“I started my professional career as a Petroleum Engineer. It was a rough time in the industry, and since I was working in the family business, I soon found myself doing other things to pay the bills. I worked in banking for a few years. Then, when my oldest kids were little, I ran a home day care. In the mid 1990’s it was time to get back into the workforce. I remembered back in college that an economics professor liked the brevity of a term paper I had written. He asked if I had ever considered a career as a technical writer. At the time, I was barely getting a B in a required technical writing course, and it seemed like a ridiculous suggestion for an engineering major. Fortunately, an opportunity appeared for writing software documentation, and I found it was a natural fit. As it turns out, everything I learned in that tech writing class was wrong!
I joined STC around 1995, while working as a Documentation Specialist at TMW Software. I received a postcard in the mail about a meeting that was very close to home in what used to be the Hudson Holiday Inn. I was very excited about going to my first meeting and then realized that it had been held the night before the card was delivered. Next thing you know, I attended a board meeting at Rockwell Automation and left the meeting as co-chair for the programs committee.
In 1996, my husband Bob and I started Radcom as a technical documentation consulting company. Radcom now has a long history of supporting the STC. Over the years, I was involved in programs, ran several conferences, wrote a few articles for Intercom, helped with presentations to college students, and helped with competitions and a local salary survey. Radcom has provided a series of Presidents and Treasurers for the local chapter. I have always been proud of our contribution and always allowed people to do their STC work on company time. In 2018, I became the first Sustaining Gold member of STC, with membership through 2033.
Some of my favorite memories involved trips to the annual conference and getting to know so many professionals from around the world. It has always been fun to reconnect with old friends, make new ones, and visit new places with our local chapter members. It did not matter if I was there to learn, present, receive an award as an Associate Fellow, or just support friends; the experiences remain highlights in my career.
I have been running the networking lunches and social events for the Ohio chapter for the last fifteen years. This past year or so, they have been virtual, but I am looking forward to a time when I can have lunch around the state and in Pennsylvania. I love the informal aspects of these events, where you can really get to know people and form personal relationships.
The one thing I love about this field is that it is impossible to put it in a container. It grows and evolves and can be something different to everyone. Trying to pinpoint a future direction for the field may depend completely on where an individual stands today and in which direction they are looking. For Radcom, we started by doing hardware and software documentation. As dot.com bubbles burst and so much manufacturing was offshored, we added instructional design and training development to our mix. As manufacturing started being re-shored, we put emphasis on process documentation. Currently we have begun focusing on where documentation and training come together for the purpose of improving performance.
Radcom believes that most people come to work wanting to love their job and do excellent work. We focus on helping employers support their employees through effective performance support systems. Among other things, these systems include providing training, resources, documented processes, and feedback. In addition, we are working on developing service offerings that will humanize the Human Performance Technology field, so that in focusing on performance never means forgetting the people.
In my job as President of Radcom, I do not get the opportunity to write much anymore. I am mostly responsible for promoting and developing our culture. Radcom is a place where our people Move! We see problems and opportunities; then we own them and take action. To do this, we Grow! new skills and knowledge that will help us get to the next level. We are always learning in order to stay Humble!, even as masters of our craft. This allows us to do KickAss! work, even while showing great Care! by honoring and supporting people. I absolutely love my job and I want everyone else to love their job too. Every day, I get to lead a company that work to make that happen.”