Meaningful Content: Cross-Functional Techniques That Create Impact

Presenters: Bonnie Chase and Sara Feldman

In the last hour of the 2021 Summit, I was exhausted. It had been a very long day, and I was unable to give it my full undivided attention, because I was torn between focusing on ‘must attend’ meetings or preferably, sitting with Bonnie and Sara. I was so happy that I was able to sit in on their session because there was plenty of energy, knowledge, and information in that room. For those who did not attend this session, they missed a treat. Bonnie and Sara discussed the ideology of ‘content’, establishing how it was ‘purposeful’, ‘demand-driven’, and ‘contextually-relevant’. And I immediately thought to myself, “Well how is that?” And explain, they did. Content is ‘purposeful’ because we use it daily on the job in the tools we build and interact with, we use it as inspiration, and we use it as a tool for gratification. Content is ‘demand-driven’ because it is a way of promoting an achievement; or we use it to give customers an easy way of digesting information; and it can be used to collect measurements about a product or service. Additionally, content is ‘contextually-relevant’ because it says we are committed and focused, and it can move customers to a state of anticipation. Continue reading “Meaningful Content: Cross-Functional Techniques That Create Impact”

Bridging Products, Portals, and Content Gaps with Learning Maps

Presenters: Tyrin Avery and Erin Wagner Tidwell (Salesforce)

Learning Maps are a networked ecology of portals and/or products designed in such a way that people across businesses and even organizational entities are able to easily learn or locate information quickly. From a user interface (UI) perspective, Learning Maps allow the user to follow a staged path whereby selecting a topic from the path renders three additional tables of topics, narrowing the information to more specific content. The tool itself is built using CSS/HTML and some JavaScript, along with ‘Git’, an open-source tool created to control versioning, and ‘Heroku’, which functions as the publishing platform (it puts your content in the cloud). Continue reading “Bridging Products, Portals, and Content Gaps with Learning Maps”

P&P SIG Awarded 2021 Bronze Community achievement Award

The Policies and Procedures SIG leadership team is pleased to announce that the SIG has once again earned the Bronze Community Achievement Award (CAA). This award recognizes our community’s accomplishments and activities for 2020.

Our award citation reads, “For your educational and social outreach, including at the P&P SIG Virtual Open House and Virtual Social Event, impressive membership growth, and creative budget repurposing to send members to the STC Summit.

Per the STC’s website, “The Community Achievement Award recognizes a SIG, professional or student chapter’s outstanding accomplishments in achieving the Society’s goals through a wide range of programs and activities.” The application is a comprehensive point-based application.

Thank you to the volunteers who helped make our award possible.

Thank you also to the P&P SIG members for supporting our SIG. The leadership team looks forward to seeing you at a future SIG event. Please check our website for volunteer opportunities. (

The P&P SIG Leadership Team

The Art of Interviewing SMEs and Tech Comm Celebrities

This session is part of the Project Management, Leadership, and Career Development (PM) track of the Summit. The presenter of this session, Nicky Bleiel, has over 20 years of technical communication experience, is Past President of STC, and served as an STC Director-At-Large for five years. She is also a past president of the Pittsburgh Chapter of STC and has won multiple STC competition awards. In addition to these leadership positions, she has served as a judge for various STC competitions, and published and reviewed for STC Summit and STC’s journal, Technical Communication.

For today’s presentation, Ms. Bleiel presented on the key considerations for interviewing subject matter experts (SMEs) and well-known technical communicators. Before conducting your interview, make sure you are well-prepared with questions prepared and preliminary research completed. Be sure to review all product/subject-related information, diagrams and drawings, and related documentation. Do you have a good idea of the tools and technologies this SME uses in their work environment?

When starting the interview, be sure to cover the Five Ws:

• Who would use this feature?

• Why should they use this feature?

• When would users use this feature?

• When shouldn’t they use it?

• What are the prerequisites?

Continue reading “The Art of Interviewing SMEs and Tech Comm Celebrities”

Now I Get It: Three Strategies for Effectively Sharing Scientific Research

This session was part of the Content Design and Delivery (CD) track and features Dr. Jennifer Goode from Mercer University. Dr. Goode self-describes as a teacher, project manager, instructional designer and trainer, organizational expert, and holds the STC’s CPTC Foundation-level certification.

