2011 Candidate Speeches
Jane Macoustra – 2011 Candidate for Director
1. “Tell us about yourself and your primary candidacy message”.
Hello, My name is Jane Macoustra and I am standing as a candidate in the 2011 elections for the Directors’ position. I am from the UK, just south of London. I have been an information professional for 30 years, working in different industries such as oil and gas, investment banking, finance, law, compliance and taxation. In more recent times I have worked as a consultant, and I am currently an Editor for a New York publisher, creating a daily tax current awareness service for business users. My extensive work experience has taken me across the world, and I spent 2 ½ years with my young children working in Hong Kong.
I joined SLA in 2000, and attended my first conference in 2000 – in Philadelphia. BY 2001 I was in Asia, so I joined the Asian Chapter, and then its Chapter Board in 2002, as a Director. At that time the Chapter was small – just in its infancy. By the time I returned to the UK, I had gained a valuable understanding of the Asian culture and values. I’d been exposed to more than one Asian country, and could clearly see the diversity of such an amazing region. I became President of the Asian Chapter in 2005 and 2006 and during this time, I received very sound and solid assistance from HQ in the USA, as I brought a new Board for Asia together. Any time I needed advice, it was available to me. The Asian Chapter found a bigger voice under this new leadership, where the leaders came from Singapore, Tokyo, Australia, India and Hong Kong – and of course – the UK! Today it is a 300 member thriving community, spanning a large geographical region. In 2007 I was awarded the Presidential Citation Award for this work, but it wouldn’t have been possible to achieve such amazing results without a great team of people – the work of many.
Now, I work on the Board of SLA Europe. I can attend remote Board meetings when I can’t get to London, and SLA Europe – being another geographically dispersed community – utilises new technology to harness the communication systems available to it.
My primary candidate massage to you is that working for SLA is highly rewarding and enjoyable and affords me the opportunity to use the knowledge I have gained over the last 30 years for the benefit of others. I am standing as a candidate because I would like the opportunity to work as part of the leadership team, and offer others the same support and advice I received when I first joined SLA and became an active Board member. It’s my turn to give something back to you and work at a higher level for you.
Times are challenging for me on a personal level this Summer, and that is why I have a Virtual Component Conference Ticket, and won’t be attending Philadelphia in person. I’ll be leaving Skype on during the conference. My Skype ID is jane.macoustra. Connect and call me with any questions! I’ll be Twittering as “WorldResearcher” and you can follow me there, and I’ll be blogging on the SLA Blog and on Blogger at Jane’s Global Researcher Blog. It would be great to hear from you!
Question 2. The information industry is constantly changing (the players, the technologies, the information availability needs etc). Living within this environment, SLA must be an agile organization able to adapt as the industry matures.
As an information professional of 30 years, my career began when office equipment consisted of paper records and a typewriter. I could never have guessed that so many changes and challenges would face Info Pros throughout their careers. Membership of SLA is a great resource for all members, and I personally find membership to be of massive benefit. As the resource offerings grow, I still find it difficult to look through the website and say "we don't need that anymore", because a particular service may be needed by one person, but not by another.
Let me give just 3 examples.
1. I note that Community of Practice is no longer with us. I don't find that a problem because we have so many new ways of communicating globally that it is now irrelevant. However, if it had been removed in 2006, the Asian Chapter would have been lost without it. We used it for our Board meetings.
2. The Committees and Councils are very relevant and important to our work, and we need to continue to provide their services to members, giving them a specialist section to look to for advice.
3. What about the hard copy of Information Outlook? Well, I can and do – read it online, but not every SLA member has electronic access. The person half way up a mountain in Bhutan with a library collection in his village, with intermittent (if any) Internet connection is going to value his paper copy. That's an exaggeration, but you know what I mean. It's called Timing. When do you call time on paper copies? Which members are most likely to be affected? Will they leave SLA if we change too quickly and too radically?
Arguments can be made for and against any one set of services in an exercise of priority setting. My vote for what *must continue* is SLA's ability to connect members to each other. SLA is the conduit for information professionals to have stronger global connections with each other and to be less fragmented regardless of the industry in which they work. Today, SLA uses important training techniques via features such as Click U, Wiki, Blogs, SLA TV, Second Life, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn et al — tomorrow, the tools may be different. But we must always find ways to support members in working together on the many projects that enable them to contribute so positively to their organizations and thus to society.
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