New Heights – Getting Your Small Business Started

Usually we hold New Heights in the spring, but this year we’ve decided to experiment with different timing because STC’s current president, Katherine (Kit) Brown-Hoekstra, is coming to Calgary! She will be presenting a half-day workshop for us. If you have started your own business, are thinking of starting a business, or just want to know what is involved, this workshop is for you!

Getting Your Small Business Started

Are you tired of working in a cube farm? Do you want to be your own boss? Or, maybe you just want to make a little money on the side? Have you been freelancing for a while and want to take things to the next level?

Having your own business can give you flexibility, increase your income, and improve your quality of life. But, it’s not for everyone. Join us for an interactive workshop where we will explore what it takes to start your own business, how to stay sane while being self-employed, and identify some common mistakes so that you can avoid them. The workshop includes discussions and exercises. The handouts include strategic questions to ask, a needs-analysis spreadsheet, and other useful tips from Kit.

Workshop Objectives:

    At the end of this workshop, you will have the information you need to:

  • decide if owning your own business is right for you
  • know how to start your own business and which mistakes to avoid
  • have a mission statement
  • understand where to go from here

Katherine (Kit) Brown-Hoekstra

Kit is a small business owner with over 23 years of experience in technical communication. She is currently the Principal for Comgenesis, LLC, which provides consulting services and training to clients on internationalizing and improving the usability of their documentation, developing a coherent content strategy and content model, and more traditional technical writing and editing services.

Kit is a Fellow of the STC and the 2014-15 Society President. Her STC experience includes stints as ITC SIG manager, two-time chapter president, international publications competition manager, competitions judge at local and international levels, Nominating Committee at the local and society level, book reviewer, article peer reviewer for Technical Communication, guest editor for Intercom, and co-chair of the Global Strategies Task Force. In 2007, she coauthored (with Brenda Huettner and Char James-Tanny) Managing Virtual Teams: Getting the Most from Wikis, Blogs, and Other Collaborative Tools. In addition, she is the former editor of IEEE-PCS News, a contributor to Multilingual, TC World, and Intercom. Kit holds an M.Sc. in Technical Communication and a B.Sc. in Biology, both from Colorado State University.

Workshop Details

  • Date: Saturday, November 1, 2014
  • Time: 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • Meals: Coffee break, and lunch after the workshop. Note: breakfast is not included. If you have any dietary restrictions, please email Jeanne Gonnason before October 29.
  • Location: Innovate Calgary (formerly  CTI), 3553 – 31 Street NW, Calgary (Alastair Ross Technology Centre) Plenty of  free parking is available and the building is located near Brentwood LRT  station (map).

Registration Rates

$150* for STC and affiliate members; $300 for non-members

* If you are a student in a communication program, you MUST present your student ID at the workshop to receive a $50 rebate.

* If you live more than 50 km from Calgary, please pay the full fee and email the Treasurer for $50 reimbursement.

Remember, if you have your own business, or are starting your own business this year, the cost of this workshop is tax deductible.


Contact Jeanne Gonnason, New Heights Manager.

Register for Event

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Edmonton Coffee Night – Oct 16

Let’s get together to celebrate autumn and being technical communicators! This is a great opportunity to meet and chat with others in your field, and to learn what other technical communicators in Edmonton are doing.

  • Date: Thursday, October 16, 2014
  • Time: 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.
  • Location: Block 1912 Cafe, 10361 – 82 Ave. NW, Edmonton, AB (map)
    • There is parking in the area and ETS buses run along 82 Ave in both directions.
  • Cost: Buy your own coffee.
  • Registration: No need to RSVP. Just come out if you can.

For more information about the event, contact Deanne Wilson, Edmonton Director.

APMP Maple Leaf Chapter Presents “Winning Executive Summaries” Workshop

Your APMP Maple Leaf Chapter is thrilled to present “Winning Executive Summaries” led by Shipley Canada!

This one-day workshop begins by exploring the concept of customer focus and how it can be achieved. It continues with information on the many uses of customer-focused executive summaries in business development documents, especially proposals. A process for creating effective summaries is then introduced and practiced, step by step.

