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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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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The September Issue of SuperScript is Now Available

Hello everyone! The latest edition of SuperScript is now available. In this issue:

  • Our chapter president provides an overview of the Fall Coffee Night and introduces New Heights.
  • The programming team outlines the Fall Coffee Night event, which is titled “Growing Your Career in Technical Communication!”
  • The upcoming New Heights event, featuring Katherine (Kit) Brown-Hoekstra, is discussed in detail.
  • A chapter member provides tips in an article on the best practices for interviewing Subject-Matter Experts.

Comments welcome to the Newsletter Editor.

Essential Accounting Services

Essential Accounting Services specializes in small business accounting and bookkeeping services. In addition to corporate taxes, they also do personal taxes. They will manage all of your accounting, so you can focus on your business.

Email or call Helen today

cell: (403) 826-0659

(403) 249-6693

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Welcome back, JobLink!

After a long break (and many long hours for our webmaster), the JobLink is back online! Thanks to the tireless efforts of Kevin Nazareth, the JobLink has a new lease on life. In addition to changing the login format, the postings themselves have been migrated from our previous PHP webpage to our WordPress styles, for a seamless look and feel with the rest of the website.

As a volunteer-run organization, we do thank you for your patience during this downtime. A great deal of time and energy has been expended trying to troubleshoot the situation with STC head office in Virginia, which had made changes to that affected our previous JobLink login system.

Visit the JobLink and check out the postings! (The password is available to Members only. Email

Are you an employer or a recruiter? Posting a job is free! Email for more information.

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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.

Senior Lead Writer

Restricted to STC members only. Enter password

Position Overview

Reporting to the Program Manager for Documentation, the Senior Lead Writer (SLW) designs and develops Policies, Standards, Guidelines and Procedural information assets to support clients within the Oil & Gas Sector.

The Senior Lead Writer possesses and applies expertise to interview SMEs and conduct research necessary to produce accurate, comprehensive, effective and concise information assets for various audience types.

The SLW also does the following:

  • Mentors other writers
  • Serves as a liaison for O&G writing staff with the Innovatia Documentation department concerning infrastructure assets: processes, methods, tools, systems, programs, etc., and assists the Program Manager with explanation, implementation and oversight of the infrastructure elements
  • Serves as an expert on the documentation business for the Program Manager and assists the PM as requested and required

Location: The position is Calgary-based. Remote applicants will be considered with the understanding that relocation to Calgary is a requirement.
Employment Type: Regular Full-Time

Ideal Candidate

  • Possesses a strong background in designing and developing work processes-related information assets for the Oil & Gas Industry
  • Demonstrates structured writing competencies
  • Has experience in a Microsoft Word authoring environment
  • Demonstrates strong leadership and customer facing skills
  • Has experience working with remote team members, and leveraging best practices and enabling technologies to do so effectively


  • Analyzes source content
  • Designs information for conciseness, accuracy, effectiveness, and eliminates non-essential content
  • Organizes and facilitates Working Sessions and Review Sessions with SMEs, ensuring focus and timely results
  • Interfaces directly with multiple stakeholders within the client base
  • Manages multiple information assets and delivery schedules in a dynamic environment
  • Adheres to Quality Assurance practices prior to distributing information assets to the clients

Senior Lead Responsibilities

  • Assign tasks to team members and adjust to accommodate vacation, sick time, and new requirements
  • Estimate effort required to complete documentation as input to Statements of Work and Change Requests
  • Assist with reviews on documents
  • Participate as required in reviews of authored content with the writers and client product team
  • Plan for and train new technical writers as they are hired
  • Partner new members with senior team writers (mentors)
  • Work closely with team members to share information and ensure technical and visual consistency across multiple document suites
  • Manage multiple documents and delivery schedules in a dynamic environment
  • Support and guide team member professional development
  • Provide status reports to Documentation Manager and Customer Prime
  • Practice and understand project management
  • Implement and assist with a Quality Metric reporting process
  • Prioritize workload of others and of self
  • Balance the business needs with the professional development needs of the team

Required Skill Set

  • Strong customer-facing written and verbal communication skills
  • Experience in facilitating Working and Review Sessions and gaining consensus quickly
  • Professional consulting skills and business acumen to interact with clients and SMEs, managing outcomes to negotiate a win-win for all involved
  • Ability to identify risks, impacts, and mitigation strategies, and to clearly communicate such to Program/Project Managers
  • Structured writing skills/competencies
  • Comfortable with software applications and technology in general, especially database concepts
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word and a variety of PC tools and applications
  • Ability to work under pressure and meet aggressive timelines
  • Ability to lead and mentor others
  • Post-secondary education required
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Intermediate/Senior Technical Writer

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Position Overview:

Reporting to the Product Safety and Engineering Compliance Manager, the Technical Writer will work primarily with engineering and operations staff to create and maintain user guides, manuals, and other technical documents for a wide variety of grain handling and storage equipment.


