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My 2013 Spectrum Experience with STC Rochester

26 Mar

What a weekend I had at STC Rochester’s 2013 Summit! Not only was I, as always, greatly inspired by my phenomenal mentor, Ben Woelk, but also, I was inspired by other great professionals in Tech Comm who opened up my mind to new ways of thinking about all things writing. The conference was so inspiring, I can’t keep all of the inspiration and life-direction advice to myself… so I’m sharing it here. Enjoy!

…Inspiration comes from insightful, and passion-driven experiences…
 
  1. Working in the non-profit world is perfect for some individuals but there are definitely high burn-out rates (see Justin Ewer’s article in the US News). I love it, but do experience burn-out easily, so I have taken steps into looking into jobs in different directions, including going back to the world of Higher Ed. after some great advice from the conference attendee’s who know first hand what I was experiencing!

    What I learned from the conference is to be conscientious and careful of the possibly downward spiral associated with high-stress positions trying to “help people”. They are great in theory, but if you don’t have the right fit you most likely will damage your strong-will and desire to change the status quo and could potentially experience the feeling of dissatisfaction after realizing you have not solved any societal problems… so pick your organization wisely!

    How? Simple primary research! Go on informational interviews, connect with people who used to work there, and find out if the office environment is one in which you can make a difference. Nonprofit it still where I see myself working long-term but I am taking this advice to heart based on the experience’s of successful professionals who have been there! Thanks, especially to Ben, Anna, and Bernard!

  2. Experience is a MUST! This one may seem obvious, but the type of experience you get makes a world of difference. Take for instance, volunteer work – it can be so beneficial to an organization and your brand… if the work you produce is tangible, quantitative, and effective. If you are just filling in for others who are not doing their job, the organization is the only entity benefiting. Great for them, especially if they are a nonprofit, but not good for the one putting in endless hours of extra work that take away from producing tangible, useful portfolio work.

    In order to make your volunteer, or non-paid, work beneficial to you and the organization, some steps to take include a simple one – mapping out where you start when you begin the position, and showing where you plan to end. In this way, you can track your progress in fulfilling the organization’s mission and improving on some aspect of their outreach, communication, technical progress, etc.

    Also, be sure to track everything you do. Before you do anything, ask yourself, how will this be of benefit to the organization and how can I best utilize all that I know to make a quantifiable lasting impression? (or something of that nature to give your work all you can, and to measure your success for future positions… and for the organization).

  3. This one comes straight from the fantastic presentation by Lori MeyerThe Change Agent in You! Without giving away all the great tips from this presentation, I will focus on a major point she made that really hit home with me. Lori suggested that we always be sure to “take inventory of skills you possess” which can serve  as a beneficial tool during interviews and also as a “roadmap” to match yourself up with the job you want to get.

    I took that personally as great advice to validate my present position in my working life, and also my direction in life. While I was volunteering for many great causes and working on my masters thesis, it hit me that I was not utilizing my skills to their fullest extent in either of these areas as I was stretching my time too thin. After reflection on Lori’s presentation, I realized that to reach the point in my life/work life that I hoped to in 5 years, I currently had to withdraw some of my time out of volunteer positions and focus them better. After just a week and a half, I have noticed I am more successful in my everyday endeavors and go to sleep at night feeling more successful!

    Try it – take an inventory of your current and future desired skills… then thank Lori for the great tips!

  4. The dynamic duo at the conference, STC Director (and my mentor) Ben Woelk and Marilyn Woelk , Rochester STC President 2012, were the source of much inspiration in their speeches, from interpersonal advice, and their mere presence at the conference and in my life!

    Ben, in his lightning talk, offered some fantastic tips on information security. While dodging the “distraction balls”, he pointed out the threat of posting on Facebook, and other Social Networking sites, that you are out-of-town to a broad audience of people. Knowing you are gone, and for how long, any burgular could easily break into your house, knowing the time-frame they could have before your return. Scary! But true… be careful!

    I used to be an avid user of Foursquare, which considering I am his mentee, seems counterintuitive… But, I am proud to say that I have now limited my use of Foursquare to only posting to my limited “friends” on Foursquare, and not to my private Facebook, and public Twitter accounts. Progress! 🙂

    Marilyn gave a fantastic talk about Getting, Keeping, and Excelling at a Job. Not only is this very relevant for me, a soon-to-be recent graduate, but in today’s economy, her speech is beneficial to everyone! She touched on topics of personal branding – ensure you establish your personal brand as an individual that is not easily replaced – interviewing tips – from the initial hand-shake to the follow-up email – and so much more! Catch her during her next presentation… I don’t want to give all her insightful tips away on here… then you miss out on her fantastic speaking presence! Thanks Marilyn!

    Although I missed Ben and Hannah Morgan‘s raved-about presentation, I look forward to Summit 2013 in Atlanta where I will attend Empowering the Introvert Within: Becoming an Outstanding Leader! Other’s who attended their previous presentations wrote about it, like New Balancing Act, Jamie. You could always check out the Bulletproofing your career online’s website, too for ideas about their fantastic presentation style that I know can only come through better, if that’s even possible, in this presentation! 

    (Hey, Ben, did I plug your links enough? Brownie points, yes! *kidding*)

  5. TOOLS! Boy did I get tips on some fancy tech-tools that I had not yet utilized… and think you should definitely try them!

    David Caruso  suggested a fantastic metrics tool from the government, go.usa.gov. If you are into metrics, especially on Twitter, check this one out. It’s a great way to track the traffic you are creating for an organization, or yourself!

    Bernard Aschwanden, Adobe representative exhibited the Adobe Technical Communications Suite 4.0 on how to “improve the User Experience through Hybrid Docs” during his live demo.

    Doc to help is a neat tool that my dear friend Nivi won in a raffle. I plan to soon ask to try it out myself on her computer! It is a tool that helps making sharing, or publishing, information on a variety of outlets (desktops, web, mobile, & print) so easy!

In essence, I got so much out of Spectrum 13 that I could continue on for hours, but will leave it to this simple 5-point post for now. I cannot wait until next year, and hope to be even more involved in the conference – and urge you, if you are in the area, or not, to check it out in 2014!

Thank you to the mentioned inspirers including Lori Meyer, Ben WoelkMarilyn WoelkHannah MorganDavid Caruso, Bernard Aschwanden.

A special thank you, as well, to the not specifically mentioned, but those that inspired some of the great thoughts and insights I’ve either written about or utilized since then… Thank you Anna Parker-Richards, Wendy Ross, Alan Houser (Keynote), and all of the lovely STC Rochester 2013 Spectrum presenters, attendees, sponsors, friends, and volunteer’s for all of your help, inspiration, and guidance!

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Save the date… an event coming to CNY you don’t want to miss!

4 Mar

Save the date... an event coming to CNY you don't want to miss!

“SAVE THE DATE” for the exciting event coming this May – “The Traveling Little Black Dress Creating New Beginnings” to benefit the Seneca County House of Concern.

Please pass along the save the date to everyone you know – you certainly don’t want to miss this Must Attend Event of the Season! 🙂

Cute, right?

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