CONDUIT 2017 Speakers


People-First Content at Facebook for Business

Presented by Jack Molisani

Are you writing for users, or for people?

 In our opening keynote, Jack Molisani will share how the Content Strategy team at Facebook for Business enables customer success for billions of customers in over 100 languages worldwide. 

 In this session you will learn:

  •  How Facebook for Business sets the tone for their content
  • How they identify for whom they are writing
  • The three voice principles of content at Facebook
  • How crafting content is just the tip of the Content Strategy Iceberg!

Jack will also share the Facebook case study that lead to a “V8 moment” that fundamentally changed his approach to developing content—and perhaps yours!

Jack Molisani

Jack Molisani produces the LavaCon Conference on Content Strategy and Tech Comm Management, which will be in Portland this November:

 Jack is also the president of ProSpring Technical Staffing, an employment agency specializing in technical writers and other content professionals, and he’s the author of Be The Captain of Your Career: A New Approach to Career Planning and Advancement, which hit #5 on Amazon’s Career and Resume Best Seller list. @JackMolisani

Note: Jack is donating a free registration to LavaCon as a door prize, so bring your card for the drawing!


Plan, Create, Publish: A Live Walkthrough of a Micro-Documentation Project

Presented by Bernard Aschwanden and Christopher Ward

We’ve heard that in technical communication the ideal workflow is one where managers, developers, writers, and consumers work together to create ‘perfect’ content to solve business problems. It’s tricky to identify all the pieces and make it work. See it live and participate in it during this session!

This interactive session has you, the audience, help guide the plan for product documentation (what goes into it, how it is organized), and then you continue to participate as the presenter works feverishly to ensure your ideas are captured, content is created and approved, and it is published to multiple outputs. See the scramble, and the solutions, to getting “just-in-time” content out the door.

Participate and be a moving part of a documentation project that comes together to create content in a shared workspace, with collaboration between teams, and quality finished materials delivered the way the audience wants them. On time, on budget, and on any device!

Bernard AschwandenBernard founded Publishing Smarter, is an Associate Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication, and a Past President of the international STC. In over 20 years he has helped hundreds of companies implement successful publishing solutions. His focus is on improved communications and helping people and business by publishing better, publishing faster and publishing smarter.

What does he do? In a word: communications. He delivers value about communications and related technology (think tools, process, DITA), across Europe and North America to organizations big and small. He is certified (Adobe/CTT) and the author of publications on publishing and single sourcing in industry magazines, blogs, and books. @aschwanden4stc,

Chris Ward PhotoChristopher, Director of Sales at WebWorks, specializes in helping small teams accomplish high things by better aligning departmental processes with overall company strategies. Christopher’s experience in strategy development began as an Analyst for U.S. Army Intelligence and then later moved into the corporate world when working for Dell computers. Over the last seven years he has been working for WebWorks and enjoying getting to know the Technical Communications industry. His diverse experiences allow Christopher to recognize untapped potential in a company’s overall business strategy and help them achieve that potential. @webworkschris

GitHub Workflows for Technical Communicators

Presented by Nicky Bleiel

GitHub is a web-based repository for software projects that uses Git as a repository. GitHub is reportedly the world’s largest open source community, hosting over 35 million repositories that include both code and the documentation for that code. In addition to the public version of GitHub, companies can adopt GitHub Enterprise internal use, so it is gaining popularity for private repositories as well.

Docs aren’t siloed in GitHub — they live with the code, follow the same workflow as the code, and are reviewed with the code, which is especially useful in an Agile environment, where docs are part of the “definition of done.”

GitHub includes version control, issue tracking, notifications, diffs, status dashboards, documentation, and social features. All of these features are useful when developing and managing documentation in a GitHub project. Technical communicators have other opportunities to contribute in GitHub, including commenting on, reviewing, and merging proposed changes and managing the wiki community.

In this session, we’ll learn about these features, GitHub terminology, and about documentation workflows in GitHub.

Nicky is a Watson Information Developer at IBM. She is a Past President and Associate Fellow of STC and has over 20 years of experience writing and designing information for software products in a variety of industries. Nicky is a GitHub user and the author of the article “Collaborating and Contributing in GitHub” in the September 2016 issue of Intercom. She is a popular speaker at many conferences, including the STC Summit, WritersUA, and tcworld; and has been published in STC’s Intercom, tcworld magazine, ISTC Communicator, and more. See for a list of her talks and publications. @nickybleiel

How may I help you? Benefits of focusing on services instead of products.

