Every month, AIIM features a member who we want to connect you with! This month, meet Kathleen Glasgow Sparks who has been an AIIM member for about 30 years! Kathleen is the Records Retention Director at Tyson Foods. A pioneer in our industry, Kathleen shares a passion for records management and has helped Tyson with their own digital transformation. In the next year, Kathleen will be retiring and with that looks forward to the opportunity to enjoy more time with friends, continue her volunteer work, and finish her walk across France and Spain.
Before she goes, connect with her and her years of experience
Name Kathleen Glasgow Sparks
Position Director of Records Retention
Company Tyson Foods, Inc.
Where do you live?
Springdale, Arkansas via Dallas, Texas (Originally from Niagara Falls, New York)
How many years have you been an AIIM member?
On and off (mostly on!) for 30 years
What led you to information management?
Just love organizing information and things… even alphabetized my mother’s boxes of jello when I was a kid – you know - apple, banana, cherry, grape, lemon, lime, orange, etc.!
What has been the biggest success in your career in information management?
My biggest success was receiving the first Alan Andolsen Award for Mentoring in 2012 from the Institute of Certified Records Managers. The most gratifying success has been building records management and/or litigation support programs at over 41 companies over my career. It has been a really fun ride ! …and, oh, the fabulous people that I have met in our profession!
What’s your current biggest work challenge?
The biggest work challenge is just prioritizing and executing the enormous number of opportunities to improve information management at our company. There are challenges and opportunities everywhere! We have amazing C-Suite support here at Tyson Foods and, so, folks from all over the company are rushing to us for assistance as we meet the many challenges of growing Tyson Foods, Inc.
Has that changed over the years?
Not really, a colleague taught me a long time ago that when you see a records management problem that isn’t being tackled by anyone else, just take the power and do it yourself. Be gracious to others and delight your customers…I have taught our staff to do that as well…We make an important contribution to our company. Our staff love all the varied work, too, because it improves their skills, experience and just keeps the job interesting. No day is the same for us and we like it that way!
If you could ask any question to the AIIM audience with the hopes of solving an issue, what would that be?
What are you doing to grow your own skills and expand our profession? The need for records and information management is so pervasive and the value is so important to the success of our companies, agencies and organizations.
What are the top 3 things you have gotten out of being a member AIIM?
Professional camaraderie, great friends and colleagues… so many wonderful ideas that we can implement in our work settings – be it a plant, hatchery, feed mill, office or distribution center – they all have information needs and just want some guidance to make their jobs more efficient and less burdensome.
What do you plan on doing in your retirement?
Ah, retirement – I will spend more time with my beloved family and friends, continue to volunteer with the non-profit groups that have appreciated my help, continue teaching fiber arts to young and disabled youth and adults and complete my pilgrimage on the Chemins de Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle en France (I have walked about 350 miles so far in France and hope to get all the way across to Spain.)
Kathleen--you inspire! Thank you for all your years supporting AIIM's community and leading organizations with intelligent information management best practices and insights. Can't wait to see what you do next!