This month we caught up with AIIM19 speaker and CIP Angela Watt. She shared more on her work, accomplishments, how she attained her CIP (at AIIM18) and more on what she's sharing on at AIIM19. We are so impressed by Angela's ability to create and support community, if you haven't connected with her yet, please so here and be sure to reach out in person at AIIM19.
Name: Angela Watt, CIP
Position: Information Management Advisor
Company: City of Spruce Grove
Where do you live in? Edmonton, Alberta
How long have you worked in information management? I love this question because it’s fun for me to answer. My original background is in Library Sciences, and I hold a Library and Information Technology diploma. That being said, I have been working in libraries since the age of 6. When my Mom took me to the Library, I wanted to look at books and put them away. In junior high and high school, I worked in the school libraries at lunch as well as on my breaks. By the time I reached high school, I had already updated a card catalog and understood Dewey Decimal and Sears Subject Headings. At a work experience course in my final year of high school, I managed the front desk and did fun things like dress up as Clifford the Dog for storytelling. By the time I hit college, I already had a number of years organizing and managing information. My diploma covered both Child Services and Records Management (before RIM was its own diploma), as I chose to take both streams. I am proud to say that I have been working with managing information in some way for almost 35 years, and professionally for almost 20.
What does your work entail? Do you have company support? How are you helping drive the goals of your office through your work?
My position is a loan star position, and I am responsible for managing all information management needs for the City of Spruce Grove. My portfolio includes physical records management, policy/procedure, and bylaw development, managing our ECM software, training staff both on the software and on information management principles, liaising with department records representatives, handling document shredding services contract, and being an advisor for the entire corporation. Over the past few years, automation of processes has become something very important here. Multiple departments are looking to either change to electronic records, or automate a physical process. My current project I am very close to completing is designing a classification & retention system based on business processes that can be applied to where ever information is at rest. The other for this year is an electronic signature and digital authorizations project. I help drive the corporation's goals forward by helping business areas first define what process they are trying to update, and ensuring they do it with transparency, compliance, and security in mind.
What has been the biggest success in your career in information management?
I think my biggest success in my career thus far is retraining 250 people in my organization to understand information management principles, and helping them use the ECM software as it was meant to in my first year of employment. Since then, the entire corporation has an understanding of what intelligent information management is, why it is important, and how it applies to them.
What’s your current biggest work challenge?
My biggest challenge currently is breaking down the silos of processes and information. With so many transformation projects going on (at times without the involvement of experts in IIM at the right time), it is sometimes a challenge to support them and position them to be successful in a collaborative enterprise-wide manner.
What does Intelligent Information Management mean to you?
To me, Intelligent Information management is looking at information as a tangible commodity that we can use to understand ourselves better. If you want you to look at where a group of people are, look at the information they create. Intelligent information management is also philosophy and science where we can look at knowledge, data and information holistically and begin to use it to push the business forward. IIIM is more than a process or a software solution.
What are the top 3 things you have gotten out of being a member AIIM?
- A sense of community. We can have a J-O-B, or we can have a profession. Everyone I have met understands that this is a profession, and we are all in this together. I gained and am happy to be part of the AIIM family.
- There are SO MANY opportunities to further your education and knowledge in a variety of streams! AIIM understands that we are not only Records Managers, IT professionals, Vendors etc. There are broad training opportunities in all areas of knowledge.
- Radical Participation. I have never experienced such a high number of ways to choose to participate in the community. The online community (shout out to WIIM!!!), this member spotlight, speaking at AIIM19 . . . this isn’t an association that you attend an event once in a while. AIIM invites members to participate and be engaged.
You earned your CIP at AIIM18—can you tell us about the process you went through to earn your certification and any tips you would share with others looking to earn theirs?
The process I went through to obtain my CIP was to educate myself with the online offerings. I utilized the online practice tests multiple times, completed the Information Governance Practitioner certificate, took part in the Pre-Conference workshop and finally, buckled down to take the exam at the conference last year. Tips I would share is to look at all of the areas of knowledge and spend a lot of time in the areas that you may be need more education in. One of the areas for me that I found difficult was around technical aspects, but I worked hard to understand it. Know your strengths, and know where your opportunities to learn more are. Remember that you will get this, and when you get that passing grade, you have an entire community cheering you on.
You’re returning to the AIIM conference in March, and this time taking to the stage. Tell us about the story you’re sharing.
The story that I will be sharing, alongside my peer and friend Emily Speight, will be to help educate people in looking deeply into people when bringing in digital transformation projects. We will take AIIM family through a project plan, and identify key opportunities to learn about the people your projects are for. Typically change management and culture are not analyzed as much as they should, in our opinion. Further to this, IIM projects are infrequently seen as something fun! We look forward to bringing a fun, interactive edutainment to the AIIM family, and provide everyone with a way to humanize their projects to push them forward.
AIIM19 is in San Diego this March—any local stops you want to check out?
A beach where it is warm. The current temperature here is -40 here (which is where Fahrenheit and Celsius are the same!), so I will be looking forward to an opportunity for the sun to hit my skin. I am also training for an ultra marathon (running 125 km through the mountains), so I will be scoping out some parks to do that. If there are any AIIM members that want to go for an easy paced run, hit me up!