The impetus for her crafting this presentation is her experiences interacting with researchers at her university while assisting them with presenting their research information in the form of research posters. Often producers and consumers of scientific information have different perceptions of the information presented, though the expectation of understanding might have been the same. With the method crafted by Dr. Goode and her colleagues, audiences from all backgrounds find the scientific information accessible and easier to interpret.
Continue reading “Now I Get It: Three Strategies for Effectively Sharing Scientific Research”

Meet the 2020 P&P SIG Leadership Team

Dawnell Claessen, P&P SIG Co-Manager

Many members already know Dawnell. She has been serving the SIG as a leadership mentor and continuity resource. Dawnell has accepted the co-manager position.

Dawnell Claessen is a Senior Member of STC and a longtime P&P SIG member and former SIG Manager. For more than 25 years, she has managed complex catalogs of policies and procedures developed for products, software, and systems developed and operated in highly regulated and secure environments.

For the last 10 years, this has been in the field of Risk Management.

Dawnell holds a Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of Texas at Austin, specializing in Federal Information Policy and is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).


Aleshia Jefferson, Co-Manager

Aleshia Jefferson is a Member of STC. Her career began with writing hardware specs and operations manuals for some Fortune 500 Information Technology (IT) companies. She then moved on to develop training courses, write technical requirements, and work as a Project Manager.

For the last five (5) years, Aleshia has indulged in Content Engineer and Content Management roles to define governing, cataloging, publishing, and archival procedures used to solution regulatory, state mandated, and contractual business processes for clinical and medical Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). She has also been heavily involved in managing SharePoint sites and building tools that help automate processes.

Aleshia loves to mentor students and volunteer with non-profit organizations. She holds a Masters in Writing from DePaul University, Chicago.


Andrew Habashi,  Website Manager

Andrew joined the SIG as Website manager. Andrew has been busy upgrading our website. If you haven’t visited our site, please check out his recent posts.

Andrew works as a Technical Documentation Specialist for Ansys Inc. Ansys is a global public company based in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. It develops and markets multiphysics engineering simulation software for product design, testing, and operation.

Ben Durham, Treasurer

Ben has joined the P&P SIG leadership team as our treasurer. Welcome, Ben!

Ben has in-depth experience as a treasurer in the non-profit world and recently held a board position with the Independent Writers of Chicago. His background is in physics, robotics, and education.

Ben is a freelance writer/career changer who is transitioning from the field of teaching to technical writing. He lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter.


Rich Hellinga, Membership Manager

Rich has agreed to continue as our Membership Manager. Thank you, Rich!
Rich is returning for another year as the SIG’s Membership Manager. He is happy to be volunteering for the P&P SIG and working with the other SIG leaders.

He works for a utility company in Michigan, primarily on developing and maintaining policies and procedures that have to do with safety. He ran his first marathon last October (in Detroit) and hopes to run another one in 2020.


Louise Tincher, Communications Manager

Louise has agreed to continue as our Communications manager. Thank you, Louise!

Louise will continue to be responsible for the SIG mail lists and will collaborate with the SIG’s social media and website managers to engage members via the SIG’s virtual platforms. She is always looking for volunteers, whether for one-time contributions (posts) or ongoing maintenance.

Louise is Proposal Manager for UES, Inc., small a materials science research and development company. She handles responses to federal solicitations, grant applications and other in-house technical editing needs.

She is a senior STC member, current member of the Lone Writer SIG and former Southwestern Ohio chapter president.


Tricia Spayer, GoToMeeting Technical Manager and leadership team member

Tricia has agreed to continue serving on the leadership team. Thank you, Tricia!

Tricia is currently President of the Northeast Ohio Chapter of STC, which is where she learned her GoToMeeting skills. The P&P SIG currently shares its GoToMeeting resources with the Northeast Ohio chapter, and hopes to inspire more collaboration between STC communities.

Tricia has been a Technical Writer/ Illustrator for Pressco Technology Inc. for almost 24 years, and works as a department of one. She is an STC Associate Fellow, a former Director-at-Large for STC, and former chair of the Community Achievement Awards Evaluation Committee (CAAEC), Community Affairs Committee (CAC), as well as the STC Summit Columbus, Ohio host committee.


Emily Kowal, Leadership team member

Emily has agreed to continue serving on the leadership team. Thank you, Emily!

Emily Kowal is the immediate past co-manager of the P&P SIG. She has been involved with the P&P SIG for a number of years and is a senior STC member.

Most recently, Emily was a policies and procedures manager with an international pharmacy retail chain. In her spare time, Emily enjoys reading, writing, and playing the viola and fiddle.


Linda Clark, Program Manager

Linda is a newcomer to STC, and excited to volunteer as Program Manager for the Policies & Procedures SIG.

