STC 2014 Election
Thank you to everyone who voted. Please ensure you check www.stc.org for updates on the election.My name is Bernard Aschwanden and I want to represent you as your Vice President.Having served for 3 years as your Board of Directors representative I'm asking for your vote to be Vice President. I want to continue to manage a fiscally responsible, member-focused Board, and help lead STC to growth in membership, and stability in funding.
What have I done for you lately in my role with the Board of Directors?
- Increased membership numbers for the first time in years
- Hired a new CEO for the Society
- Increased membership numbers for the first time in years
- Managed reduced budgets
- Updated the STC mission statement (http://www.stc.org/about-stc/the-society/mission-vision)
I differentiate myself by being a leader who:
- listens to community leaders who understand we need need longer-term vision
- recognizes that we cannot afford to throw money at every issue, while finding creative solutions to problems
- is self-driven and also works well in teams, guiding others, and developing new skills and leaders
- brings ideas to the table rather than just waiting for others to propose them
These are ideal skills for your next STC Vice President.
My experience with the STC Board of Directors has included three years of service as a Director. I've seen a good start in what needs to be done to remain fiscally responsible while delivering more member value. We've reduced overhead, improved the return on investment to members, and are on track for membership growth for the first time in years!
We have become far more dynamic as a Board and continue to be reasonable in both our expectations and our offerings to the membership at large. I envision continuation of this as your Vice President.
I have been an STC member since 1997 and will use my experience and leadership to serve the community. Over the years I have worked with many communities, I started in the Toronto community as a member, developed into a volunteer who worked on the newsletter, volunteered in many roles, and eventually lead as community President. I remain active in the STC community at large though as a presenter, educator, and leader. I currently serve on the STC Board of Directors, and want to continue to work with your community.
Over almost 25 years in technical communications I have forged strong relationships with service providers, software developers, STC community leaders, and the overall STC membership. My ability to work with diverse teams, find common goals, and then implement them efficiently is something that the STC needs.
What Leadership Means
Leadership first and foremost means listening. It also means identifying issues, and then proposing and implementing the right solutions.
The right solutions are not always the most popular. Having worked with hundreds of teams with varied needs, I have implemented solutions that may not have been popular, but ended up successful, or ideally I found a solid compromise that works for all. I accept blame when ideas don’t work, and share credit when they do. I take reasonable risks, manage expectations, and deliver results.
I am a professional consultant in technical communications and management. I work with best practices to develop and manage content through project management, needs analysis, materials development, deployment, and review cycles. I have managed teams and projects across organizations from startups to Fortune 500 corporations.
Since 1992 I have worked in technical communications as a trainer, courseware developer, team lead, manager, and business owner. In this time I have travelled extensively and worked with thousands of people at hundreds of clients. In working with this range of people I learned a great deal about technical communications and pass that information to my clients and students.
As a professional presenter, I am recognized as a top-rated speaker (top 10%) at events such as STC Summit, LavaCon, WritersUA, tekom, and more. In my role as a professor at two schools I teach technical communications, sit on advisory boards, and help to drive curriculum development work.
Past Success (Business and STC)
As a senior member of the STC I have looked out for the best interests of the entire membership in discussions regarding funding, in delivering highly rated educational webinars, and in many roles with my local community for almost 20 years. Formally running for the role of Vice President is a logical extension in my ongoing service to STC.
As a business owner I am responsible to clients and staff. I ensure realistic expectations are set, and that I run a fiscally responsible business. Responsibilities include providing clear and timely information, and solid leadership. I have worked in technical communication for almost 25 years and represented STC as a professional organization to everyone I meet.
I help members and community leaders by serving the overall interests of STC. I promote long term sustainability and strong communities and partnerships. I support a strong pro-member agenda. These results speak for themselves.
Strategic Planning and Fiscal Responsibility
In the recent cycles of boom and bust I managed many demands. This includes budgets and plans for both my STC community and business. I have to know where our industry is going to remain relevant and lead.
To grow my business, manage client projects, or work with the STC board requires similar ideas. I review projects to decide what is realistic, what available resources can do, and where estimates change. My business survived one of the toughest economic downturns in recent history, and continues to grow. In part, it is because I adapt quickly to change, and ask for ideas from many sources to find solutions.
I know that STC also has stakeholders, plans, budgets, and unforeseen circumstances. To succeed as an organization we plan and adapt the plan when truly needed.
My past performance in running a business and a chapter show that I have strategic vision, I can plan well, and that I work with financial realities. My decisions are based on the benefits, the costs, and the overall value delivered.
Clients often ask for more than can be realistically delivered. They want more, in less time, and of higher quality. In some cases this can be achieved, but there are times when a contract (even a lucrative one) has to be risked by saying “No” to the terms.
Some businesses may estimate lower, or over-promise what they deliver. I have turned down work, or rejected offers when I knew we could not deliver what was truly needed. I’d rather not get the business than take on work that does not result in the promised deliverables.
The same principles guided our STC community reorganization. We identified what was needed for success. We changed the model to distinguish social outings from our core events, and reworked our year to a model that some people did not like. We did not compromise on quality, and charge fair rates for events. After the change, we remain rich in spirit and true to members. Event attendance is up, costs are down, and we continue to deliver greater value to members.
Desire to Serve
STC is core to my business. Members and their referals have helped me many times. When I started into business for myself STC was a resource I turned to. I provided time and service to STC and continued to learn. In time I became a leader in my own community and helped reshape it during tough times.
My local community has solid leadership for years to come. I am ready to move on to new challenges. International communities offer such challenges. STC needs people who ask intelligent questions, talk to communities, or explain why requests cannot be met. It needs strong leaders, people who listen, and make the right decisions. I am that type of person.
My background includes almost 25 years of technical communications, of listening, and providing fresh ideas to deliver results. I see an STC that remains strong and needs to be well positioned to move forward to meet the growing demands of technical communicators. To that end, I thank you for your support in electing me as a Vice President of STC.
STC Service, Honors, and Awards
I am an Associate Fellow and senior member of the STC. I first joined in 1997 and have been involved even longer as a presenter.
- Director of the STC
- An Associate Fellow
- Presented many times at STC Summit Leadership
- Webinars on Zero Based Budgeting with guidance for smaller communities
- STC Summit presenter/panel member in areas of management, publishing, and chapter leadership
- STC member presentations in Canada, USA and globally
- Led several Certificate Courses
- Articles for STC Communities in newsletters, blogs, and other communications
- Reduced Toronto’s financial dependencies; kept STC relationships for support and planning
STC Toronto Community
- Past President
- President: 2007-09
- VP: 2005-07
- Competitions Manager
- Newsletter Editor
- Led Toronto to STC Pacesetter Award in 2010
- Competitions awards for books and articles
Educational work and development
I have been an educator delivering best practices training since 1992 and the core areas of my skills relate to communications.
- Received Certificate of Excellence for evaluations in the top 10% for knowledge, presentation, course content, and overall helpfulness to students
- Seneca @ York: Professor and course developer for technical communications courses, lectures on training and documentation theories and best practices
- Humber College: Instructor, course developer
- George Brown College: Instructor, course developer
- Boston University Corporate Education Center: Lectures on technical communications
- University of Toronto: Lectures on technical communications