New Member: Megan Albert

Megan Albert has been volunteering with the SIG since the new year. She is a student at Simon Fraser University (SFU) currently, and completed a B.A. at the University of Alberta in Anthropology and Classics. She notes “I spent time volunteering for various programs there as a student, which led to me working for the University of Alberta Students' Union for 3 years. I spent about 7 years on the North Campus, and it's a much-loved area for me.”

Now we in the IDL are lucky enough to have Megan volunteering for us. She’s been busy packing and moving the past couple of months and hasn’t settled into an “official” role but has been a tireless supporter and organizer of the First Fridays at Five, which is an informal Zoom meeting held monthly (sign up here) for students, people who like students, and people who want to be a student or have been a student. In other words, you are welcome!

Asked to describe her job to a child, Megan replied “I write things that tell people how to do hard stuff.”   Megan says she was advised by teachers and professors that she should be a writer, as it's always been one of her natural abilities. Creative writing or an academic career didn’t interest her and while researching writing careers in corporate areas, Megan encountered technical writing. She immediately decided that it was the perfect fit.

Megan is nearly finished her certificate in technical communication from SFU. “As I await my final practicum course in September, I'm looking for freelance work and developing my portfolio. It feels great to start translating what I've learned to real-world applications,” she said. “Keep me in mind if you're looking for an entry-level contractor!” I guess if all else fails, Megan could seek out her alternate dream job: an interior designer. “I love DIY around the house as a hobby, and doing it professionally would be an amazing creative career.”

Megan kindly took some time out of her busy student/entrepreneurial life to answer some quirky questions for our newsletter:

What's your most memorable facepalm moment?

- I slipped on some ice at a Red Bull Crashed Ice event, and I accidentally elbowed a lady in the face who was helping me up. The crowd around me oooo'd and gasped and it was very cringe-worthy.

What is your motto or personal mantra?

- I make a point to encourage myself to fight past the fear of failure.

What is your secret guilty pleasure? (it won't be a secret after the newsletter is published.)

- I love watching The Bachelor/ette, it's good garbage.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

- My sweet cat Patches purring in my face.

Speaking of Patches...

Birthplace? Currently residing in?

- I was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and I still currently reside here.

What is your most common writing error? What is your worst pet peeve with other peoples' writing? 

- Sometimes commas get away from me, and I end up with too many or too little! A personal pet peeve in writing is using overly formal or niche language to sound more sophisticated. Your message is only as valuable as it is accessible to your audience.

Do you have a pet/pets? 

- My partner and I have two rescues. We have Patches, an incredibly sweet and chunky kitty (see picture above). Not much fazes her! We adopted Pika not even a week ago. She's an adorable, 7-pound, long-haired chihuahua with a bit of a sassy attitude! They're getting along great already!

New Member: Jannetta Lamourt

Let’s get to know Jannetta!

Jannetta Lamourt is a new volunteer for the IDL SIG who is also a student at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). A published poet, she is pursuing a Master’s degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing.

Jannetta has taken on the role of Social Media lead for the SIG and now oversees and coordinates our public-facing communication on Twitter, Slack, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Although she would rather be the Head Chocolate Taster at See’s Candy factory, she really enjoys her life in technical communications. In her words, “My writing began later in life. I was around thirty when I discovered computers and the cornucopia of information called the world wide web. From there – I volunteered with a women’s org online newsletter and developed articles as needed at first, then morphed into a bylined author, and from there upon a fellow reading some of my themed articles, was asked to author a six-week adult teaching course and [found that] the world of words was my oyster!” 

Jannetta works on technical writing and editing projects, writes website content and does  social media consulting, guides, and other documentation. Her company name is Quantivpro (www.quantivpro.com) and maintains her own website at www.jannettalamort.com.  Being self-employed, Jannetta is always looking for more work, usually on a freelance or contract basis. But, she says, if the right full-time remote position opened up… she’d be game!

Jannetta kindly took some time out of her busy student/entrepreneurial life to answer some quirky questions for our newsletter:

How would you describe your day job to a child?

I work on the computer creating stories and pictures 

What’s your most memorable facepalm moment?

