The Distinguished Community Service Award recognizes STC chapter members who provide exemplary support, commitment, and service to their local STC chapter. This is the highest level of recognition of all STC community chapter awards, and to receive the award is the utmost honor. This year, our dedicated member Alison Phillips was awarded the Distinguished Community Service Award. Her citation reads as follows:
“For your exceptional contributions to the Southeastern Michigan chapter; leadership in establishing the Michigan Great Lakes chapter; and for continuously exemplifying professionalism, kindness, and concern for all members.”
In 2019 and 2020, Alison led the effort to combine the Southeastern Michigan and West Michigan Shores STC chapters, establishing the STC Michigan Great Lakes chapter (STC-MGL).
The STC-MGL council extends our hearty thanks and sincere gratitude to Alison for her unceasing commitment to our community. We deeply appreciate her and her service.
We recently had the opportunity to interview Alison. Please continue reading to learn more about Alison, her role in the community, and the motivation behind the chapter merge.
How long have you been a member of STC and your local STC chapter?
I have been a member of the STC since 2011, first with the Southeastern Michigan Chapter and now with the Michigan Great Lakes Chapter.
What role are you currently serving on the STC-MGL chapter?
I am currently serving as Treasurer and Mentoring Program Coordinator for the STC-MGL Chapter. I also serve on the Distinguished Chapter Service Award (DCSA) Committee for the Society.
What encouraged you to lead the efforts to merge the West Michigan Shores and Southeastern Michigan STC chapters? Why was this important?
The designations of “West Michigan Shores” and “Southeastern Michigan” seemed to imply by name that our chapters were only for members from those specific geographic areas. By expanding our chapter name to include all of Michigan, I felt that we would be much more likely to not only attract new members but truly include members from all areas of our state and the Great Lakes region.
By making great strides to embrace technology like Slack and Zoom, even before the pandemic, it allowed our members to communicate, network, and share information without being bound by physical distance. We also hold our council meetings virtually and hold many virtual networking and educational events each year, which allows members from all over Michigan and beyond to be active chapter members and volunteers.
In what ways do you feel the chapter will benefit from this merger?
By connecting with more technical communicators, we deepen our pool of members, volunteers, and chapter leaders to fortify and sustain an STC chapter presence in Michigan for many years to come. We also enrich our community with more diversity in our membership, which leads to a wider range of ideas, perspectives, and innovations from which we all benefit!
What do you most enjoy about being a member of STC and STC-MGL?
That’s a tough question because I don’t think I can pinpoint the one thing I enjoy most. I have gained so much by being part of the STC over the years.
The STC provides me with opportunities to expand my network within the technical communication community and build meaningful connections. I continue to learn and stay current in the profession through the educational programs, conferences, publications, social media, and articles offered both by the Society and STC communities like the MGL chapter. I have taken on volunteer opportunities that have helped me develop both personally and professionally, and I have built valuable leadership skills and experiences that have served me well in my career thus far. And the opportunities only continue to expand!
What motivates you to continue to serve this community?
I am motivated to continue to serve in the STC community because I truly believe in the value the STC brings to people and to our profession. Technical communicators help open doors of understanding by clarifying complex ideas, and finding a supportive community of peers and mentors is invaluable to improve in our craft. It opens pathways for us to develop as professionals and grow as members of a community where people support one another to learn and thrive.
What advice do you have for new and seasoned STC volunteers?
What I have found to be helpful, no matter where I am in my career, is to embrace a growth mindset. I believe that life is a journey of learning and expansion, and there is no end to what we are capable of. Professional organizations like the STC provide so many gateways for us to learn, grow, and expand our skills and our network of like-minded professionals and students. It will always be a worthwhile use of your time or energy to be an active and engaged member of the STC. The keyword is active because I truly believe that getting involved is the best way to maximize value from being a part of the Michigan Great Lakes Chapter and the STC, and opportunities abound for any level of experience or time commitment.
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to learn more about opportunities to become a more active member within our Michigan Great Lakes community!