Opportunities to Thrive During this Dark Winter

Mike Nelson

Happy holidays, New England! Thank you so much for electing me as your chapter President. This is my first time serving on the council, so I have a lot to learn. But under Steve Jong’s mentorship, and in collaboration with Sharon Metzger and Nathan Richardson, our newly elected council Secretary and Treasurer, respectively, as well as all the folks who will hopefully help us out by volunteering in 2021, I’m confident we will continue to provide the valuable services you’ve come to expect (while keeping within pandemic restrictions, of course). We’re even considering some new initiatives for 2021. But first we want to hear from you! What could the chapter do to better meet your needs? Look for a survey and an open discussion forum sometime next month.

As my way to thank you in advance for your participation, I’m covering the cost for this month’s program – Effective Ways to Reduce Stress in Challenging Times – for all New England chapter members. Please take advantage of this special virtual event on Wednesday, December 16 – it literally could save your life. I know from personal experience. Two years ago, I had allowed stress to build up so much that I started experiencing severe migraines, one of which put me in the hospital ICU for three days because its symptoms mimicked a stroke. That was when I finally listened to a coworker and started attending the weekly stress management class my company offers. Thanks to the meditation practices I’ve learned from the incomparable Tom Speare, who has been teaching our class for the past eight years, I’ve thankfully kept stress and anxiety under control, even during this time of unprecedented uncertainty and extremes. Why not join us for an hour and practice a technique you can use anytime, anywhere you need it? And won’t it be nice to feel completely relaxed in the middle of a work week?

Speaking of programs that have an outsize benefit, I urge you to participate in the STC Alliance Competition as an entrant, judge, or both. I’ve been entering various STC competitions since 2002, and the judges’ feedback I’ve received over the years has done more to help me improve my work than just about anything. Where else can you ask three independent Tech Comm practitioners to thoroughly review all aspects of your project, assess its strengths and weaknesses, and provide suggestions for improvement? In my opinion, it’s the best value and most underused service the STC offers. In addition, serving as a judge in the competition can be a uniquely stimulating learning experience as you discuss the merits of each entry in depth with fellow judges who may have different backgrounds and insights. You definitely get more out of it than you put in. The deadline to sign up to judge has been extended to Friday, December 18. The deadline for entries remains January 15. You don’t need to be an STC member to enter or judge, so please spread the word!

Finally, I want to thank Sharon and Nathan for serving on the council for the coming year – our chapter is in very good hands with them! And I want to thank our outgoing council for their service during this past year of unprecedented challenges, especially Immediate Past President Steve Jong, whose selfless commitment to the chapter’s success, not just for the past two years as President, but for his entire career, has been extraordinary. No one has done more for the chapter than Steve, and we owe him an enormous debt of gratitude.

Mike Nelson

P.S. – If you haven’t renewed your STC membership yet, please don’t forget to include the New England chapter. Don’t miss out on all the great things we have in store for you in 2021!

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