Final Program Recap

By Sharon McDonnell

Wednesday, June 25, 2014, a dozen or so of us met at Little Daddy’s in Livonia for our final program of the 2013/2014 season. We met for several reasons: to network, to acknowledge and appreciate, to brag about our work, to announce the changing of the guard, and to eat!

Secretary, Susan Fisher, presenting her Information Architecture wireframes for a software application.

The member showcase portion of the program featured several very interesting offerings:

  • Technical and marketing copy in print form authored in Word and Acrobat
  • Online training materials authored in Flare and Captivate
  • Information architecture wireframes for  a web application describing body systems
  • Portfolios in online and print formats


Each contributor briefly presented his or her offering and afterwards we perused them.

Our outgoing president, Tom Glennan, recapped his goals for this year and compared them to the accomplishments we have made. Most of the things he set out to do were done, so he can be proud of his effort. (more…)

Some presidential reflections

Written by Tom Glennan

Oct 2013 GlennanThe STC-SM member showcase and volunteer appreciation dinner meeting held on June 25 at Little Daddy’s in Livonia was a great opportunity to recognize and reflect on the contributions of our members both in the workplace and in our chapter. And it also gave me the opportunity to reflect on the past program year as my year of serving as your chapter president draws to a close. In reflecting, we can both celebrate what we have achieved and think about where we want to go as a chapter. (more…)

Congratulations, Maryann Bowen!

Written by Tom Glennan

Tom and Maryann with DCSA 2014Congratulations to Maryann Bowen, who was approved by the STC Board of Directors to receive the Distinguished Chapter Service Award (DCSA) for 2014! Maryann was recognized as a DCSA recipient at the recent STC Summit in Phoenix as well as in the online STC Notebook and in the May 2014 issue of Intercom.

The DCSA is bestowed in recognition of the recipient’s exemplary effort, energy and dedication to his or her community and its activities. Maryann was nominated for her commitment and service to the technical communication profession, and to STC-SM in particular. Whether it’s her service to the chapter by serving in a variety of elected and volunteer positions, her dedication to providing value for our chapter members or her tireless efforts to develop and present meaningful program events and speakers, Maryann has served as an inspiration and model we would all do well to emulate.

In recognition of her significant professional and personal accomplishments, Maryann was presented with her DCSA certificate at the STC-SM volunteer recognition dinner meeting held on June 25. Please make a point of congratulating and thanking Maryann when you see her at an upcoming STC-SM event.

2014-15 Elections

Elections are underway for the 2014-15 chapter term.  STC/SM chapter members should have already received an email from “electionbuddy elections” containing instructions to participate in online voting. The online process includes the actual ballot and profile information for each candidate.

If you are a current chapter member and have not received the election instructions, or you are unable to complete the online voting process, please contact

Program Recap: I Could Never Be a Contractor…or So I Thought

Submitted by Sharon McDonnell

Wednesday, May 14 was the night. Blue Care Network headquarters in Southfield was the venue. The panel consisted of three presenters: Thomas Glennan (Technical Writing Solutions, LLC), Patricia Gómez Martz (Inkberry Solutions) and Mary Jo David (Write Away Enterprises).

The three panelists each took turns at the podium, followed by a question-and-answer session for all three. The common themes were: get an attorney, get an accountant, market yourself even when you already have projects to work on, and make time for yourself and your family (in other words, don’t work 24/7 or you will burn out).

The panelists shared many tips and tricks about how to run your business and set rates and gave some history of their experiences. Everyone gave positive feedback on this program; some who had been freelancing in the past said they learned things they didn’t know! One of the attendees said, “Great program last night! Even though I was an independent (freelancer/consultant/business owner?) for 15 years, I learned a lot from all of you — i.e., that I did a lot of things wrong! You gave us a ton of useful information that I’ll be able to use the next time I go solo. Thanks!”

Many thanks to Catherine Vera-Burgos and BCN for allowing us to use their beautiful venue. Many folks mentioned how nice and comfortable it was, not to mention the great audiovisual accommodations.

STC/SM Council Nominations

submitted by Jill Money, Nominations Chair

Spring is FINALLY here, which means it’s time for STC-SM Council nominations. We hope that you will be able to get involved this year with our chapter. This is a perfect time to take steps to build your professional network, skills, and resume – and help build your STC community at the same time.

The most significant opportunity – and the most critical, immediate need – is for volunteers to run for chapter officer positions (President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer) as well as two elected (but non-officer) Nominations Committee positions.

