Boston Broadside
January/February 2002
Vol. 59,  No. 3
    Newsletter of the Boston Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication


Copyright © STC Boston 2002

Position Statement

STC: Designing the Future of Technical Communication

By J. Suzanna Laurent

Last November while attending the STC Region 4 Conference in Michigan, I visited the Henry Ford Museum. During that visit, I learned a lot about Ford and the automobile that he made so successful. Many people have the mistaken idea that Henry Ford was an inventor, but Ford did not invent the automobile. He didn't even "invent" the assembly line.

So what did Henry Ford do? He learned from other people's experiences, as well as his own. He took risks. He saw failure as a lesson, and he applied everything he learned to perfect the product, the process, and the policies that shaped the American automobile industry. In short, he was a great innovator. And because he was so willing to share the lessons that he learned, he became an inspiration to many others.

I am running for the office of second vice president of STC because in my own way, I want to do as Henry Ford did. I want to use the lessons that I have learned in my 25 years in management and leadership to create innovations that will make STC vital to the careers of all technical communicators in the many fields within our profession.

One of the innovative things that I've done in my three-year term as director-sponsor for Region 5 is to attend conferences in every region, meeting our members and listening to their ideas. This "listening tour" has given me a greater understanding of the challenges that face the Society, its chapters, and our members.

STC members work in more diverse environments than ever beforewith experience, skills, and talents that vary widely. Nonetheless, we share the desire to be recognized for our contributions to our workplace. I believe that STC can help members achieve this goal. By proactively promoting the profession of technical communication, we can make a difference in the lives and careers of our members.

My strategies for accomplishing this goal include:

  • Teaching members how to define the value that they add to the products and services that we provide, how to measure that value, and how to add more value.

  • Continuing the innovative, proactive, and forward-thinking implementation of the branding and governance initiatives.

  • Ensuring that the STC board of directors becomes a policy-driven board.

  • Communicating more effectively with organizations outside our profession and with STC members and chapter leaders internally.

  • Providing better training for Society and chapter leaders.

  • Creating opportunities for members to learn, so that they can become more successful in their careers.

With these strategies and with experienced leadership and guidance, STC can become the catalyst that enables technical communicators to achieve the professional status that they have earned. And when that is accomplished, we will have fulfilled my vision for STC to become an organization whose members feel that the Society is absolutely essential to their profession!

I believe that I am the candidate who is most qualified to provide the leadership that is necessary to achieve this vision for STC. While this article does not provide the space for me to properly describe the experience and personal traits that qualify me, please visit my Web site at or send me e-mail at .

J. Suzanna Laurent is the Director-Sponsor for Region 5.