Donna Marcotte Consulting | Professional Writing and Editing Services
Donna Marcotte Consulting | Professional Writing and Editing Services

Why is it important to hone your message?

The word “hone” means to sharpen. In some cases, the right message requires pin-point precision—making sure you explain enough, but not too much; touching on some subjects and perhaps completely avoiding others; and using just the right words to convey the nuances of your message.

Discover a bit about my background

We are each, of course, unique. I’m providing some background information about the unique combination of professional experience, personal traits, and education that I bring to all of my projects—a combination that I think contributes to successful communications for my clients.

Professional Experience
Here are some highlights of my professional experience.

Communications and Writing

Early in my career, the primary focus was on technical communication (software user manuals and such). But when you are the established writer on a team, you end up doing all the writing—letters, newsletters, reports and other special projects.

This start in technical writing required developing skills and strategies to help audiences navigate larger complex documents and locate information. While not always required for smaller communication pieces, I’ve found these skills and strategies continue to serve me on all my projects.

Through the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work on an ever widening variety of projects, with diverse roles and responsibilities, which have included: documenting business procedures; developing web-based services for software customers; conducting studies and developing executive reports; working with subject matter experts (SMEs) to develop operating and maintenance procedures; interviewing SMEs and business executives to develop case studies and articles; and developing brochures, websites and other marketing materials.

One of my most fascinating assignments was working as the drilling and information technology editor for E&P, an upstream oil and gas trade publication with an international circulation of more than 50,000. This job gave me the opportunity to travel the world to cover, learn and write about drilling and information technology for the upstream oil and gas business, as well as related business and industry issues.

Software Development and Industry Experience
I started my career as an information systems professional, helping to develop software for engineers. This included almost 6 years with ExxonMobil developing software for drilling engineers, which included the communications-oriented aspects of the software, the computer-human interface and online and printed documentation.

It has always been a key part of my job to work with industry professionals and technicians, to gain an understanding of their needs, then to document those needs, and work with a software development team to create the software to meet these needs.

My industry experience includes: oil and gas exploration and development, commercial engineering/
construction, software development, steel manufacturing, mining and minerals, and investment services.

International Project Management
One of the exciting things about the oil and gas industry is that it is global, which has provided opportunities to work and travel in Europe, Asia and Australia.

I had the privilege of living and working in Norway for 1 year, managing a multi-national team of writer/editors and graphic artists who worked with subject matter experts (SMEs) to develop operating and maintenance procedures for 3 offshore installations in the Norwegian North Sea.

Computer Skills
My education, training and work experience have provided me with solid computer knowledge and skills, which serve me in two main ways.

First, I have a strong knowledge base to write on these subjects and work with clients in high-tech industries. Second, I apply these skills to use and troubleshoot technology to more effectively do my job.

Personal Traits

Some of the personal traits that help me to better serve my clients include:
  • Sharp analytical and critical thinking skills. I have an ability to see things from multiple perspectives, the personal strength and conviction to ask tough questions and play the devil’s advocate when necessary, and the empathy to listen and understand other points of views.

  • Self-starter with the ability to keep "lots of balls in the air" and pay attention to detail. The combination of these skills lets me keep track of all that is happening, anticipate problems, and follow through on issues (large or small) to make sure the job gets done correctly and to the client’s satisfaction.

  • Excellent time management skills. Partly from lots of experience, but also partly innate skill, I pride myself on promptness, excellent estimating skills, and on-time delivery.
I completed my bachelor’s degree a few years into my professional career, which allowed me to choose classes to complement and enhance my work experience. I completed my master’s degree part-time while working full-time and chose my thesis topic based on my work. I continue my professional development with training programs and participation in professional societies.
  • University of Houston. I have an MA in applied English linguistics. Thesis title: Applying Principles of Language to the Design of Software User Interface.

  • University of Pittsburgh. I graduated summa cum laude, with a BS in information science (a multidiscipline program that includes computer technology, information systems, cognitive psychology, statistics and others) with minors in communication and psychology.

  • Southern Methodist University Advanced Computer Education Center. I completed a 216-hour training program in the technology and business of website design and development.

>>> Discover the benefits of working with me.