue to raise awareness of the value that skilled technical communicators bring to corporate America, nonprofits, and many different industries.