Member Spotlight: Angela Forest

By Boshia Smith posted 11-11-2021 14:41


Meet Angela!  Angela shared every encounter she had with AIIM - whether it's been accessing resources online or sending emails to a member of the AIIM team - has been very positive. I'm glad to have stumbled upon AIIM many years ago and I hope to remain a member for many years to come.  Reach out to @Angela Forest here and let her know she's isn't alone:)

Angela Forest
Position: Knowledge Management Specialist
Company: USAID

Where do you live in? Washington, DC

How long have you worked in information management? I started working in information management in 2012 when I got an internship in graduate school to help shut down the office (and archive all documents for shipment to a university repository) the office of a retiring senator from my home state of North Dakota.

What does your work entail? Do you have company support? How are you helping drive the goals of your office through your work? My work entails a good deal of communication among various stakeholders as well as developing strategies to address long-standing information management challenges in my office with limited resources and staffing. My office supports my efforts, but they don't always understand what I do or the complexity of the work, so I am regularly meeting with the leadership to obtain buy-in for my projects and explain their value to the organization. My office often must respond to high-level tasks from the White House and other government authorities in a short period of time. My work aids in these efforts by streamlining activities and improving access to work products (by reducing redundancy, and strengthening file management processes).

What has been the biggest success in your career in information management? In 2017, I single-handedly worked for more than 6 months to manually assess, categorize, track, and sort approximately 16,500 paper documents as part of an extensive digitization project to archive USAID's history of involvement in global polio eradication from the 1980s to the 2000s.
This project involved the creation of two datasets - one representing 120 global health projects during this time period and the other representing the descriptive elements of the print polio records to provide quality control once document scanning began.

What’s your current biggest work challenge?

My biggest work challenge exists currently as I seek to get over 100 staff members to assist me in organizing their digital work products in one platform and utilizing another platform to store financial project documentation. I also am working to get staff to undergo training to become more proficient in using these platforms as I deal with external deadlines from a planned IT department migration of hundreds of thousands of files from yet another platform. It is a huge logistical undertaking, which requires extensive coordination, communication, cooperation, and change management (4 Cs).

What does Intelligent Information Management mean to you?

To me, it means utilizing technology and business management strategies and tapping into the people side of information management to make information (in whatever form) highly utilized and easily accessible so that employees can do their jobs in the most effective and efficient manner possible.

What are the top 3 things you are looking to get from your AIIM membership? Learn from people who have been doing information management much longer than I have.
Find out about new technologies and effective strategies to enhance my work.
Share whatever knowledge I may have on one or more topics with colleagues in the field.

What’s one thing you’re looking forward to in 2022? Hopefully returning to more in-person gatherings. I would like to return to the office a few days a week. Actually, I have never even been to the office for my job as I started it after the COVID pandemic. So, I would like to actually meet most of my co-workers in person for the first time.

What is your end goal and how do you think we can help you achieve it?  Hmm, good question. My end goal would be to work on information and knowledge management projects that improve the lives of the largest number of people possible. Within the realm of USAID (i.e., the field of international development) that could involve projects that substantially improve or even save the lives of people living in developing countries. I think AIIM can help me reach this end goal through its excellent courses and webinars on cutting-edge technology, along with regular opportunities to connect with industry and professional experts from countries around the world. The AIIM Conference 2021 was such a great example of all of that, it was wonderful!

As an AIIM member, can you share how AIIM’s membership benefits helped you with your career?

In my first job with USAID as I was struggling with how to begin the polio digitization project, I joined AIIM and received several valuable resources that allowed me to think through and map out how to approach it. I have continued to turn to AIIM as my career has evolved and I have taken on even larger projects with greater impact.


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