Presented by Todd Deluca

This session will outline and describe why becoming more service focused (vs. product oriented) increases your value to clients or an organization, improves your chances for advancement, and sets you apart from others with similar skills or experience. The result is you become a highly sought after and indispensable resource that others seek out for support.

Come to learn differences between product and service skills, see what service looks like for technical communication, and discover how becoming service oriented can transform your position and perception in an organization. Join us to find out how you can be seen by others as offering something unique, important, and useful in the company. You will understand the benefits plus hear some tips and lessons learned from someone who has implemented a service approach to elevate their exposure and boost their career.

Todd has over 15 years of experience as a technical communicator and currently manages a remote team of technical writers in the US and India. His professional background includes graphic design, editing, client communication, and software development documentation. Todd is an STC Associate Fellow and Conference Chair for the 2017 Summit. He was President of the Philadelphia Metro Chapter president and has written articles for the STC Intercom magazine. Todd has a Masters Degree in Technical and Scientific Communication from Miami University (Ohio) and speaks at various regional and national conferences. @TechCommTodd

Agile Localization: Oxymoron or Heroic Achievement?

Presented by Laura Dent

Staying in sync with the rapid cycles of Agile software development can be a challenge for any technical communicator, and even more so when localization is involved. Localization includes both the technical and linguistic aspects of translating software and documentation into other languages. You can be a hero in your organization by creating a smooth process to combine the seemingly incompatible processes of agile development and localization.

Laura has several decades of experience working in technical communication, specializing in localization. As a freelancer, she provides her clients with localization of single-sourcing systems. Previously, at Rosetta Stone, she created systems that enabled SimShip (simultaneous shipment) of all software and documentation, an almost unheard-of achievement. Laura has a passion for languages, and speaks Russian, Italian, Spanish, French, and (a little) Japanese. She teaches technical communication to computer science majors at James Madison University.


 On track! Running an effective meeting is more than the agenda.

Presented by Viqui Dill

Every techcomm project includes a series of meetings. Requirements gathering and status updates are a necessary part of every project. But attending a meeting means that team members are not making progress on tasks or deliverables. How can we ensure that we make the most of this necessary evil?

This presentation will offer proven solutions for meeting management. Starting up front with an engaging icebreaker, gathering expectations about what should be accomplished during the meeting, and then collecting feedback at the end will make your meeting more effective and your team more productive.

This presentation will be interactive and engaging. Come prepared to participate, share, laugh, and interrupt. Bring it on!

As a technical writer for American Woodmark in Winchester, VA, Viqui is passionate about continued education and lifelong learning for those in our field. Sharing the tips and tricks she has gathered in her 25 years as a writer, she is actively promoting networking with other writers to help us all learn and stay connected.

Viqui describes herself as “Technical writer, wife and mom, bass player, worship leader, I’m happiest when folks sing along with me.”,  @viqui_dill

The Art of Personal Branding: How to Tell the “You” Story and Gain New Customers

Presented by Liz Fraley

If you want someone to hire you or your company, you need to be able to tell your story: who you are, what your plan is, and what defines you. There are key points to address at each point in the story in order to gain customers. Whether you’re the boss or on your own, you are constantly interviewing and telling your story.

This session is for you if you’re thinking about working for equity, starting a business, or going out on your own.

  • How to gain customers by telling your story
  • How to identify who your customer is (and is not)
  • How to identify the keys to telling your story well

I’ll give you two tactics to help you on your way, but you should bring your questions so you can get the answers you seek!

Liz, founder of Single-Sourcing Solutions, has worked in both high-tech and government sectors, developing and delivering technical design and strategy of authoring and publishing solutions as a Single-Source/XML Architect/Programmer. Specializing in practical development and deployment, she advocates designing architectures that directly improve organizational efficiency, productivity, and interoperability. She’s the founder of TC Camp, the unconference for content creators, consumers, and the people who support them. If you ask her, she’ll say she’s a gardener who’s happiest when those around her are flourishing. @SingleSourcing

Making Agile Work for YOU

Presented by John Garison

Agile, scrums, backlogs, user stories, sprints…What’s it all about? What do I need to know? And what’s in it for me?

Regardless of the Agile realities at your organization, you can learn to navigate murky waters, get the information you need, and use the Agile method to iteratively produce better, stronger, more useful documentation to support your customers.

Whether your organization is considering a move to Agile or you’re already up to your elbows in backlogs and user stories, you’ll learn some new perspectives, and leave with a better understanding of how you can make Agile work for you.

John is Lead Technical Communicator for Medidata Solutions. His experience in writing about operating systems, programming languages, business applications, and electronic health records (among other things) gives him a unique perspective on most things documentation-related. He delights in sharing information and war stories.

