Candidate for Nominating Committee
Andrea Wenger is a senior technical writer with Schneider Electric in Raleigh, NC. With seventeen years’ experience in technical communication, she is president of the Carolina Chapter and Communications Manager of the Technical Editing SIG. In 2010, she served on the STC Community Support and Funding Task Force, which made recommendations to the board on how to proceed with funding chapters and SIGs after the financial crisis. She has been a strong advocate for STC communities, which she believes offer tremendous value for members at a relatively low cost.
It was through her work on the task force that Andrea's interest in the Nominating Committee was born. STC is only as strong as its leaders, and there are certain qualities she looks for in an STC board member:
- Ideal board members listen. They have a strong sense of vision for the organization but are open to new ideas. Driven by a desire for collaboration and consensus, they ensure that the needs of all stakeholders are addressed.
- Ideal board members innovate. They understand the history of the organization but are focused on the future. Growth oriented, they meet the needs of existing members and attract new ones—through outreach and by offering the best tech comm educational opportunities available. They know where the field is headed and who the thought leaders are.
-Ideal board members understand that the needs of the organization and those of members are intertwined. While the board must sometimes make unpopular decisions—whether for legal, financial, or other reasons—those decisions must never alienate a large portion of the members. Communication to members is critical. The board must also be willing to listen to feedback and to change course if a better alternative comes forward.
Through her attendance at each Summit since 2009, Andrea has come to know many STC leaders personally. She has also spoken at several STC conferences and live web seminars. She is keenly interested in how personality type affects writing, team-building, leadership, and organizational change. Her studies in this area have taught her the importance of listening to disparate perspectives and respecting the needs of others, even though they may differ dramatically from our own. She hopes that this background will be an asset to her serving on the Nominating Committee, seeking a diverse group of candidates to represent the organization.
Andrea has also presented at the STC Summit on the topic of grammar and style. For several years she wrote a column on this subject in Carolina Communique, the newsletter of the Carolina Chapter. While she believes that good grammar is a hallmark of good writing, she also regards language as organic, evolving over time. In writing, as in life, she believes that sometimes worn-out practices must be abandoned to make way for positive change.
Andrea has received numerous technical communication awards from the Carolina chapter, including a Best of Show. She also won an award in the international competition. She believes writing is still at the heart of technical communication—that our job is to think like the customer, so the customer doesn't have to think.
Still, Andrea is looking forward to the way new technologies will continue to challenge members of our profession. With more and more customers accessing our content on smartphones and tablets, from anywhere in the world, technical communicators need to adapt and grow. Andrea is excited about the role STC can continue to play in bringing together the thought leaders in the field to share their knowledge with members.
Active on social media, Andrea placed on MindTouch's 2011 list of Most Influential Technical Communicators. She had the second-highest number of #stc12 tweets during the 2012 Summit. In the past year, she was interviewed by the Technical Communication Center website and wrote an article on discovering your natural writing style for TechWhirl.
In her spare time, Andrea enjoys writing fiction. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and a past member of the North Carolina Writers' Network and the South Carolina Writers' Workshop. She serves on the conference committee of the Triangle Area Freelancers, which is presenting Writer's Digest managing editor Zachary Petit as its keynote speaker in April. She blogs at WriteWithPersonality.com.
My interest in the Nominating Committee stems from a desire to bring together people with a passion and vision for STC. The organization is still recovering from the Great Recession. This means that incoming leaders must ensure that STC continues to increase membership while remaining financially solvent. The cost associated with serving each member must align with the perceived value of membership.
Through my attendance at each Summit from 2009-2012 (including the Leadership Program at the 2010-2012 Summits), I’ve come to know many STC leaders personally. I follow many on social media and communicate with them through STC forums. Their voices help shape STC and make it stronger. Even if we don’t always agree, it’s by listening to a wide variety of ideas and perspectives that we find the best path to build the organization. I’m excited by the possibility of tapping into these diverse perspectives to identify candidates that will strengthen STC through the coming years.