Name: Ellen O’Brien
Awards from STC: Awards of Merit and Excellence in the competition, at both the Regional (2007, 2009) and International (2006, 2013) level. I’m a big proponent of the competition, whether you win an award or not.
When and how did you get involved in STC?
I’ve been a member of STC for a long time, maybe as long as 20 years. Mostly took advantage of the publications and the occasional webinar. But I probably became active in the PMC chapter around 6-7 years ago. My first local exposure was thru attending the conference, and as I met people I started to attend more meetings.
Then someone talked me into being a judge for the competition, and I enjoyed that very much. Next thing I knew, I was Judging Co-Manager (2013-2015).
What are the duties of as Treasurer of STC-PMC?
Keep the chapter finances in order, including: managing the accounts, reporting financial status at monthly meetings and to STC national, creating a budget, and filing a federal tax return.
What advice would you offer to someone looking to get more involved in STC-PMC?
You will definitely get more out of working with the local chapter than you put into it. You will meet wonderful, accomplished people, and those people will become resources for you, whether you’re looking for a new software tool, someone to hire, or even a new job yourself. There are lots of little ways to get involved that don’t require a ton of time.
Are you involved in any other groups or communities within STC?
I’ve dabbled in a couple of SIGs over the years and would recommend them, but I’m not currently involved with any group other than PMC. But in addition to being treasurer, I’ve been working on the new scholarship program.
How has your STC membership benefited you?
The people I’ve met are the biggest benefit. But the publications and programs, both local and national, are always top-notch. I have so many dog-eared (or bookmarked) articles that have inspired me over the years, as well as notes from meetings that related directly to my work.
What is your educational background?
B.S. in Communications and M. Ed. in Educational Psychology.
How did you get started in TechComm?
It paid more than PR or journalism or any other editorial work! But seriously… I spent a summer with IBM in Atlanta purely by luck because I wanted to live with my sister. And when I graduated with that on my resume, it got me my first job with a computer software company. As time went by, I realized I had fallen into the perfect line of work—I have the perfect combination of writing and analytical skills for this type of writing. I’m not sure I could be any other kind of writer (at least not without a lot of retraining!).
What does your current professional position entail?
I was managing a global team of writers and editors, as well as keeping my hand in selected writing projects. (Editor’s Note: Ellen has since accepted a new position after this interview took place. Congrats, Ellen!)
And finally, what do you enjoy for fun?
I sing in a chamber choir in Philadelphia (Choral Arts Philadelphia). I’ve been singing with one group or another continuously since high school. Of course I spend a lot of time with my family—husband and two sons, one in high school and one in college. I also enjoy yoga and fitness walking, and I absolutely love my Shetland Sheepdog, Woody.