John is an STC Associate Fellow and taught technical writing at Harvard University and the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Despite living on a dead-end dirt road in rural Vermont, his gigabit fiber optic internet lets him keep up with the real world and telecommute to New York City.

Stop Managing Time! Surprisingly Simple Strategies for Getting Things Done & Enjoying the Journey

Presented by Paula Gregorowicz

Traditional time management doesn’t work in today’s hyper-connected world. Trying to force it to work can feel like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Learn how to achieve twice as much in half the time while bringing more meaning and sanity to your day in this interactive and practical presentation.

Paula, owner of The Paula G. Company LLC, helps business owners take charge of their time, productivity, and technology and helps them build authentic, sustainable businesses while having plenty of time and space for a life they love.

The work Paula shares with others is the essence of her more than twenty years experience and education: from BS in Accounting to 20 years in corporate America and Information Technology to entrepreneur and business owner, spiritual and coach training, and eclectic life experiences.

Great stuff not only gets started with Paula, it gets finished!
Learn more about her unique approach of practical action and inner awareness at

Defining New Roles for Information Engineering in the Customer Content Journey

Presented by Adriane Hunt

Are you still writing manuals and online help? Are you looking for new ways to add value to both your content and your career? Join Adriane Hunt as she reveals insights on the changing role of the Information Engineer and explores career avenues and options that may surprise you.

Adriane HuntAdriane is the 2016-2017 STC President. She is also a senior member of the STC Philadelphia Metro chapter where her past activities have included volunteer, presenter, regional competition judge/lead judge, and presenter. Adriane has also served as an STC Summit proposal reviewer and ISA Competition judge. You can contact Adriane at [email protected] or on Twitter @adrianehunt.


Drive your docs with data

Presented by Ed Marsh

We’re all looking for ways to improve the customer experience. A simple place to start is to use the various forms of data already generated by your content to guide your strategy and architecture. In this session, we’ll look at various sources of data – including your own Web server, Twitter, Facebook, Google analytics, and more – and see how they can improve your documentation and content strategy. We’ll also see how using support tickets can help you better tune-in to your users and create better content.

Ed MarshEd Marsh has always been curious about technology. As a kid, he was the one who pushed buttons to see what happened. This led to some scolding, and an award-winning career as a technical writer.  Currently working for a major financial firm in Jersey City, NJ has taught Ed the importance of breaking down silos, managing risk, and governance.

In 2015 Ed created the Content Content podcast, interviewing technical communicators and other content professionals. He is the editor for the STC NY Metro chapter’s Apex Award-winning newsletter. He is experienced in, and passionate about, information architecture and content strategy. He generally dislikes writing in the third person., @edmarsh

We’re Going Mobile! Great! Wait… What Does That Mean?

Presented by Neil Perlin

So your company has decided to take its documentation mobile. Great!

But just saying “go mobile” is too vague. Is it an app? Responsively designed online help? A mobilized web site? Something else? What effect might going mobile have on your documentation efforts? That’s the subject of this presentation.

We’ll first look at various definitions of “mobile” including apps, responsive design, mobilized web sites, and more – their pros and cons, and tools you can use to create them. We’ll then look at how you might have to change your documentation practices in order to move to mobile, such as requiring greater syntactical rigor, eliminating local formatting, using relative fonts and media queries to create resizable tables and content, and more.

You’ll leave this presentation with a solid understanding of options for going mobile and how your work may have to change to stay on the cutting edge of technical communication.

Neil Perlin PhotoNeil is an internationally-known online content consultant for companies from F100 to startups. He helps clients create effective, efficient, flexible content for delivery in any form from mobile to online to paper. Neil created and ran the Beyond the Bleeding Edge sessions at the STC Summits for 15 years, is a 2010 STC Fellow, and a popular conference speaker at the Summits, MadWorld, and others. Neil is MadCap-certified in Mimic and Flare, Adobe-certified in RoboHelp, and Viziapps-certified for the Viziapps Studio app development platform. He provides training, consulting, and development for online help, apps, and related areas through Hyper/Word Services. Contact him at [email protected], @NeilEric

 Getting Started with XSLT

Presented by Russell Ward

XSLT is a critical technology within the IT space, including technical writing and publication. It is also widely used in many other fields. A basic knowledge of XSLT is helpful for any IT professional; however, it can be a challenge to get started. In this session, we will start from the very beginning and explore basic ways to start learning. Attendees should at least have a general knowledge of XML.

Russ WardRuss is an experienced technical writer, structured technologies developer, and avid developer of plugins for Adobe FrameMaker. He is also an experienced trainer and speaks periodically at conferences and other peer events.






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