Workshop Schedule

  • Time: Friday, November 7, 2014 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. (Doors open at 8:00 a.m.)
  • Location: ABB Canada, #110, 4411 6 Street Southeast, Calgary, AB (Map).
  • Cost: Registration fees include workshops materials, morning and break refreshments, and lunch.
    • APMP members: $899 Early Bird to Oct. 7, or $949 thereafter.
    • Non-members: $949 Early Bird to Oct. 7, or $999 thereafter,
    • 3 or more registrants per company: $799 Early Bird to Oct. 7, or $849 thereafter.
  • Registration is available at the workshop’s Eventbrite page

In this workshop, you will learn to:

  • Understand the nature of customer focus and how to infuse it into your documents.
  • Create executive summaries focused on your customer’s most important issues.
  • Use customized planning and organizing tools to quickly craft effective executive summaries.

By the end of the workshop, you will have a completed executive summary you can use as a model or share with a customer. At your discretion, this can be an executive summary related to an historical business opportunity (won or lost), a live opportunity you are currently pursuing, or a case study furnished by the presenter.

For more information, download this PDF: Winning Executive Summaries.

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November and December Usability Workshops

Communications and Training International (CAT-i) is hosting two usability workshops: one in November and another in December.

What is Usability Mapping®?  Usability Mapping  is a behaviour-based methodology to produce enabling documents such as procedures, processes, standards, reports and more. Usability Mapped documents measurably reduce the risk of misunderstanding, foreign language interference, and performance errors.

Workshop Dates

November 7 and 8, 2014
December 5 and 6, 2014

Workshop Schedule

  • Time: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Friday) and 8:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m. (Saturday).
  • Location: WinSport Institute, Canada Olympic Park, Calgary, AB (Map).
    • Parking is free.
  • Cost: $1,100 per participant. Registration fee includes:
    • Books and handouts
    • Snacks and lunch
    • Tour of the athletes’ training facilities
    • A learning experience you won’t forget
  • Registration: Write to the training coordinator, Kimberley McRae, at

For more information about CAT-i, please visit their website.



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Calgary Fall Coffee Night: Growing Your Career in Technical Communication! – Sept 25

Join us in Calgary for a fall Coffee Night! Buy your own drink and take part in an informative discussion on growing and developing your career in Technical Communication. We will have human resources and hiring managers, staffing agency representatives, and technical communication professionals giving us their top tips on job seeking, interviewing, networking, and more. You’ll have time to ask our experts questions, meet our STC executive, and network with other professionals in the Technical Communication field.

As this was such a popular event last time, we encourage you to register early as the location has only a limited number of seats.

Program Details

  • Date: Thursday, September 25, 2014
  • Time: 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Speakers to begin at approximately 7:15 p.m.
  • Location: Second Cup Kensington, 338 10 Street NW, Calgary, AB (Map)
    • NOTE: The map shows that the location is closed, but it is not. It has only changed ownership.
    • Plenty of free parking is available along the streets after 6:00 p.m.
    • Transit: Walk from Sunnyside LRT
  • Cost: Free, but registration is encouraged. You must purchase your own drinks.
  • Registration: Seats for this event are now full. Due to limitations on space, we are now keeping a waitlist for anyone that would like to attend. Email programs to request a spot on the waitlist.
  • Contact: Ruth Maryniuk


Read more about our Events and Professional Development opportunities:

If you have information about an event of interest to technical communicators in Alberta, contact

Edmonton Pub Night – Jun 12

It’s been some time since we’ve had a pub night, so let’s get together and have an early celebration of the summer solstice, share our summer holiday plans, enjoy drinks, appetizers (new venue/new menu), and each other’s company. This is a great opportunity to meet and chat with others in your field and to learn what other technical communicators in Edmonton are doing.

