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Articles - Commercial Writing
Written by Judith Ellison Shenouda   
2006-09-06

September Song

by Judith Ellison Shenouda

Oh, its a long, long while from May to December, but the days grow short when you reach September. I have always loved September Song. Its one of the oldies, but goodies that my mother still plays by ear on the piano, while others sing along. September represents fresh starts. Years ago, first as a student, then as a teacher, it began the school year. With September the month of my birth, it continues to represent a year older, a year wiser. And September is the month I started my business. This year is significant, because we are now starting our 20th year. In many respects, the business is singing the same tune as we continue to write paper-based and electronic publications and training programs, do Web development, manage projects, and provide IT and product localization/translation support through our knowledge workers. Recently, Ive added an embellishment sharing what weve learned via speaking gigs. Heres our communication about this fresh start.

Keynote Speaker

Are you confronted with an important decision? Do you have a project looming, but have no idea how to begin? Do your written communications present you favorably and get you the work you seek? Do you use the right criteria to select a new product, a new supplier, a new worker? Can you balance the projects in your professional life with the demands of your personal life?

At this juncture in my career, I am looking forward to sharing insights on topics related to starting a business and keeping it going, creating publications, and managing the projects in your professional and personal life.

Professional Qualifications

You might wonder what qualifies me to speak to businesses and associations. Here is the resume explanation.

Education

  • Master of Arts degree in Literacy Journalism from S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University

  • Additional courses and workshops in curriculum design and development, group dynamics, information studies, publication management, and project management

  • New York State Certification to teach Secondary English

Work Experience

  • Shenouda Associates Inc.

For the past 20 years, I have owned and managed a publications and communications business. We staff or support knowledge organizations with workers who develop user and service manuals, Web sites, instructional content, marketing collateral, and more for paper-based and electronic delivery to global audiences.

  • Prior to that, I held teaching and other educational positions.

Presentations

I have made many presentations at conferences, including:

  • Dot Your Is and Cross Your Ts: Remember the Basics of Style

  • Satisfying Our Clients and Our Employers Their Success is Our Success

  • Finders, Keepers What It Takes to Find Work and Keep It

  • Communication Specialists: Essential Contributors to a Staff and Profession; to a Team, Product, and Company

  • Creating Publications for Worldwide Readers: Best Practices and Processes

  • Clear Writing Makes for Easier, Speedier Reading

I have honed the writing craft by writing a variety of articles, including:

  • Finding Work and Enjoying the Journey (Inside Project Management)

  • Successful Help Desk Communication (Windows Professional)

  • Companies Should Write with Style (Rochester Democrat & Chronicle)

  • Dont Leave Business Decision-Making to Chance (Rochester Business Journal)

  • A Small Business Approach to Continuous Improvement (Proof Sheet)

  • Quality Processes Transform Pain to Pleasure (Total Quality Documentation)

As a regular columnist for Writer Online, I have written:

  • Giving Thanks for Lessons Learned

  • What Goes Around Comes Around

  • A Look at Technical Communication through FAQs

  • Alphabet Soup: Concocting A Delicious Submission

  • Do Your Part to Launch New Products

  • Yes, You Can!

  • A Commercial Writer by any Other Name

  • Publishing Many Options, Many Decisions

Personal Qualifications

Like you, I lead a busy life. I participate in associations, travel to conferences, keep up a fitness routine, bicycle, read, sing with the American Music Pops Salute, and relax with friends and family, which includes my husband, sister, three brothers, in-laws, nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, cousins, some cherished aunts, and my dear mother, a wonderful role model and friend.

Though I am even-tempered, life can sometimes be stressful. When an anxiety-provoking event is occurring, I have a recurring dream. I am taking the PSAT, SAT, or some other standardized test, and the pencil breaks, the eraser disappears, and time is up. Talk about anxieties that last a lifetime!

They had their root in elementary school and continued until I learned to rework instructional material. I reorganized it, took notes, created diagrams, and made the information palatable and digestible. I lessened my anxieties and mastered the content. In graduate school as a Literacy Journalism major, I learned that clear, simple writing makes for easier reading. What I was doing for myself was something I could do for others.

My Passion

At a high school reunion this past year, I told my old friend, Betty Lou, now known as Robbie, a professional speaker, about my desire to segue into the professional speaking arena. Her advice? Find your passion. Here it is.

As I develop and deliver presentations:

  • Use the qualities that are my strengths: patience and compassion, sincerity and warmth, competence and energy

  • Offer a healthy dose of motivation and inspiration

  • Infuse my experiences and those of others

  • Strive to engage and guide

I hope to enable and empower the audience to discover solutions that are relevant and right for them and, at the same time, help them to:

  • Demystify and simplify the complex

  • Make the effort manageable and orderly

  • Replace anxiety with confidence

  • Find that reservoir of strength within that is always there

  • Meet others to guide them, work with them, support them

  • Find others who need what they have to offer

When looking for a speaker on business, communications, or project management, let me hear from you. Our politicians say, I want your vote. I say, I want your business!

Recommended Reading

Toastmasters International is a wonderful resource for speakers and writers. Check out at www.toastmasters.org for lots of valuable tips. Who knows? Your song this September might embellish your standard offering.

Judith E. Shenouda 2005

Editor of Technical Communications
Judith Ellison Shenouda is principal of Shenouda Associates Inc. She earned a Master of Arts degree in Literacy Journalism from S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, USA. She completed additional courses in curriculum design and development, group dynamics, information studies, publication management, and project management; and has New York State Certification to teach Secondary English. Prior to starting Shenouda Associates Inc. in 1986, she taught English and Language Arts courses, provided academic support and career services, and worked as a freelance writer. She is a senior member of the Society for Technical Communication, a member of Toastmasters International, and a frequent presenter at local, national, and international conferences. She would be pleased to speak to your organization on topics related to starting a business and keeping it going; creating effective technical, business, and marketing communications; and managing the projects in your professional and personal life.

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