First time summit attendee summary

Ducks and name tag

It was fun to pick badges for our name tags. There was a badge for everyone.

I attended STC’s 64th Annual STC Summit “Gain the Edge to Get Results” in Washington, DC from May 7th to 10th, 2017. As a first time summit attendee, I gained a wealth of knowledge that I’m happy to share with my fellow chapter members and coworkers. It was an amazing and well organized conference. I enjoyed networking with people who live in India, Australia, Belgium, and Israel as well as all over the US and Canada (Vancouver, Ontario, and Toronto). Over the three days, I attended 12 sessions, a speed networking event, a chapter awards ceremony, and an annual STC business meeting.

As a new chapter leader, I really appreciated the leadership conference. This was the most valuable session that I attended. It was an eye-opener to learn about the CAC resources and other resources for leaders. It was great to have the opportunity to network with the other leaders who attended this event. I learned about the awards that are available for individuals, chapters, and Special Interest Groups (SIGS).

It was interesting to learn that a few chapters felt disconnected from the head office and board of directors. An effort has been made to ensure individual chapters feel they are part of the larger technical writing community. I was appreciative of being set up with another chapter President to be my mentor.

My biggest takeaways from the summit were hearing about other companies and chapters’ struggles, getting tips for improving our chapter, and learning about the new tools and skills I can apply to my profession and my chapter to get the best return on investment. These are some of the sessions that I attended:

  • Flow Based Leadership, by Judy L. Glick-Smith
  • Relationship Revolution: Elevating Your Impact and Influence in a Connected Age, by Seth Mattison
  • How to Turn Words and Data into Powerful Graphics, by Mike Parkinson
  • Walk in Your User’s Shoes Creating Journey Maps for an Improved User Experience, by Michelle Gardner
  • We’re Going Mobile! Great! What Does that Mean? by Neil Perlin
  • Proving ROI: Agilely Cutting Costs in Help, by Jessica Kreger
  • Translation: The Holy Trifecta, by Val Swisher

While I attended the Honors Reception, it was very exciting to take over holding Sara Feldman’s cell phone (she was doing a Facebook Live recording of the awards) while she accepted the 2017 Platinum award for the “Most Improved Community” on behalf of the San Diego chapter, for whom she’s VP of Programs. It was wonderful to see all the hard work that volunteers put into their chapters being rewarded. There was great food and after the ceremony, the “Rough Drafts” band (hosted by the Washington DC-Baltimore Chapter) played and there was dancing.

For more details about what I learned, watch for my webinar this fall. I’ll cover a high level summary and answer questions about the summit. The webinar will also be recorded.

Serena Beck has been a technical writer for 13 years and currently writes about blood and plasma hardware and software. She is the president of the STC Canada West Coast chapter.