Discovering—after multiple self-edits and using others to edit, and after printing a thousand or so pieces—that the title had lost its contraction of “you are.” That event reigns supreme as my ultimate FP moment. 

What is your motto or personal mantra?

Where there is will… there is a way. 

What is your secret guilty pleasure? 

A monthly subscription for Deathwish Coffee, my favorite (but not so secrete anymore)

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Did I mention coffee? Along with a list to do a mile long, I am generally a bright-eyed and fluffy-tailed morning person!

Birthplace? 

Lufkin, Texas

Currently, residing in?

Bernalillo, New Mexico  (Outside Albuquerque by 18 miles, and I consider it a half-horse town because it is too small to own a whole horse.)

Associations 

  • IDL STC
  • STC
  • New-England STC
  • SIG Women TechComm
  • SG Solo Technical Design
  • Civitan (Great Southwest Civitan District) 
  • Harpswell Foundation
  • Jasper and Angelina Counties in Texas, Genealogy Organizations
  • Quantivpro
  • Sandoval County Master Gardeners
  • Southern New Hampshire University

What is your most common writing error? 

Commas – their ever-changing positioning debate

What is your worst pet peeve with other peoples’ writing? 

  • Spelling and basic errors any word processor or email software pick up – red underlines have meaning! Take a moment and tidy up.
  • Wordiness, as in: I could maybe think about doing something about that issue, OR we would like to find a time to tell you perhaps what we think could be the issue… maybe. 

Do you have a pet/pets?

  • 16-year-old Chihuahua – Roky 
  • 18-year-old Aquatic Turtle- Myrtle
  • One rooster and four hens
  • I recently said a long goodbye to my beautiful 14-year-old Labrador Chief. 

Children? 

My son Conway is 26 and my daughter Nicole is 24.

Parents? 

I was adopted at age three, and my adoptive parents are now deceased.

I learned about my birth parents at age ten and met them later. I also found out I am the eldest of five children in my birth family; my father is deceased, but my mother is alive at 74. 

And here is Jannetta’s scrapbook page, which she designed herself:

IDL SIG announces its 2021 SIG award recipients!

by Lori Meyer and Maralee Sautter

The IDL SIG is proud to announce our 2021 SIG awards! These awards provide us with an additional opportunity to recognize the volunteers who work so hard to make our SIG the excellent community that it is. 

Volunteer Achievement, which recognizes the services of a SIG volunteer over time.  We have two recipients this year because it was an extraordinarily active year.

The first Volunteer Achievement award goes to Viqui Dill, a long-time SIG member who has served in many volunteer capacities, including co-manager, programs manager, and technical tools goddess. Viqui’s award citation reads:

For the joyful energy you bring to everything you do, including recruiting great speakers for our webinars, sharing our accomplishments through many outlets, and strengthening our community with your good heart and technical superpowers.

The second Volunteer Achievement award goes to Mellissa Ruryk, another long-time SIG member who has also served in volunteer activities, including co-manager, student outreach, and all things in between. Mellissa’s award citation reads:

For your vision to strengthen and expand our student outreach program and increase volunteer participation by offering short-term jobs (toe-dips), and for organizing a fun and engaging virtual scavenger hunt at our community's Summit 2021 social networking event.

New Volunteer, which recognizes a SIG member who has demonstrated exemplary service as a first-time volunteer. The New Volunteer award goes to Anita Matechuk, who has become our student volunteer extraordinaire in less than a year. Anita’s citation reads:

For stepping up to leadership without a moment's hesitation, serving as SIG secretary, providing valuable insights into using tools such as Facebook, Slack, and Zoom, and inspiring and recruiting new volunteers to be part of our community.

Congratulations to Viqui, Mellissa, and Anita, and we look forward to naming next year's award recipients!

We are proud of all our STC and SIG awards. Click here to view.

SIG NEWS: Marcia Shannon Reports on 2021 Summit Honors Reception

By Marcia Shannon, Immediate Past Manager

June was an exciting month, filled with education and awards, socializing and networking. 

At the Summit Honors Reception, our IDL SIG received the Bronze-level Community Award AND the Most Improved Community Award. The Bronze citation reads:

“For your impressive educational programming for your SIG and at the STC Summit, creative inclusion of students through your competition, and effective communication via your social media outlets and newsletter.”

