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Tech Comm Showcase and Annual Business Meeting – 2016

November 17, 2016 @ 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM


Join us Thursday, November 17th from 6 to 8:45 pm at the Radisson Hotel Rochester Airport near the entrance to RIT! Are you curious about the opportunities available to technical communicators? Would you like to find best practices to apply to your own work? Visit with some techcomm superstars as they describe what they’re working on as technical communicators.

This event will follow a roundtable presentation format. All presenters will speak simultaneously during each 20-minute session. You’ll have the opportunity to select three of the six sessions described below. 


The Technical Communicator as Information Security Practitioner

Ben Woelk, Information Security Office Program Manager at the Rochester Institute of Technology, is a senior member of STC, a former Director, and current chair of the STC Scholarship Committee.He’s also served in leadership positions at STC Rochester and in the Higher Education Information Security Council. Ben is a frequent presenter at conferences and has recently published articles on Introverted Leadership and Security Awareness. Ben is guest editor of the February 2017 Intercom issue devoted to personality and technical communication and is developing a mentoring and coaching practice for introverted leaders. In partnership with Hannah Morgan, Ben keynoted the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Technical Communication Conference, presenting Bulletproofing Your Career Online.

Ben will describe and discuss his evolving responsibilities as program manager in the RIT Information Security Office. His work includes content strategy, development and execution of a security awareness strategy, and participation in the EDUCAUSE HEISC Awareness and Training Working Group. Ben also handles ad hoc emergency messaging around cyber attacks at RIT.



Collaboration in Tech Comm: Office365

Collaboration and the tools that support it play critical roles in the lives of technical communicators. When the foundation of this collaboration shifts, chaos, wasted time, and frustration can abound. At Welch Allyn, a medical device manufacturer with headquarters in Skaneateles Falls, NY, the foundation shifted following Hill-Rom’s acquisition of the company in 2015 and the subsequent migration from a Google-based system to Office365. Bobbi Werner, Lead Technical Writer at Welch Allyn, will share her experience navigating this transition and several unpleasant discoveries made along the way. Lee Drake, CEO of OS-Cubed, Inc., a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider, will discuss strategies for facilitating and smoothly accomplishing technology transitions like Google Apps to Office365. In addition, he will illustrate the best Office365 tools technical communicators can use to perform specific tasks and collaborate efficiently.



From Boring PowerPoint Slides to Engaging eLearning: A Beginner’s Journey chuck

Chuck Campbell has over 20 years of experience conducting technical training in manufacturing and industrial environments and 15 years of experience managing training teams. His passion is learning and mastering new technologies, then teaching those technologies to others. He is always looking for new ways to engage learners, including eLearning, gamification, and other training methods. Chuck has a BS in Nuclear Engineering Technology and an AS in Electronics Engineering Technology.

All of us have experienced “death by PowerPoint” training. In this showcase, I will discuss how I quickly learned eLearning technologies and software to transform boring regulatory and compliance PowerPoint presentations into more engaging eLearning courses. This showcase presentation is intended for anyone relatively new to eLearning, but who has some experience with PowerPoint.



Our Own Works in Progressjudy-and-vera

Whether we are crafting technical publications for clients or for employers, we find the time to do our work and do it well. After all, that’s a requirement to have ongoing work and pay the bills. Yet, with our own works in progress, we sometimes falter and stall. That does not need to be the case. There is enough time in your life–regardless of your many day-to-day obligations–to apply your researching, writing, editing, publishing, and marketing skills to starting and finishing a book project that may be stirring in you. Learn how two published book authors, Judith Shenouda and Vera Sytch, continue to make the time and space to turn their ideas into books and market them.

Judith Shenouda is owner of Shenouda Associates Inc., a business that researches, writes, and edits the professional publications that launch products, streamline processes, and promote each client’s brand. An accomplished speaker, Judith presents seminars and webinars on topics related both to her business and the books she authored and published, Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal and A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way. Visit her blog to learn more.

