Co-manager’s column

By: Marcia Shannon

Stepping into a new role is scary and exciting. Being co-manager for the IDL SIG may be the biggest task I have taken on in quite some time. Being an active member of the SIG, first as secretary, then assistant co-manager was interesting and satisfying. Now, as co-manager, I have Lori and Viqui supporting me through the transition. That’s one strength of volunteering in this SIG, someone is always there to help you succeed.

Being a SIG volunteer sharpens my skills, widens my view, and provides professional fellowship. Volunteer duties can average as little as an hour a week, depending on the role. The “co” in the co-manager title means I need someone else in that same role because two heads are better than one and sharing a job makes it easier for both managers. If that job seems intimidating, go for the assistant co-manager role instead. Co-manager is part of the succession plan, where future leaders learn the co-manager role.

The first time I heard, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person,” I laughed. Now I know that it is true. We need more busy people to donate a little time to keeping our SIG strong. I challenge every SIG member to look over the open roles, find one that fits your interests, and join the leadership team. The IDL SIG is a platinum community because talented members are active participants. You are one of those talented members, and we need you. The monthly meeting is open to all members. Come to the next one to find out more about volunteering.

Marcia Shannon was assistant co-manager for in 2018, and transitioned to co-manager in 2019.

Jamye Sagan hosts our Sixth Annual IDL SIG Virtual Open House

Watch the Virtual Open House here

On December 7, 2018, SIG members and STC members gathered online for our sixth annual Virtual Open House. Jamye Sagan, longtime SIG leader and enthusiastic volunteer, opened the program which began at 7:30 pm Eastern time. Sagan chaired the meeting and welcomed attendees, inviting everyone to feel at ease and join the conversation.

Lori Meyer,  IDL SIG co-manager, presented the mission and goals of our group and stressed that members are welcome to join the group to build their skills, stretch their knowledge, ask questions, and try things out.

Sagan then introduced the team leaders one by one, highlighting the value that each area brings to members. Viqui Dill talked about the webinar series that showcases experts in our field and stressed that SIG members can attend or watch the recordings for free as a benefit of membership. Meyer presented again, this time about her role as co-manager and her passion for recognizing volunteers through our new SIG awards program. Next, Marcia Shannon discussed her role as assistant co-manager and her upcoming role as co-manager beginning in 2019, and the empowerment offered to volunteers to learn, grow, and stretch. Sagan then presented about the role of secretary and introduced our new volunteer, Madison Estabrook. Sagan followed that with her discussion of her current roles, generously wearing the hats of treasurer, social media manager, and surveys lead. Dill presented the role of membership manager and thanked Sara Buchanan for her many years of faithful service. Kelly Smith introduced herself and the newsletter, IDeaL: Design for Learning, inviting attendees to submit articles to be published online.  Shannon and Sagan gave an update about the Student Outreach Program chaired by Sylvia Miller, which offers the opportunity for students to be published before they graduate. Meyer presented the role of content curator and thanked Mellissa Ruryk for filling that need in . Sagan gave an update about the website maintained by Maralee Sautter, the training evaluations program, and some of our other SIG programs, the discussion list maintained by Dr. Elizabeth Bailey, and the STC mentoring program championed by Scott McCoy.

Sagan then summarized the benefits of membership, including the opportunity to meet face to face at the STC Summit and attend the educational sessions specific to IDL. Meyer summarized the benefits of volunteering and invited attendees and members to take the next step and support the SIG. Sagan explained how to join the SIG and invited attendees to sign up, then presented contact information including links to our social media outlets.

Congratulations to Paula Robertson, Angelina Nachimuthu, Kelly Smith, and Marcia Shannon  who won the Amazon gift cards at the end of the meeting. An informal discussion about IDL and the cats we love wrapped up the meeting, offering us another opportunity to connect online.

Many thanks to attendees and presenters, especially to Jamye Sagan for bringing us the Sixth Annual IDL SIG Virtual Open House.

December 7: Sixth Annual IDL SIG Virtual Open House

Announcement: Your IDL Leadership Team needs to reschedule this meeting for December 7.

We are so sorry for the inconvenience.

Virtual Open House Time!!!

As a virtual community, with all of our members scattered across the globe, we do not have the same opportunities as geographically-based communities to meet up face-to-face. Since 2013, we have hosted the IDL SIG Virtual Open House (VOH) so that new and prospective IDL SIG members could learn more about our community’s mission and goals, learn more about member benefits, and meet some of our leaders and volunteers.

During our VOH, participants have always had the opportunity to ask questions about the SIG and what we offer.

Virtual Party, too!

We’d like to combine our VOH with a virtual party (VP), where we would encourage all attendees to turn on their web cameras, share a photo or story. The VP (not be confused with Vice President!) we hope will add a very human, personal side to our VOH. Hey, it is all about making real, enduring connections!

About the webinar

The webinar will be recorded so feel free to watch with us online and then rewatch at your leisure. No need to take notes. If you cannot attend, sign up anyway so that you will get a link to the recording.

See the 2017 VOH recording on YouTube.

See the 2016 VOH recording on YouTube.

See the 2015 VOH recording on YouTube.

See the 2014 VOH recording on Adobe Connect.

Secretary’s Column

By Marcia Shannon

Second quarter was enlivened with the Summit. If, like me, you could not attend, read on for feedback from those who were there. I am sorry that I could not meet those who attended our SIG Business Lunch. I heard that there was a good turn out and it was enlightening, and encouraging, to meet members face to face.

I am writing this during my favorite part of the TV season: dance competitions. Between So You Think You Can Dance and World of Dance, there are so many artists doing breathtaking things, to evoke emotions, engage the audience, and tell a story. Where we technical communicators use words and images, they communicate through music and movement. That common ground fascinates me and sparks my imagination.

Taking a break from writing to watch these dancers reminded me that dancers take classes to polish their core moves, acquire new skills, and stay current with techniques and trends. Those are shared goals among all sorts of communication professionals. Whether you opt for a refresher in proofing and formatting, learn a new software tool, or expand your skills into a different industry, technical communicators are always in learning mode. Experience is vital, but we all need to refresh our skills every so often. I hope you are getting the full benefit of your STC and SIG memberships by attending the free-to-members webinars that are available regularly. Most continuing ed and technical colleges offer online, inexpensive single-topic classes, which are an easy way to brush up your skills.

To have the full SIG experience, volunteer for a SIG leadership role. The SIG thrives when there is high participation. None of the leadership roles is a full time job and there are always other volunteers who jump in to help with the big projects. The monthly meetings are open to all members. Drop in, check it out, perhaps spot where you can help. Don’t be a stranger.