For the past several years Linda has been a contractor, doing document review projects and technical writing projects. She has worked as an attorney in her ‘past life’ but really prefers technical writing, as it involves more variety and creativity. She loves words, and loves to research just about any idea.

When it comes to policies and procedures, she appreciates clear visuals and plain language. Here are a few readability tests she has used: Word, Dale-Chall, Hemingway, and Webfx. Of course, measuring grade level readability is only one of many considerations.

When it comes to her free time, she enjoys reading mysteries – the settings, characters, plots, descriptions. And although she seldom views the same movie more than once, she feels compelled to watch Knives Out for the third time in less than a week.

She hopes to bring the P&P SIG some great programming and welcomes your ideas.


Lynne Valois, Program Manager

Lynne Valois recently graduated with a degree in Technical Communication from Arizona State University. So far, all her experience with researching, drafting, writing, and maintaining technical documentation has been academically.

For one of her capstone projects, she has teamed up with the Director of Operations for a small laboratory in Arizona. He wanted someone to help format his existing standard operating procedures into books he could print and distribute to his workers. His manufacturing expertise combined with her technical writing, editing, and document design knowledge produced two attractive and useful S.O.P. manuals! It was her favorite project because she was able to practice all the skills she learned in the program. They completely overhauled his existing procedures, which required a lot of collaboration and critical thinking, but it was a rewarding experience.

Fun fact: Lynne went remote before it was cool! She earned her degree completely online. Her peers were scattered across the U.S., so group projects required a lot of planning and extra attention. She used frequently for time conversion and to use the meeting planner.

License to Edit: Techniques for Technical Editing Success

Policies and Procedures SIG members are invited to a multi-community webinar hosted by the Technical Editing SIG. Ann Marie Queeney will present “License to Edit: Techniques for Technical Editing Success” on July 7, from 2:00 to 3:00 PM (EDT).

How can the editing of the iconic James Bond series help technical editors sharpen their skills? Ann Marie will draw upon Ian Fleming and his editing team’s witty and insightful letters for an interactive discussion about technical editing issues, such as technical accuracy, jargon and clichés, and consistency. There will also be time for a few James Bond fun facts.

The webinar is free, but attendees must register to receive the link to the presentation.

Register here

Hope to see you there!

Thank you.

Ann Marie

The Policies and Procedures SIG Announces Distinguished SIG Service Award

STC and the Policies and Procedures SIG are pleased to announce that Louise Tincher has earned the Distinguished SIG Service Award (DSSA) for her service to our SIG.

A longtime member of the P&P SIG, Louise has served in a variety of roles and leadership positions over the last 8+ years. These roles include Webmaster, ListServe Manager, Membership Manager as well as preparing community reports and overseeing the development and distribution of information for new SIG members and volunteers. Louise has also been generous with her professional experience and expertise by developing and presenting a webinar on Microsoft Word, fostering topic related discussions on our discussion list, and presenting several well received P&P related sessions multiple times at STC Summits.

The award citation reads: “For your longstanding commitment, leadership, and generous sharing of your time and expertise to the Policies and Procedures SIG.”

Please join me in congratulating Louise on her well-deserved award and most importantly in thanking her for her service to our SIG and the greater STC communities. Louise is the very embodiment of the volunteer spirit! Thank you, Louise!

About the Distinguished SIG Service Award:

The DSSA is awarded by STC for a member who has significant and lasting contributions to the community over time. The awards are officially announced at the STC Summit and awarded on stage at the Honors event and ceremony.

– Dawnell Claessen

P&P SIG Awarded 2020 Bronze Community Achievement Award

The Policies and Procedures SIG has earned the Bronze Community Achievement Award (CAA) for our community’s accomplishments and activities in 2019.

Our award citation reads, “For your ongoing dedication in promoting and exalting the discipline of policies and procedures communication in our community and beyond.”

Per STC’s website, “The Community Achievement Award recognizes a SIG, professional or student chapter’s outstanding accomplishments in achieving the Society’s goals through a wide range of programs and activities.” The application is a comprehensive point-based application.

STC recognized the P&P SIG and other community award winners during STC’s virtual Leadership Program on May 27.

Thank you to the volunteers who helped make our award possible.

Thank you also to the P&P SIG members for supporting our SIG. The leadership team looks forward to seeing you at a future SIG event. Please check our website for volunteer opportunities. (

CAA Bronze – Policies & Procedures SIG

– Ann Marie Queeney