We have compiled this Fueling Your Future Toolkit that includes the guidelines and administrative tools we use to sustain our student mentoring, execute our leadership development programs, conduct our annual Leadership Retreat for strategic planning, and host our monthly AdCo meetings for tactical execution of our goals and objectives. This also includes administrative tools and reference materials for other successful STC Florida Chapter initiatives including our scholarship programs and fund-raising initiatives, our Active Membership program, and our use of the Community Achievement Awards to promote chapter development. It gives you a peek at our latest and exciting initiative—building a statewide STC community committed to the advancement of the technical communication profession in the Sunshine State.

Please click any link below to access the resource.

Active Membership

Initiated in 2001, Florida’s active membership initiative awards points for attendance (physical or virtual) at monthly chapter meetings, service in a chapter office or committee manager slot, publication in the newsletter, and other forms of active participation in the community. Those who earn a predetermined point total within the chapter year receive an attractive—and prized—Active Member shirt emblazoned with the STC logo and chapter name.

Administrative Council Meetings

The STC Florida Chapter Administrative Council, or AdCo, meets monthly in a quiet room in a local restaurant with internet connectivity to allow virtual as well as face-to-face participation. The meetings are open. Other chapter leaders such as committee managers, the newsletter editor, and the website administrator join the elected officers of the Council. Our monthly AdCo meetings are lively, enjoyable, and highly productive.

Although AdCo meetings and project meetings are fundamentally for discussing tasks, there is always room for a fun. That is why we hold our AdCo meetings at restaurants. The social setting gives members a chance to get to know each other outside of a solely professional setting. Members who are encouraged to mingle with each other before and after the meetings are more likely to be invested because they do not view them as just business meetings.

Community Achievement Awards

Historically, the Florida Chapter has used the CAA program as a guide for planning and implementing activities that sustain and grow the community throughout the chapter year. 

Chapter Communications

A major Florida Chapter focus the past few years has been refining our communication strategy to move with the times. There are currently many technical writers and professionals in related functions across Florida. Often, these individuals work in isolation from other communicators, missing opportunities to learn from each other. We have developed our Communication Strategy to bridge this gap, and we have invested in technology to share our programs and resources with professional communicators wherever they live. Per our strategy, we take advantage of multiple channels and tools, paying particular attention to social media and mobile-friendly methods. These channels include targeted email campaigns and frequent social media engagement.


The Florida Chapter has developed a number of successful innovative fundraising initiatives to deal with the ever-tightening financial “squeeze” the Society faces. These initiatives have played an important role in sustaining the community’s educational programs while also maintaining a balanced budget.

Operation Rising Stars

In the past, to close the budget gap without jeopardizing the chapter’s general operating budget, the Education Committee decided to undertake a fund-raising initiative to increase the number of corporate sponsorships: Operation Rising Stars. This initiative is something we want to restart soon since we have all of the materials to make it a success.

Leadership Development Program

In this exciting, future-oriented new initiative, launched in January 2018, veteran STC leaders of the Florida Chapter serve as “Coaches” to talented young leaders. The presentation includes program guidelines and the tools used to administer it. Not surprisingly, the four presenters for today’s session are among the chapter’s designated Rising Stars.

A key element of the leadership development program is the recent (January 2018) STC publication Fast-Start Leadership Guide by former STC Board of Directors member, three-time Florida Chapter president, and STC Fellow Mike Murray. While focused on building and sustaining STC communities, the lively and accessible Guide is readily applicable to leaders in any volunteer-based organization, offering valuable strategies for professional leadership in general.

Leadership Retreat

Every project needs a kick-off meeting where the team gets together to get to know each other, clarify requirements, set expectations, and analyze metrics from previous projects. Think of running an STC chapter exactly like running such a project. The STC Florida Chapter’s annual summer Leadership Retreat provides a “post-mortem” on the previous year’s activities and serves as a kick-off meeting for the upcoming chapter year. At the annual summer Leadership Retreat, the STC Florida Chapter sets its strategic goals and objectives for the upcoming chapter year and identifies the projects and activities we must execute to achieve those goals.


The Florida Chapter sponsors two endowed scholarship funds for technical communicators: the Suncoast Scholarship at the University of South Florida; and the Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship at UCF, established in 1997.

STC Florida Chapter Statewide Initiative

The mergers of the Orlando Central Florida Chapter with the SpaceTech Chapter in 2012 and the Suncoast Chapter in 2016 motivated an initiative to extend our community’s educational STC programs state-wide by offering virtual attendance at monthly educational meetings as well as leadership meetings, with the ultimate goal of bringing currently unaffiliated, “chapter-less” Florida STC members into a single statewide chapter. We want to provide them with the advantages chapter membership brings, including a closer connection to STC via local interest groups. The benefit to members in remote areas is affiliation with an existing chapter structure without the need to create and support a local infrastructure (officers, budget, program development), which has led to the dissolution of other chapters across the state. The benefit to STC is membership incentives and closer attachment to the Society.

