The pandemic has brought about a time of deep reflection for many of us. We have re-evaluated how we do things, how we think about our place in the world and our communities and how valuable our friends, colleagues, and family members are to us. Chapter members have gotten more involved in their home communities and others have embraced opportunities within our Ohio STC community by sharing their skills and knowledge to do good for others.
For many years at The University of Akron, I would immerse students in service-learning projects so that they could understand not only what they were writing about but more importantly WHO they were writing for and how they could help a greater cause beyond the classroom. What a great lesson for them to learn so early on in their careers and how timely it is for all of us as technical communicators.
In his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People author Stephen Covey agrees with this as he encourages his readers to “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” As professional communicators and designers with listening and writing skills coupled with the ability to empathize you have this gift to share with others. You can help a cause in your community or beyond that you are passionate about such as social justice, the environment, or even a smaller community project or volunteer opportunity.
For example, I began playing tennis as a young child for the non-profit organization National Junior Tennis League (NJTL) in Cleveland, Ohio. Many lessons well beyond tennis skills were learned there such as etiquette, the importance of teamwork, and respect for competitors. Now many years later, I embraced the opportunity to get trained to be able to volunteer at adaptive and wheelchair tennis clinics. I was very excited to use my tennis skills and knowledge on the court, but at the end of the day, I literally found myself additionally offering my writing skills to the program to spread messages to help grow it so that more people would have the opportunity play. I am not looking for a pat on the back but this experience reminded me once again how I can make a difference by applying my writing skills to help outside of my bubble and give back.
Chapter guests such as Dr.Chuck Dull from Cuyahoga Community College extended his knowledge and skills beyond his campus by sharing tips for keeping us (and our family members) safe online at home and at work during a very timely and valuable presentation to Ohio STC Chapter members. Another example of branching out to others to share skills and knowledge to benefit others.
As you reflect, I offer this little nugget of motivation to you that is a favorite quote of mine from tennis champion Roger Federer “Once you find that peace, that place of peace and quiet, harmony and confidence, that’s when you start playing your best.”
As we begin to turn a corner out of this pandemic, I hope we continue to share our best. From what I have witnessed within this Chapter, I am sure that we will.
Thanks for all you have done and your inspiration over the past year. It has truly been an honor serving as your Ohio STC Chapter President.
Ohio STC Chapter President