In our August spotlight, we feature Pam Drucker, a long-time STC Canada West Coast volunteer and board member. Pam was president of the chapter in 2011/2012 and most recently served as an advisor to the board before resigning in June. She shares her experience as well as what STC means to her.
Question: Did you always know you wanted to be a technical writer?
In junior high I wanted to become a flight attendant. I also wanted to sing lead in a rock band, design album covers, and be a photographer and a cartographer.
Looking back, I also enjoyed making lists as a way of organizing, much like a technical writer. In high school, I would make a list of outfits for the week to make sure I didn’t wear the same thing twice!
Question: How did you get started in technical writing?
I started working as support staff for a software company handling user complaints. Over time, the job made me jaded and I chose to leave. I enrolled in a business writing program at a state college and went on to a four-year degree in Software Technical Writing at Northeastern University.
Question: Who or what inspires you professionally?
I had such an influential instructor at Northeastern University. She proved that technical writing is a wrapper around many careers. She had previously worked as a consultant at a large manufacturing firm in Boston. She taught engineers how to write technically, and how to respond to requests for proposals (RFP). She was essential in helping engineers win multi-year contracts, and to improve visibility for subsequent projects.
Question: What is your involvement with STC?
I started at STC Boston where my instructor was a member. I enjoyed working on the competition program, building my network, and collaborating with other chapters. At STC CWC, I was a long-time board member, and was once Chapter President.
Question: Why did you choose STC?
It’s what I do professionally so that’s my main reason for joining. When I moved from Massachusetts to BC, I didn’t know anyone here. I contacted the chapter president upon arriving and met many wonderful people. I was able to carry forward my experience in Boston and bring it to this chapter. Members of STC have a high level of respect and camaraderie.
Question: What was the biggest challenge in your career and why?
I’ll focus on chapter challenges here. STC is facing the challenge of declining memberships due to an upward trend of professional and social networking sites such as Linkedin and Meetup. Professional organizations now need to work harder to retain and recruit members. We need to connect with people in such a way that they find a compelling reason to come back. STC is a best-kept secret that more people need to know about!
Question: What are your interests outside of technical writing?
I recently started playing the clarinet. I chose the clarinet because it matches my personality and it suits the need to lead. Ask anyone who’s taken a road trip with me and they will tell you, when it comes to tunes, I’m not a back-up singer but rather the ‘spotlight’ singer!