By Brenda Huettner, STC Associate Fellow, Southern Arizona Chapter
As we’ve seen recently in other elections, every single vote is important to candidates running for office. It’s no different within STC. Our organization is run by a Board of Directors that you, the membership, elect each year. Please take the time to learn about the candidates, make an informed decision, and most importantly, VOTE!
Learn about the candidates
One of the great things about STC is the generosity and helpfulness of its members. Feel free to talk to any candidate, and ask the questions that are on your mind. They may not know all the answers, but they should be able to point you in the right direction. And if they’re going to be an STC leader, you’ll want to know how they handle inquiries from the membership (that’s you!)
Any candidate on an STC slate will have either an officially published biography or a statement of qualifications. Some will also have Web sites, or publish articles in STC or other publications. Read what they’ve written-it can tell you a lot about the candidate and about the issues they think are important. Use the stc.org site to search within publications for articles that have appeared in Intercom, Tieline, or on STC web pages. Or check the Technical Communication journal archives at http://www.techcomm-online.org/cgi-bin/advancedsearch. For local or regional articles, start with the candidate’s chapter and look at their newsletters. You can also look at other chapter sites with the region. If the candidate has ties to any of the SIGs, you can also check the SIG pages at stcsig.org for archives of list messages, web content, and newsletters. Or you can use a commercial search engine-many STC community sites will come up if you search through sites like google or yahoo.
Another good way to learn about candidates is to talk to people you know. You’ve heard of the “six degrees of separation?” In an organization like STC, it’s even less-you probably already know someone who personally knows each candidate (that’s only two degrees). Ask around, talk to people in your STC community. Find out which candidates the people you trust are endorsing.
Make an informed decision
Once you’ve heard what the candidates have to say, consider each candidate’s record of contributions to the Society. Have they participated in local, regional, or society activities? Do they have a successful record of leadership? Have they been recognized for their work (as in the publications, art, or online competitions) or for their contributions to the Society (as in chapter, SIG, and society-level achievement and service awards)?
You’ll also want to consider whether the candidate’s position on controversial issues matches your own. Remember, the candidate you elect will be making decisions for all of us, often for several years.
You’ll be getting a ballot in the mail from the STC office in March, and you have until April 15th to respond. It’s easy to vote-just mark the ballot and mail it back. There’s also an online voting option.