From the President
I’ve had a blast taking on the role as President of TechCommNZ this year. I’ve learnt a lot, probably made a few mistakes, and I’ve gained some new friends.
The highlight of my year was being on the judging panel for the Excellence in IT awards, and especially presenting Steve Moss with the award for Excellence in Technical Communication at the gala dinner. It was a fabulous night and seeing Steve up there on stage promoting the profession was an amazing thing to be part of.
Our Board have worked hard together this year and had a lot of fun too. Next year will be another exciting year, with a key focus being our conference in October. I’m also really excited to see what events the Branch Coordinators will come up with around the regions.
I’m delighted to welcome Earnsy Liu to the Board, and to welcome back Peter Nock and Abhay Chokshi.
We farewell Grant Mackenzie from the Board and wish him all the best. Thank you, Grant for all your work on the Board over the years, and for making us all laugh, and I hope we can still call on you for your video expertise at our future conferences and events.
I would like to thank all the members of the Board and other volunteers who have contributed their time and expertise over the last year. My special thanks go to:
- Vice President, Kaye Churches, for her continuing support and amazing organisation skills.
- Roy McKone, our Business Manager, for keeping everything running smoothly and keep the us tight with our spending.
- Katie Haggath, Media and Communications and Student Outreach Coordinator. Katie does a fantastic job of the newsletter, social media channels, and thinking up amazing student events and promotions.
- Steve Moss for continuing to organise workshops and webinars.
- Emma Harding for answering all my silly questions and providing ongoing support.
My thanks to all the Board members for their ongoing commitment and support.
And now, without further ado, I am thrilled to report on everything we’ve achieved as a group this year!
TechCommNZ: Provides ongoing support and professional development for technical communicators in New Zealand
Katie Haggath continues to do amazing work on our newsletter. We should all be really proud of this publication and it’s exciting to see it grow in size and depth, as more people put up their hands to contribute. Our stats are looking good and show that people do read the articles. Interestingly the President’s report and Let’s Tech Communicate are our top hits at the moment.
Big thanks to all our contributors this year:
- Andreea Calude
- Bernadette Cooney
- Earnsy Liu
- Emma Harding
- Grant Mackenzie
- Jane Armstrong
- Janetta Vacherand
- Katie Haggath
- Meredith Evans
- Vanessa Roberts
Please keep suggesting ideas, sending in articles, and offering to write branch reports.
Unfortunately, our blog site is no longer functioning, and our Body of Knowledge site has been hacked and the url now goes to ‘non-work-suitable’ website. We’ve decided it would be best to incorporate blog posts into our newsletter instead so will not continue with the blog. All previous issues of our newsletter are available to browse on the TechCommNZ website and articles are also available via the search.
Katie reports that our social media following has more than doubled over the past 12 months! We have a presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Slack.
Webinars and Workshops:
Over the last 8 months we’ve run 4 webinars (one of which was a 4-part series) and 2 workshops. We do have a couple more webinars being planned for 2018. Thank you to all our webinar presenters.
Successful workshops are a great revenue source for TechCommNZ but unfortunately our previous 2 workshops have not been well attended. The new Board will be looking at the future of workshops and how we might reshape our approach.
Huge thanks to Steve Moss for his efforts in organising workshops and webinars.
This year we held our own stream at the IT mega conference ITX. While we didn’t have a lot of members attending, all of our 5 presentations were very well attended and overall this was a very positive experience. ITP are very keen to have us along in future years, although next year we will focus on our own conference.
Planning is well underway for the 2019 conference in Tauranga. The conference theme is “Sustainable Content”. Thank you to Kaye Churches for taking on the role of conference organiser again.
TechCommNZ: Maintains and extends a collegial network for members
The slight drop in membership is expected as this is not a conference year. Normally conference years show an increase in membership, followed by a slight decrease the following year. Student membership remains stable.
TechCommNZ: Gains wider recognition of the role of technical communication in New Zealand organisations
Improving our brand attractiveness and getting the brand out there
A key initiative in getting our brand out there was TechCommNZ’s presence at ITx conference, which Kaye will speak more about in her report. We are also sponsoring the Plain English awards again, and I will be there to hand out the Best Technical Communicator award. I know quite a few of our members are judging for the awards this year, which shows just how valued our skills are.
It’s important that we continue to improve our brand attractiveness and have our members in attendance at conferences and other events, so if you have an idea, or there’s an event you want to go to and are willing to promote TechCommNZ there, please get in touch.
Working with affiliated organisations
We’ve continued to stay in touch with related groups, especially IT Professionals (ITP), and are sure to continue this in future.
We continue to promote ITP’s TechHub in Schools programme of outreach to secondary school students via direct involvement (presentation to schools) and sponsorship.
We are sponsoring the Plain English Technical Communicator of the year award again this year.
We continue to promote NZATD and other relevant events.
TechCommNZ: Fosters strong relationships with tertiary training providers of technical communication in New Zealand
The new Graduate Certificate in Information Design was launched this year after considerable input and guidance from TechCommNZ members, particularly Emma Harding, Kaye Churches, Shelly Davies, Rebecca Officer, and John Crossland (apologies if I’ve missed anyone). The Graduate Diploma course begins in Semester 1, 2019.
Wellington ICT Graduate School:
A new Master of UX Design qualification launched in 2018. We’ve had some communication with the school and we hope to continue this in future years.
Student Outreach Programme
At the start of this year, we launched an initiative to give a letter of reference to any student member who attends 6 branch events or webinars in a year. We have seen a small rise in student attendance at branch events so far, particularly post-grad students, and the initiative has generated a lot of interest at University Career Day Events. This is part of a broader initiative to create work experience opportunities for students.
Last year we attended Career Day events at Victoria University in Wellington, and Auckland University in Auckland. We were invited back to Victoria University earlier this year, as well as to Lincoln University in Christchurch, and are looking forward to visiting Auckland again later in the year. We’ve seen significant interest from graduate and post-graduate students, particularly in the IT and Agriculture fields.
Last year we announced our intention to begin hosting student focussed events throughout the year. We have held two student-focussed events in Christchurch so far (and virtually attended in Wellington) – one on tertiary study options for technical writers: Graduate Diploma in Information Design and Management and Master of Writing, and one on climbing the tech comm career ladder.
Business Partner Programme
It was great to have Shelly Davies join us as a business partner this year. We continue to look for opportunities to form relationships with business partners.
The financial results show a net loss for the year of $18,034 on turnover of $37,751. This is partly to be expected in a non-conference year, but also shows how the lack of running successful workshops is impacting on our finances. The incoming Board will need to spend time looking at ways of increasing our income and/or decreasing our expenditure.
Our cash situation remains reasonably healthy at $34,103.
We are a small association and we rely on significant voluntary contributions from our Board and membership. To remain a stable organisation, we need to look at ways of either reducing the workload of our volunteer or generating more income so we can pay for specialised services.