  • Bachelors degree in English or Technical Communications, Technical Writing Diploma, Engineering Degree/Diploma, or equivalent experience.
  • Minimum 5 years of technical writing experience.

Principal Tasks:

  • Research, plan, and create documentation.
  • Maintain product documentation.
  • Track product changes and reflect changes in documentation.
  • Ensure consistency with existing documentation in content, presentation, tone, and style.
  • Occasional travel to manufacturing locations to assist in development of technical documentation.

Competencies Required for Effective Performance:

  • Experience working in Adobe FrameMaker.
  • Familiar with XML and CMS systems
  • Strong project management skills and the ability to meet deadlines.
  • Strong writing skills.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Willingness and ability to learn new technologies and concepts.
  • Must be detail oriented and process oriented; clear, concise error-free documentation is required.
  • Must feel comfortable within a shop environment.
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • Self-directed and work with minimal supervision.

Competencies Considered as Assets:

  • Mechanical aptitude.
  • Experience using Adobe FrameMaker.
  • Experience using 3D illustration software.
  • Experience using Adobe Illustrator.
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Technical Writer

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Location: Calgary
Type: Technical Writer
Expected Start Date: October 1, 2014
Application Deadline: ASAP
Salary: Based on experience

Job Description:

Our client is seeking some strong technical writers for content creation for construction projects. This client is rolling out their Project Management Excellence (PME) framework by project type, but needs help to build the delivery framework/methodology for each of those project types. The work will involve facilitated sessions where technical writing teams build the content of the delivery framework together with Subject Matter Experts.


  • Confer with customer representatives, vendors, plant executives, or publisher to establish technical specifications and to determine subject material to be developed for publication
  • Ability to gather requirements from SMEs and develop material to meet those requirements
  • Research, plan, and create material
  • Organize material and complete writing assignment according to set standards regarding order, clarity, conciseness, style, and terminology
  • Maintain records and files of work and revisions
  • Edit, standardize, or make changes to material prepared by other writers or establishment personnel
  • Review published materials and recommend revisions or changes in scope, format, content, and methods of reproduction and binding
  • Select photographs, drawings, sketches, diagrams, and charts to illustrate material
  • Study drawings, specifications, mockups, and product samples to integrate and delineate technology, operating procedure, and production sequence and detail
  • Interview production and engineering personnel and read journals and other material to become familiar with product technologies and production methods
  • Observe production, developmental, and experimental activities to determine operating procedure and detail
  • Assist in laying out material for publication
  • Analyze developments in specific field to determine need for revisions in previously published materials and development of new material
  • Review manufacturer’s and trade catalogs, drawings and other data relative to operation, maintenance, and service of equipment


  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar
  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming
  • Communications and Media — Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media
  • Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects
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Senior Technical Writer

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Position Overview:

Reporting to the Lead Mechanical Engineer, the Technical Writer will work primarily with engineering and operations staff to create and maintain user guides, manuals, and other technical documents for emerging oilfield tools and drilling technology.

Educational Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in English or Technical Communications, or a Technical Writing diploma.
  • Minimum 4 years of technical writing experience.

Principal Tasks:

  • Research, plan, and create documentation.
  • Go to the shop or outside to take pictures, make sketches, and write notes to develop document content.
  • Plan and organize timing of visits with shop or yard personnel.
  • Maintain product documentation.
  • Manage the development process for documents.
  • Track product changes and reflect changes in documentation.
  • Ensure consistency with existing documentation in content, presentation, tone, and style.
  • Special projects occasionally.

Competencies Required for Effective Performance:

  • Must have solid experience working in Adobe FrameMaker.
  • Knowledge of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.
  • Strong working knowledge of Word and Visio.
  • Understanding of SharePoint.
  • Knowledge of digital photography.
  • Strong project management skills and the ability to meet tight deadlines.
  • Strong writing skills.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Willingness and ability to learn new technologies and concepts.
  • Must be detail oriented and process oriented; clear, concise error-free documentation is required.
  • Must excel in a demanding environment and feel comfortable within a shop environment.
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • Self-directed and work with minimal supervision.

Competencies Considered as Assets:

  • Mechanical aptitude.
  • Experience using MadCap Flare authoring tool.
  • Experience using 3D illustration software.
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Senior Instructional Designer

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Required Skill Set:

  • Bachelor’s degree or other equivalent program.
  • Five or more years of experience in instructional design.
  • One or more years of experience in the eLearning industry.
  • Experience in researching content, working with subject matter experts, and converting content into performance-based and engaging learning for eLearning environments.
  • Excellent analytical skills to convert information and business or learner needs into practical training solutions.
  • Experience with ADDIE methodologies and tools such as Lectora, Captivate, and Articulate required.
  • Superior writing skills, including the ability to write concise, creative, and effective instruction.
  • Excellent communication skills with clients, managers, and team members.
  • CTP or CTDP designation would be considered an asset
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