  • Date: Thursday, June 12, 2014
  • Time: 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.
  • Location: Craft Beer Market, 10013 – 101A Avenue NW (off Rice Howard Way). (map)
    There is hourly parking in the Library Parkade and other nearby parking lots, and ETS has numerous route stops at Edmonton City Centre.
  • CostSTC Alberta Members, STC Members (Society Members), Affiliate Members, and Non-Member Students: $15. STC Alberta Student Members: $10. Non-Members: $20
  • RegistrationOnline. Cash payment is due at the door. Walk-ins are welcome, but registration is encouraged. 

For more information about the event, contact Deanne Wilson, Edmonton Director.

2014 Calgary Tech-Security Conference

Data Connectors will be hosting the Calgary Tech-Security Conference in Calgary on Thursday, June 26, 2014, at The Coast Plaza Hotel & Conference Centre. This conference will have 8 companies speaking on various IT Security topics such as cloud security, compliance, social media security, personal devices security, network security and more, as well as a vendor exhibit area featuring more than 40 vendor exhibits. There will be numerous door prizes such as iPads, gift cards, Kindles, cash and more.  Breakfast and a full lunch will be provided for all attendees. This conference qualifies for CPE credits and Certificates of Attendance.

See our website for a full conference agenda, or call Stephanie Lange at 636-778-9495 for more information.

Program Details

  • Date: Thursday, June 26, 2014
  • Time: 8:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Location:  The Coast Plaza Hotel & Conference Centre, 1316 33rd St NE
    Calgary, AB T2A 6B6 (Map)
  • Cost:  Free for STC Alberta members ($100 value)
  • Registration: Click here to register for a complimentary VIP pass for STC Alberta members; VIP passes include breakfast, lunch, conference materials and entrance into conference sessions and exhibit areas
  • Contact: Stephanie Lange, phone: 636-778-9495

The Calgary Association of Freelance Editors’ (CAFE) Annual Spring Soirée – May 29

Come and celebrate the arrival of spring (or at least its imminent arrival!) with your fellow editors at the CAFE Spring Soirée! It will be an evening of socializing, networking and fun with members of Calgary’s editing and writing community.

  • Date: Thursday, May 29, 2014.
  • Time: 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.
  • Location: The King and I Restaurant, 822 11 Ave SW (map).
    There is parking around the building.
  • Cost: $15 for CAFE members, $20 for non-members.
    • Tickets can be purchased at the event. Ticket price includes one drink (beer, wine or pop) and appetizers.
  • RSVP: Please send an email to no later than Thursday, May 22, 2014.

We are looking forward to sharing a lively, wonderful evening with our friends and members.

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New Heights: Goal-directed Audience Analysis: Who’s Using your Content? – Apr 12, 2013

The New Heights annual workshop is STC Alberta’s premier educational event. We bring in a noted speaker for a day-long, intensive session on a topic of interest to our broad Alberta audience and provide attendees with materials, breakfast, lunch, snacks, and a first-class educational experience. You will come away from the workshop with a good appreciation of a tool or concept you always wanted to know more about, or a deeper knowledge of something you already work with.

New Heights: April 12, 2013

Topic: Goal-directed Audience Analysis: Who’s Using your Content?
Speaker: Judith L. Glick-Smith, MSCM, Ph.D

Have you ever wondered:

  • What do my users need to do their jobs?
  • What is my best strategy for providing my users with the best user experience?
  • What are my cost limitations?

If so, then this New Heights workshop is perfect for you. We are bringing in Judy Glick-Smith to guide us through audience analysis, and she will help us answer these questions and more.

About the Workshop

Recently, the university where I teach changed to a new online system, touting its “usability”. Even the “help,” which you have to use because the system is NOT usable, states, “The intuitive content manager…guides you through the process.” Number one, I couldn’t even find the words “content manager” on the screen. Number two, if it’s so intuitive, why does the help developer need to tell me that? It obviously isn’t if I had to use the help to figure out how to set up a simple file structure for the course I am teaching.

This is an example of a software product development effort that either had no preliminary audience analysis (for the system or the help) or the audience analysis was not done very rigorously – definitely not user- or goal-centered.

In technical communication, if we want our communication to be useful to our readers and users, we must do audience analysis for the content that we are developing. And, sometimes, we are asked to do audience analysis for the people who are developing products and systems. The process is the same.