Vera Sytch started her technical communications career at a major camera company in Japan. Back in the States, she founded Peregrine Communications and worked with a wide range of clients, from Fortune 500 companies to start-up firms. Vera has produced projects that vary from technical user manuals, online help, and FAQs to creative video scripts, marketing material, and newsletters. After recovering from cancer, Vera wrote and published Whispers in the Windstorm: A Journal of God’s Blessed Assurance During My Year With Breast Cancer.



Explaining Numbers via Letters:  Technical Communications in Financial Services Industrieskim-and-april

The need for effective data and information architects especially as financial transactions are processed at ever-increasing speeds represents a significant career opportunity for all technical communicators.  We’ll discuss some of the major characteristics of communications for financial organizations in our session.

April Amadon is a Proposal Specialist at M&T Bank, and has worked as a technical writer with Bank of America, HSBC, and Synacor, Inc. A native of Fairport, NY, April received her B.A. in Journalism from SUNY Plattsburgh in 2004, and spent several years working as a reporter and editor at community newspapers in Roswell, NM, and Lockport, NY. She brought her skills to Bank of America in 2009. As a Change Consultant, she wrote and edited all policies and procedures related to mortgage customer service. In addition, she created training documentation and manuals, and traveled the country conducting training sessions for newly hired employees. During this time, she also received her Paralegal Certification from Canisius College.

In 2012, April became a technical writer at Synacor, Inc., a software development company in Buffalo, NY. She documented procedures and wrote product descriptions for internal and external readers. She also took on freelance technical writing and blogging opportunities. In 2014, she began work as a contract technical writer for HSBC, and in 2016, she took on a new challenge as a Proposal Specialist in the Commercial Banking division of M&T Bank. She is responsible for responding to Requests for Proposals, researching and writing proposals and managing the proposal process from start to finish.

Kim Chmielewicz holds degrees from Hamilton College in Clinton, NY and the University of Buffalo in anthropology, creative writing, and clinical laboratory science and is in the process of completing a MBA at RIT. Kim moved to the Buffalo area from Manlius, NY to attend graduate school and later considered applying to medical school, but parlayed her writing and analytic skills into full-time work in communications.  

Kim has worked as a staff and contributing writer at both domestic and Irish newspapers with stints in marketing and public relations that included the creation, design, and production of promotional materials, as a teacher and trainer, and as a technical and proposal writer utilizing graphic creation skills in professional environments including not-for-profit agencies, educational institutions, research laboratories, health education and data collection organizations, IT application and database development, engineering and manufacturing, banking,  and aerospace and defense contractors for both private industry and the US government. 

Kim’s financial sector experience is rooted in a position as a technical writer/coordinator at HSBC for two years working on procedure writing and formatting for an online global documentation system, plus her current position as a process analyst/technical writer in the Bankwide Transformation department at M&T Bank for the credit policy rewrite project which encompasses writing and editing procedures, process maps, and policy. 



Breaking Down Grant Writing Through Memes

meghanWriting is the most important part of the grant writing process. WRONG! People have many misconceptions about grant writing. (It’s an easy way to get money for a cause, right? We wish!) Through a series of moderately funny memes, we will discuss the realities of grant writing in a non-profit agency. Similar to other styles of writing, the grant writing process starts long before any typing begins, and the outcome of a request may not depend on the writing at all. Then again, a thorough, data-driven, concise, and heartfelt proposal could pay off big! We will explore the essential components of this process and other factors that could play a role in the success of a grant writer.

Meghan Backus Palumbo has been the Director of Development at The Center for Youth since 2013. Focusing on grant writing, public relations, event planning, and relationship building, Meghan raises funds for and awareness of the agency’s services for children and teens in crisis. She began her career in journalism, working as a producer/reporter at a CBS affiliate in Springfield, MA, and later as a general assignment report at News 8 (WROC-TV) in Rochester. Meghan transitioned into the public relations field in 2010 when she joined the communications team at Highland Hospital. Born and raised in Mumford, NY, Meghan earned a B.A. in journalism and communications from St. Bonaventure University. 


November 17, 2016
6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
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Radisson Hotel Rochester Airport
175 Jefferson Road
Rochester, NY 14623 United States
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