Student Mentoring Program

The STC Florida Chapter’s student mentoring program pairs professionals in STC’s geographic communities with student members at nearby universities. Mentoring programs benefit STC geographic communities, tech comm students, and working professionals alike. Beyond that, a successful student mentoring program serves as a model for mentoring in the workplace.

STC Florida Rising Stars Biographies

Mentored by experienced professionals, we have taken on key roles within the STC Florida community. Our participation in the chapter's flourishing student mentoring and leadership development programs has accelerated our professional growth as well. The collaboration of experienced leaders with newer practitioners fosters leadership skills as the newer practitioners advance their careers and prepare to take on management roles in their companies and profession as well as within STC.

Bethany Aguad

Bethany Aguad is a Technical Documentation Specialist at Fiserv in Lake Mary, FL. In her six years with STC, Bethany been a Sigma Tau Chi honoree, received the STC Distinguished Service Award for Students (DSAS), and represented students on the Community Affairs Committee (CAC). She currently serves the Society on the Scholarship Committee and Sigma Tau Chi and Alpha Sigma Committee. In the STC Florida Chapter, she serves as treasurer, website administrator, co-manager of the Education Committee, and now President-elect. A graduate of the University of Central Florida with a B.A. and M.A. in English—Technical Communication, Bethany has received the coveted Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship and Stuart Omans Award, both for Excellence in Technical Communication. With Dan Voss, she co-managed the STC Florida Chapter’s educational outreach initiative and student mentoring program from 2012 to 2014, and she has presented on the benefits of student mentoring programs at Leadership Day for two Summits. At the 2014 international conference of the Sigma Tau Delta English honor society in Portland, OR, she co-presented with Rachel Houghton on student mentoring programs and on careers in tech comm for English majors. This led to an organizational alliance between STC and Sigma Tau Delta at the executive level. Bethany co-authored (with Dan Voss) Chapter 5, “Teaching the Ethics of Intercultural Communication,” in the anthology of research articles Teaching and Training for Global Engineering, edited by Kirk St. Amant and Madelyn Flammia, published in 2017.


Crystal Brezina

Crystal Brezina is an Instructional Designer at Carley Corporation in Orlando, FL. Crystal currently serves as the Florida Chapter Secretary and chair of the Community Achievement Awards (CAA) Committee. Crystal is a recent graduate of the University of Central Florida with a B.A. in English—Technical Communication. Crystal received the prestigious STC Distinguished Service Award for Students in 2017.


Nick Ducharme

Nick Ducharme is an Associate Configuration Analyst (and Technical Writer) at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, FL. He is an alumnus of UCF with a B.A. in English—Technical Communication. He has served for three years as communications manager and newsletter editor for the STC Florida Chapter. Nick earned the 2017 Chapter President’s Award for his work in these areas. Over the past several months, he has passed on his knowledge and experience with chapter communications and the Memo to Members newsletter to a successor, Emily Wells, another recent UCF graduate and high-potential future chapter leader. In 2017, he served as Nominating Committee chair for the chapter’s elections and he is now vice president-elect for the upcoming chapter year.


Alex Garcia

Alex Garcia is a Senior Technical Writer at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando, FL. He earned two concurrent bachelor’s degrees from UCF: in English—Technical Communication and in Space Engineering Technology. Alex fulfilled a life-goal as a systems engineer for the Space Shuttle Program until he transitioned full time into aerospace technical communication. Throughout the years, he has gained expertise in hardware documentation, proposal writing, and instructional system design for a government audience. In 2005, Alex was awarded the highly sought-after Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship for Excellence in Technical Communication. An STC member for 13 years, he has held just about every role in the STC Florida Chapter. His relationship with the chapter began as student president of the Future Technical Communicators (FTC) organization at UCF. As a student member of the chapter, he served as co-manager of the student mentoring program. As a professional member, he went to serve as Jaffe Award Committee chair, editor of the Memo to Members newsletter, chapter treasurer for two years, and then two terms as chapter president. For his leadership and dedication, the Society awarded him the Distinguished Service Award for Students (DSAS) in 2006 and the Distinguished Chapter Service Award (DCSA) in 2013 and 2015. Alex presented at the 53rd Annual STC Summit in Las Vegas in 2006 reporting on his experience as a summer intern for Ball Aerospace in Colorado, and he is looking forward to presenting in Orlando as president of the hosting STC Florida Chapter in 2018.