NEO Society for Technical Communication

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Lines & Letters - the NEO STC newsletter


We want to welcome you to the latest edition of our award-winning newsletter and send a big thank to all in NEO STC for supporting Lines & Letters. Please send your article drafts and ideas to We look forward to hearing from you. 

Lynn Nickels and Jeanette Evans (Co-editors, Lines & Letters)



President's Corner - September 2014

Greetings, and welcome to another informative and fun-filled year with NEO STC!

I hope that you all had an enjoyable summer. I would like to use this space right at the top of the newsletter to congratulate the NEO STC Newsletter Committee. Not only did they win Committee of the Year at the banquet in May, but they submitted an entry for the first time to the Apex Awards and received an Award of Excellence! Co-editors Jeanette Evans and Lynn Nickels are back on the newsletter again, and I look forward to reading their articles. I am proud to work with both of them.

The first meeting of the 2014-15 program year will be held on Thursday, September 11, at Parker Hannifin in Mayfield Heights. Brad Henry will present Google Glass: the Technical Writing Paradigm Shift. Brad was selected as one of first Google Glass Explorers for his research with efficacy and human interaction using wearable devices, and he is an engaging and dynamic speaker. Those who attend the meeting may get an opportunity to experience Google Glass for themselves! For more information and registration details, click here.

Please note that NEO STC will not be holding competitions this year. If you, or someone else at your workplace, would like to enter technical communication materials in the STC competition, you can review the STC website for a list of other chapters that are holding local competitions. The Chicago chapter competition is now open, as is the New York Metro/Philadelphia Metro/Houston regional competition, and the Carolina chapter is also planning a 2014 competition. If you are interested in a judging opportunity, the New York/Philadelphia/Houston competition will accept applications for remote judges.

Our committee members have been hard at work planning the program meetings and other activities for 2014-15. I hope to see you at one of our meetings, workshops, networking lunches, or social outings this year! If you are interested in volunteering on one of our committees, please send me an e-mail

Kind regards,
Lisa Mileusnich
NEO STC Chapter President


Upcoming Events

NEO STC events

9/11/14: Chapter meeting, "Google Glass: the Technical Writing Paradigm Shift," presented by Brad Henry, at Parker Hannifin in Mayfield Heights. Click here for details.  

9/16/14: Networking lunch, at Crave in Akron.

10/8/14: Chapter meeting,  "Content Strategy: What is it and Why is it Important?" presented by Denise Kadilak, at Keithley Instruments in Solon.  
(Please note that this meeting is on a Wednesday.) 

Other events and dates of interest

9/10/14: Society of Professional Journalists meeting, "Cocktails and Conversation with Facebook Content Strategist Jonathon Colman," at The Press Club, 

9/17/14: Project Management Institute (Northeast Ohio Chapter) meeting, "BYOC - Bring Your Own Challenge," at Westfield Insurance - Blair Center,

9/25/14: UXPA meeting, "The Creative Process (speaker Ben Henderson)," at Rockwell Automation,


In the Spotlight: Rebecca Steh

 Everyone, please welcome Rebecca Steh!

Becky is currently working for Rockwell Automation as a technical writing intern for the Global Sales and Marketing department in the training division. Her duties include helping the training instructors with their training manuals, preparing labs and various activities to increase customer understanding and satisfaction. Becky’s long-term career goal is to obtain a full time position in the technical writing or marketing field. She wants to continue to expand the technical communication skills she has learned during the past six years and be known as a valuable asset to the company.

The NEO STC connection – “I actually got my start at Rockwell with the help of professional connections I made with the members of the NEO STC. This past March, I participated in a panel that discussed the challenges of stepping into the professional writing field as a college student. At the time of the panel, I was a graduate student in my final semester obtaining my master’s degree from Youngstown State University. I was pursuing a degree in Professional Writing and Editing, which was in the process of changing to Professional and Technical Writing, and I received the degree in May of 2014. I also received an undergraduate degree in journalism in May of 2012.”

Becky said she credits the NEO STC for giving her the chance to learn from professionals in communication. “I had a unique opportunity to look at the successes of many other technical communicators and see how many different career opportunities a degree in the field gave me. In turn, I was able to talk to them a little bit about what the new technical communicators of my generation are learning and what struggles we face as we get there. I talked about a lot of the different theories that we were learning about when it came to technical writing, but I also talked about the struggles of building up an adequate portfolio to get the type of job students in my field were pursuing. I also worked with the NEO STC again recently to help create the events calendar for the year to keep everyone organized and aware of what the organization is doing.”

In her personal time, Becky said, “I enjoy creative writing, and working as a technical writer only helps to improve my skills to effectively communicate my ideas, even if they are works of fiction. I also take a special interest in the spread of knowledge about individuals who suffer from various forms of developmental disabilities. I have a sister with epilepsy who I have seen grow into a fascinating, unique and happy individual. I enjoy community events that help to spread awareness about people like my sister and help the world understand how truly special each and every individual is, despite all of our differences.”

Becky said she also enjoys the outdoors and summer weather, “which, as most of us in Ohio know, doesn’t always last long!”

An AHA! Moment (about our NEO STC leadership workshop)

By Tricia Spayer
(Note from editor: This post appeared on Tricia Spayer's blog thinking about the NEO STC leadership workshop she presented earlier this year.)

I had an AHA! moment last week. Those of you who know me, know that I'm shy, introverted, and somewhat reticent. That does not make me afraid to step out and take risks, though. That's how you become a leader and grow.

I've come to realize that I like this leadership thing. It's not about me. It's about helping people develop their skills. That's nice because it takes the spotlight off of me and makes me feel good when others see themselves improving. The AHA moment came last week when I was preparing to present the Toastmasters Success Leadership Series Part I: Characteristics of Effective Leaders. It was going to be a 90-minute presentation, and I really wanted to be well prepared. When I was emailing my co-chair, Amy, about the workshop, I realized my feet were tapping, my blood started pumping, and I was really excited to do this. A few years ago, I would have been a basket case. Blood all in my legs - lead legs. Butterflies - or rather pterodactyls - in my stomach, and I would have not slept all week!

I was excited about this presentation, though! Really looked forward to it. I knew the subject, I truly enjoy the subject, and I wanted to share what knowledge I had with my colleagues. The presentation went really well. And fast! Who knew 90 minutes could fly by so quickly! This moment made me realize how much Toastmasters has given to me. It's prepared me for these events, and I actually look forward to them with eagerness and excitement, rather than fear and dread.

Toastmasters works!!!

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