As we look forward to our annual December social event, it is my pleasure to introduce you to some of faces behind STC-MGL’s Executive and Extended Council.
Next up is Kelly Smith, our Social Media and Membership Manager. She shared about herself, her job, and her experience as an STC member.
Tell us about yourself
I received a Bachelor’s in English from St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick. I later got a Master’s in IT and recently earned my Master’s in Science in Technical Communication Management from Mercer University.
Why did you decide to pursue technical communication as a career?
I originally thought I’d be a school teacher, but realized as I was applying to teacher’s college that that was not the career for me! I already had some basic programming skills from when I was a kid and had taken a couple of computer classes at university so I went back to college to learn programming. My first career job was as a programmer analyst, but I also ended up doing the bulk of the technical writing for our various projects. I realized I enjoyed that more, so I kept volunteering to write and do other tech-comm related work. Eventually I started applying for tech writing jobs and the rest is history.
Why did you decide to join STC?
I had heard about STC on various email lists (TechWr-L and Copyediting-L) and when I finally had a full-time position as an employee, I asked my employer to pay for my membership and they agreed. I wanted to meet other people in the industry, make connections, and expand my knowledge.
Where do you work?
I work on the business continuity team at Dart Container Corporation.
What are your job activities?
I write and edit procedures, reports, presentations, website articles, video scripts, and email messages. Because I’m on a business continuity team, part of my job involves planning and facilitating twice-yearly IT disaster management exercises, writing materials for and helping to facilitate annual business continuity exercises, and helping our internal users develop their disaster recovery and business continuity plans.
How has being an STC member helped you with your career?
Being part of a recognized association has helped me look more professional in the eyes of my company. Through STC, I met Pam Brewer and ended up earning my Masters in Tech Comm Management which also helped raise my status in the eyes of management. Volunteering for SIGs and my local chapter, and attending the annual Summits have helped me network and build friendships in the industry.
What advice do you have for students as they are entering the field of technical communication?
Go in the direction of your greatest interest, even if it’s not in your current job description. Keep learning. Take advantage of all the opportunities to learn on the job and through organizations like STC. Realize that not every tech comm job is going to be on a dedicated tech comm team. It’s possible to build a career in unexpected ways.