Donn DeBoard spoke to a Dr. Julia May’s graduate tech comm class at Drexel University in October. He was part of a career panel that was composed of Drexel alumni from the Communications program. The panel included a technical writer from Facebook, a journalist, and a public relations specialist. These students will be graduating soon and joining the workforce. Of course, the students’ main concerns were finding and securing work: where to look and how to do it. The panel overwhelmingly noted that networking was the most important path to a job.
The Society for Technical Communications Philadelphia Metro Chapter (STC-PMC) has been a staple in the local techcomm community. Donn joined the STC-PMC Chapter in 1986. He emphasized the prominent role that STC-PMC had played in advancing his career. STC-PMC encourages both networking and continual learning. Donn underscored the importance of connecting with people and being a problem solver. Building relationships is one of the best ways to push your career forward.
Donn attended Drexel at night and graduated with a Masters of Science in Technical and Science Communication. During this time, he benefited from attending the monthly STC-PMC meetings and hearing from experts in the tech comm field. “I would go to a meeting Monday night, learn something new, bring it back to work on Tuesday,” he recalled fondly. He noted that continual learning is the best way to keep up with the evolution of the tech comm industry itself.
Donn has experienced the benefits of STC membership firsthand, and has been a part of the changes the organization has gone through. He had been involved in some way since he joined, acting as Secretary and Head of Academic Outreach at the PMC level and on the Nominating Committee at the national level. He eventually became an Associate Fellow and then a full Fellow for his achievements and contributions.
Through the years, he’s seen many changes in STC-PMC. Donn said, “STC has been the single most valuable thing I’ve done in my career. It’s networking, continual learning, and continual networking. I have made both personal and professional friendships that have enriched my life.” Hopefully, the students at Drexel learned that lesson.