STC New England and its members enjoyed a successful year, despite the unique and serious challenge posed by COVID-19:
- We hosted or co-hosted six programs.
- We migrated our website content to a subdomain of the STC website, saving money and effort going forward.
- We continued our successful partnership in the seven-chapter STC Alliance competition, contributing entries and judges and receiving a share of the proceeds.
- The InterChange Committee worked hard to overcome the shutdown of local activities and devise a virtual one-day conference on the original date, and in the end, we had 12 speakers, 32 attendees, and took in more than we spent.
- We continue to mentor rising technical communicators.
- We reduced our operating expenses, and have created a lean and efficient operation.
This was a reasonable level of activity for the year. We did it thanks to the efforts of the elected Administrative Council and a small band of dedicated volunteers, to whom we owe a debt of thanks. A team can do more than any one person.
Next year? That is a different story. I want to be candid and clear with you about the situation we face.
After two years in the role, this is my last year as Chapter president. But as of this writing, we haven’t identified enough candidates, specifically a president and a treasurer, to form a council for next year. If we don’t have a Council, we can’t have a chapter. What does that mean? STC New England, a founding chapter of the Society, would become inactive and stop offering services; if no one steps forward the Chapter could be merged with another chapter or dissolved entirely, our funds remitted back to the Society.
The Philadelphia Metro Chapter faces nearly the same situation we do. Danielle Villegas, the outgoing president, puts it bluntly:
We still need a president candidate, or else our chapter is going to be inactive. Seriously.
If we don’t get a President candidate to help lead the future Treasurer/Secretary candidates and Director volunteers, we will either need to merge with another chapter or worse yet, go inactive (essentially fold).
We are in the same boat, only worse—we need two primary officers, not just one. Ironically, while these are important positions for the chapter, neither is complex to execute, and there are procedures and mentors available for both.
Note: Could we merge with PMC? Not if neither chapter has a president.
After more than sixty years—literally forming STC, enjoying the largest membership in the Society, hosting annual conferences, and contributing Associate Fellows, Fellows, and Society Presidents—it would be heartbreaking, and a damn shame, to see the New England chapter go out of existence, on my watch, for want of a few volunteers willing to step up.
It’s now or never.