[Dec-2010] Prez Talk

Time for my swan song. I have grown wiser from this experience and I hope we have all grown wiser with nuggets from the STC conference, learning sessions, regional and career conferences, this newsletter, and other interactions. We leave you with a few parting gifts that I’ll talk about in a bit.

I have conveyed our concerns about membership costs to the STC board and they agreed to give a waiver of the $25 chapter fee with immediate effect for India members while they consider the overall matter. A little parting gift. I think that’s a positive step that shows their openness to make changes here.

The conference was a tremendous success with 580 participants, a record 70 sessions in 3 tracks, a record sponsorship of over 28 lakhs in the difficult recession year with a tidy little profit of over 2 lakhs-another parting gift. The sessions included over 10 workshops, 50 paper presentations, 6 Sprint presentations, and the highly successful Project Management Progression with 7 speakers.

The conference was well-rounded and many innovative new sessions and features. There were excellent keynote speeches by Aravind Sitaraman, Cisco India Chief and Dr. Naresh Gupta, Adobe India Head. A VP-level panel discussion provided a strategic perspective. There was a special session for entrepreneur led by the Executive Director of The Indus Entrepreneurs  (TiE), Ravindranath. Education was covered in a debate on the importance and usefulness of a university degree in technical communication. A career forum presented lateral career paths for technical writers on script writing, localization, usability, program/product management, and gaming.

Everyone commended us on the superb organization of the conference. Thanks to Guru, the wonderful MCs, the brilliant and dedicated track captains, many STC volunteers, and the event management company who helped to make it such a smooth show. The evening party was a lot of fun with a talent show showcasing the alternate stars in our community. The stalls were well-attended and conducted many competitions. The usual quiz took a different format this year. The STC Annual General meeting was conducted and the new Admin Council was announced. Congratulations to everyone involved in making this conference into the all-time greats list.

We did a good job of rewards and recognition this year with Quarterly Awards, participation certificates for all who attended the conference, special joint certificates for the XnX pre-conference workshops, recognition to conference volunteers, sponsors, and speakers and a couple of new awards: Innovation award to Samartha Vashishtha from Adobe for creating the online conference registration form, and a very special India Chapter Distinguished Service Award to B S Gururaj for his long-standing and extensive contributions to developing this chapter.

The annual competitions were held, results were announced, and the winners felicitated. The STC Salary Survey was conducted and a report was prepared.

I thank all of you for giving me the opportunity to serve you this year. What I’ve learnt is that one needs a fair bit of time for this role. Time management was a challenge for me between my work, studies, home, and STC. A virtual Admin Council was another challenge—we opened a new online bank account and hopefully that should ease some of the logistics in the future. A third parting gift!

There is still a good deal of paperwork and files and not having any external staff to help with any of it bogs one down in administrative tasks. The small size of this chapter leads to other issues such as limited interactions in the mailing list, limited number of candidates for elected posts, limited points of view, and difficulty in juggling across regions. The new council has an uphill task and I wish them all the best.

What I’ll take with me are a lot of new friends and some best practices. My most enjoyable moments have been in writing this column. Keep in touch and may the force be with you. Over and out, Scottie. Peace. Etc.

President – STC India Chapter