Hi! I’m Steve Jong, your STC New England Chapter president for 2018–2019. Thank you for your vote of confidence. I’m happy and excited to take on this challenge!
First, please send a note of thanks to Paul Duarte, who carried us through the last couple of years. If I can bring half as much energy and enthusiasm to the job as Paul did, we’ll be in good shape.
For those of you who don’t know me, I want to introduce myself. I also want to let you know my three main goals for the next year.
Who does this guy think he is?
At the Summit in Orlando last month, I attended Leadership Day, and as an icebreaker they asked us to line up by seniority. The audience included top leadership and retired members just there to help out. Yet when the sorting was done, I found myself at the head of the line! How did this happen? Let’s see: I got a job as a technical writer right out of college, and I’ve spent my adult life in the profession. John Minniti, my manager at the time, suggested I join STC in 1982. I became an active chapter member in 1991, when the late Carol Landers talked me into joining the competitions committee to fix a problem I was complaining about. (Her recruiting skill is why we named the Chapter’s highest award for her.) Hans Fenstermacher persuaded me to run for the Administrative Council in 2002, I was elected vice president in 2003, and I served as president for 2004–2005.
Then the Society beckoned. I won election to the STC Board of Directors, serving from 2007 to 2010. I was the chair of the first Certification Commission from 2010 to 2013. I joined the Community Affairs Committee from 2016 until this year. Back home, I filled open slots on the STC New England Council in 2015, 2017, and again this year. Then I saw a need, raised my hand, and here I am again.
What is this guy trying to do?
Obviously the Chapter has changed a lot since my last term, and today we face different challenges. Like STC itself, we’re smaller than we used to be (though we remain one of the largest chapters in the Society). So we have reduced resources, both funding and volunteers. Yet in some areas, we still spend money as if we were much larger. Meanwhile, the main reason chapters consolidate is lack of volunteers.
This time around, my first goal is continuity. We now have a permanent meeting venue, so we can establish a more regular schedule of events. We will likewise meet or exceed what STC expects of every chapter. Jason Dickey, our treasurer, can get us to a more frugal budget. And having Jennifer Bergus-Sesay as our vice president completes the leadership chain.
My next goal is to provide value to members and practitioners across the region, through:
- A mix of in-person, virtual, shared, and social programs and events that you will want to sign up for
- Workshops that will advance your career, whatever stage it’s at
- The website (managed by webmaster Sharon Metzger), and social media, so you know what we’re doing
- The Job Bank, managed by secretary Steve Greffenius, to help you get a job
- The mentoring program, to help new practitioners advance their careers
- The InterChange regional conference, which volunteers led by Paul are already working on
My last goal is growth, an STC goal as well. Today’s practitioners have new needs and expectations that we can meet, but many people haven’t heard of us or what we have to offer. Please fill out our survey—and share it with your colleagues, whether they’re members or not—so we can better understand today’s practitioners. I’m confident that if we know what practitioners need and want, if we provide it, and if we publicize it, we’ll attract them.
The Council and I will do as much as we can to meet these goals, but we’re only part of the story. The more volunteers we have working with us, the more value we can deliver to you. I’m inviting—I’m asking—for your help as well. We will soon post updated job descriptions on the website. If you’re ready to give back, I’m happy to accept your help. If you want to go to the next level, I can offer you a deal: we’ve lined up excellent mentors for major volunteer positions, so here’s a chance to learn and demonstrate valuable leadership skills (which, believe me, look good on a résumé), from people who can show you what to do, and practice them in a safe environment.
It’s going to be an excellent year!