This is the Most Improved citation: 

“For your extraordinary level of engagement and outreach within the STC community, and for continuing to provide impressive programs and value to your members.” 

We received notice about the Bronze achievement in April, but the Most Improved Award was a surprise. Both are the result of the hard work of all our volunteers throughout 2020. Additional kudos to Viqui Dill, for bringing us useful and interesting programs throughout the year, to Mellissa Ruryk, for her energetic student outreach expansion and Paul Scott, for his patience with our missed deadlines and skill in editing our newsletter contributions. Working with so many talented, dedicated winners is a continuing benefit of volunteering with the IDL SIG. I recommend it because each volunteer brings a fresh perspective to the SIG.

Summit presentations in review

Summit itself was three days of learning and fun and catching up with friends. I was able to attend a dozen of the 60 education sessions, most of the Featured Speaker presentations and several social/networking sessions. Thank goodness I have until August 31 to watch more of the education sessions, check out additional vendors. There is still much to explore and some sessions to watch again.

I enjoyed and learned from every session. These are my top picks with my take-ways from each.

So You Think You Know What Your Readers Want? (Strimling)

  • Research paper brought to life. 
  • How to measure whether users believe content is meaningful and actionable.
  • Documentation Quality Feedback Model is immediately useful.

Develop Engaging, Interactive Online Training Sessions (Kleinsmith)

  • Real world example of overhauling in-person and online training in variable settings.
  • Meet the user's needs and provide uniform information across venues and customers.

Enhance Your User Experience with Content (Gillenwater)

  • The tech writer is user zero.
  • How a company shifted their UI to meet user, not developer needs.

Low-Cost, Low-Effort Ways to Create Infographics and Visually Appealing Slides (Schrank)

  • Abandon old style formats in favor of cleaner, more user-centered infographics.
  • Avoid confusion, emphasize the most needed information.

Tools Be Damned! Full Speed Ahead (Aschwanden)

  • Tips and shortcuts across several apps, including Google and MS Excel.

Zoom-proof Your Presentations: Delivering Engaging Talks in a Virtual Space (Guren)

  • Help your audience concentrate on content.
  • Avoid distracting behaviors.
  • Pay attention to lighting.

No Money, No Design Skills, No Problem (Parkinson)

  • Free or low-cost resources for illustrations.
  • Handy cheat sheet for building an infographic.

Low-Cost and Low-Effort Ways to Create Infographics and Visually Appealing Slides (Schrank)

  • Excellent basics of building infographics that delight users.
  • Lists of resources. 
  • Review of most-used apps for building infographics and slides.

Kelsey & Ben's Excellent Adventure: A Mentoring Story (Woelk & Loftin)

  • Informal mentoring led to friendship, growth for both.

Get That Interview! How to Beat the Dreaded Applicant Tracking System (Molisani)

  • Formatting resumes to be read by 'bots or people.
  • How to make sure your resume includes what the company wants.

Performing a Skills Inventory and Gap Analysis to Land the Perfect Role (V. Berger)

  • Steps to breaking out of a career rut.
  • Explore different ways to recharge or redirect your career.

IDL SIG Summit Events-June 8 & 9

Summit Honors on Tuesday, June 8 at 1 pm EDT

STC Summit Honors Event where the Community of the Year and Most Improved Community were announced. Watch the video and see the exciting announcement at 27:01
https://vimeo.com/event/1028521/videos/555700556/

Open House on Wednesday, June 9 at 12:45 pm EDT

Join the IDL SIG  during the Open House. You don’t need to be registered for the Summit! Drop by and say hi to our volunteers and enter to win a door prize to be drawn at the AGM!  Mark your calendars and join using the Zoom link  https://zoom.us/j/95239076337?pwd=Wi9RTWdwbkEyYllHUllJWTVQaENiQT09. *

Prize drawing for IDL CoP SIG

Volunteer for STC IDL CoP SIG

And looking ahead . . .

STC IDL SIG AGM (Annual General Meeting)
Tue, June 29, 2021 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM EDT

First Fridays at 5: Join the conversation - drinks after work!
Fri, July 02, 2021 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM EDT