This workshop will teach you the process of audience analysis using a readers’ and users’ goal-centered approach. You’ll learn each step of the process and then apply what you learned to real-life examples.

Workshop Objectives:

At the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • Develop a plan for conducting user-centered, goal-directed audience analysis.
  • Execute and adjust the plan, based on your findings.
  • Create an audience-task analysis document that can be used by content, product, and system developers.

About the Presenter, Judith L. Glick-Smith, MSCM, Ph.D

Judy Glick-Smith is a Fellow and Past President of STC. She is STC’s 2006 recipient of the President’s Award and she is the original architect of STC’s Leadership Community Resource (LCR). She currently serves as a member of STC’s Nominating Committee. She has been a technical communicator, entrepreneur, and business consultant since 1983. She has been involved with many other professional societies, including the American Society for Training and Development and Toastmasters International.

Judy is President of MentorFactor, Inc. MentorFactor focuses on technical communication services, organizational development consulting, business analysis, change management, conflict management, and transformative strategic planning for both organizations and individuals. Judy especially enjoys teaching people the art of flow-based decision making.

Judy also teaches in the Department of Communication at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, GA.

Judy has a Ph.D. in Transformative Studies from the California Institute of Integral Studies. She has a Master’s of Science in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University and a BBA in Accounting with a minor in Information Systems from Georgia State University.  She is trained in the Zachman Framework for Enterprise Architecture.

Workshop Details

  • Date: Friday, April 12, 2013
  • Time:
    • 8:00 a.m. Registration and breakfast
    • 8:30 a.m. Workshop starts
    • Break (snacks)
    • 12:00 p.m. Lunch
    • 1:00 p.m. Workshop resumes
    • Break (snacks)
    • 4:30 p.m. Workshop finishes

Note: If you have any dietary restrictions, please email Jeanne Gonnason when you register.

  • Location: Innovate Calgary (formerly CTI), 3553 31 Street Northwest, Calgary, AB (Interactive Map)
  • Directions: Innovate Calgary is in University Research Park just north of the University of Calgary
  • Public Transportation: From Brentwood LRT station walk across the parking lot to Innovate Calgary
  • Parking: Free visitor parking is available in front of the building.
  • Prerequisites: None: This workshop is aimed at all levels of experience. If you are bringing your laptop, don’t forget the power cord! Wireless internet access is available.
  • Cost: See Registration Rates below.

Registration Rates

Register online for Alberta STC’s workshop now! Our rate is well below comparable daily workshop fees.

Regular rate: $325* for STC and affiliate members; $375 for non-members

* If you are a student in a communication program, you MUST present your student ID at the workshop to receive a $50 rebate.

* If you live more than 50 km from Calgary, please pay the full fee and email the Treasurer for $50 reimbursement.

The workshop includes breakfast, lunch, and snacks at the breaks. If you have any dietary restrictions, please email them to Jeanne Gonnason.


Contact Jeanne Gonnason, New Heights Manager.

Past New Heights Workshops

  • New Heights 2012 – “New Heights: “Modern Editing: Improving Product Quality”. Presenter: Linda Oestreich.
  • New Heights 2011 – “The Treasure and the Hunt: Content as an Extension of User Experience”. Presenter: Rahel Anne Bailie.
  • New Heights 2010 – “Instructional Design”. Presenter: Bernard Aschwanden.

Edmonton Spring Coffee Night – Apr 3

Let’s get together and celebrate spring and being technical communicators! This is a great opportunity to meet and chat with others in your field and to learn what other technical communicators in Edmonton are doing.

  • Date: Thursday, April 3, 2014
  • Time: 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.
  • Location: Block 1912 Cafe, 10361 – 82 Ave. NW, Edmonton, AB (map)
    There is parking in the area and ETS buses run along 82 Ave in both directions.
  • Cost: Buy your own coffee.
  • Registration: No need to RSVP, just come out if you can.

For more information about the event, contact Deanne Wilson, Edmonton Director.

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