2016 STC Summit – Through the Eyes of a First-time Attendee

summit palm trees
2016 STC Summit, Anaheim, CA

As the 2015 Society for Technical Communications (STC) Summit in Columbus, Ohio, was going on, I was in the process of transitioning into my current role as Manager of Information Development at Rockwell Automation. Almost a year later, it was exciting to have the opportunity to attend my first STC Summit. The 2016 STC Summit offered more than 80 educational sessions within seven unique tracks aimed at providing a customizable experience for every attendee. The seven unique tracks offered several sessions on topics related to Career and Leadership, Design and Testing, Strategy and Trends and Technology and Development, to name a few.  After reviewing the “Education Sessions-at-a-Glance” section of the Summit program, I selected twelve sessions that I thought would provide a diverse look at what is currently going on in the world of technical communications. A few of the various sessions I attended included a session on usability testing to enhance documentation, a session on content management, and a session titled “An Introvert’s Journey to Leadership.”

The Summit opened and closed with great keynote speeches on two very diverse topics. The opening keynote speech was given by David Rose, CEO of Ditto Labs. David provided some insight into how the Internet of Things (IoT) is beginning to become part of our everyday lives with simple user-friendly objects that respond to our needs and begin to think on our behalf. He talked about everyday objects such as umbrellas, lamps, doorbells and prescription medicine bottles becoming more intelligent and providing us with information based on our interactions with those objects. The closing keynote speech was given by David Beebe, Vice President of Creative and Content Marketing at Marriot Intl. David talked about Marriott’s approach to content marketing and how Marriott is reaching its consumers based on engaging them in their experiences as opposed to advertising a brand to them.

On Tuesday evening during the Summit, there was an honors reception to celebrate the accomplishments of several STC members. This year, two Rockwell Automation employees, Mollye Barrett and Rachel Houghton, were honored with the title of Fellow.  This same honor was bestowed to Robert Young at last year’s STC Summit, and prior to this year’s Summit, Carrie Cianciola received a Distinguished Chapter Service award for her work with the NEO STC Chapter. There were a lot of people in attendance at the conference and it makes it pretty special being there when the people that you work with everyday are among those honored for their dedication to the field of Technical Communication and the STC.

By David Frey