Nominations are now open for the 2014-2015 election. The election will take place May 20-30 for the year of July, 2014 through June, 2015. We hope that you might have a chapter member in mind that you think would make a great officer (that can include yourself)! Please note that candidates must be chapter members. Send your ideas or any questions to

If you’re not quite ready to commit to elected office, there are plenty of other ways to get involved in chapter activities. For example:

  • Join the chapter listserv and our groups on Facebook, and LinkedIn, and follow @STCSM on Twitter.
  • Attend a program meeting or networking event.
  • Serve as a greeter at a program meeting.
  • Host a networking lunch – or breakfast, or happy hour – in your local area.
  • Plan to attend all or part of the STC Summit, May 17-20 in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Ask your employer to sponsor a program meeting or other event. (Various levels of sponsorship are available, starting with simply providing meeting space free of charge.)
  • Write an article for the chapter blog.
  • Volunteer to manage or serve on a council committee: Membership, Blog, Nominations, Programs, Publicity, and Website all have openings. See Volunteer Opportunities on the chapter website, or contact any council member for more information.


Scholarships Available

STC’s Technical Editing SIG is now accepting scholarship applications. Deadline: July 1, 2014.  Winners will be announced in August 2014. For details, go to:  This is a wonderful opportunity for students enrolled in either a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in technical communication (or related field) who hope to pursue a career as a Technical Editor.  As with any scholarship application process, the key is to make sure you follow through on all the requirements and that you do so with professionalism. As a member of the Technical Editing SIG, I once served on the committee that reviewed the scholarship applications, and I can assure you a lot of work and time goes into reviewing the materials of all those who apply.  Good luck to any and all who participate!

The Passion of Grant Writing

Written by Mary Jo David

IMAG0333aOn Thursday, April 24, 2014, STC/SM sponsored a Grant Writing 101 program for members and non-members alike. Three panelists provided valuable insight and anecdotes about their experiences assessing grant opportunities and writing grants. The panelists included:

  • Dawn Massie: Grants Manager at Hope Medical Clinic (Ypsilanti)
  • Laura Crane: Grant Administrator at Washtenaw Community College (Ann Arbor)
  • Scott Gifford: Vice President of Community Development & Grant Management at Matrix Human Services (Detroit)

The panelist perspectives were interesting and varied as they crossed the spectrum of non-profit and for-profit organizations. Dawn’s presentation included her thoughts about the qualities of a good grant writer. She also mentioned the unique opportunity she has at Hope Clinic to describe the good work being done there, not just for those awarding the grants but also for an internal audience of those who work at the clinic who don’t always realize the impact of their work. Laura focused on the grant process and emphasized the need to clearly show how the needs and goals of the organization requesting the grant align with, support, and further the purposes and vision of the grant funders. Scott stressed the importance of relationships and suggested that successful grant writers must recognize the importance of developing strong relationships with the grant funders long before these writers prepare and submit their grant requests. One message that came through loud and clear from all three panelists is that to be a good grant writer you need to be passionate about the organization you’re working for, the topics you’re writing about, or best case, both.

The program was well attended by a mix of professional writers and students. Early in his presentation, Scott inquired about the make-up of the audience: the vast majority had no experience in grant writing, and most were there just to learn the basics about what’s involved in this field.
As always, time was provided at the beginning of the evening to encourage networking among attendees. Special thanks to Lisa Veasey, Programs Manager for STC-SM, for organizing this program and to Washtenaw Community College for providing the venue.

Rounding Out the Networking Year in Troy

Written by Tom Glennan
On Tuesday, April 29, three of us met at Champps Americana Restaurant and Grill in Troy for the final planned STC/SM networking event of the 2013-2014 program year. Feeling very thirsty and looking forward to a chance to unwind after another day of technical communication challenges and (we hoped) successes, this happy-hour get-together proved to be another excellent opportunity to get to know one another better and exchange ideas and observations about the profession of technical communication and our chapter. The topics included our personal experiences living in foreign countries while completing assignments; the subtle distinctions between translation and localization of technical content; the joys and challenges of grant application writing for non-profits; a brief discussion of ethical issues faced by technical communicators when completing assignments and projects; and even a little introductory discussion of our next program meeting topic, working as a freelance writer. Pretty heavy stuff for an after-work celebration, but it was all very enjoyable. (more…)

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