How has involvement with SLA over the years helped you grow professionally and personally? — Juliane Schneider, Candidate for Div. Cab. Chair-Elect

My name is Juliane Schneider and I’m a candidate for Division Cabinet Chair-Elect.

Considering that my first interaction with SLA was them giving me money via a travel grant to attend Annual, we got started off on an extremely good foot! Probably clad in a killer shoe.

I’ve been around ever since that 1997 conference in Seattle, with some years missed but most not. However, I really began to get involved around 1999 when the director of the College of Insurance library, Barbie Keiser (hi, Barbie!), actively encouraged me to participate in the Insurance & Employee Benefits Division. I was guest editor for their newsletter, was elected Secretary of the Division and began to realize that leadership within SLA was not something that was held apart for long-term or already recognized members – anyone could step up and get actively involved and hold a Division-level board position.  I began to transfer this idea of no boundaries to my career.  The sign doesn’t say no?  Then I assume yes!

Barbie could have let me continue to do my job at the insurance library (I was the cataloger/gov doc librarian) and allow me to go to Annual without making any further effort, but it was that extra step she took of letting me know there was more to it that is directly related to the fact that I’m now running for this board position. So now you know who to blame (thanks, Barbie!)

It was that start and my continued work with the Information Technology and Academic Divisions as well as my local chapters that has sharpened my wits, my networking skills, my ability to pitch an idea, my mentoring abilities, my vision of the profession.

Without SLA, I would have felt a bit isolated during my time at EBSCO. I loved the company and I loved the job, but I was in a nontraditional role in a nontraditional setting. SLA Leadership and Annual allowed me to mingle with My People twice a year and feel like I still had my finger on the pulse of what was going on in the broader information world. You can read a million articles and watch a million webcasts, but NOTHING replaces talking face to face with the people who are doing the stuff.

Without SLA, I would not have been able to as skillfully adapt my career to the changes I saw coming down the road, or take the calculated risks I have with my career that have paid off so very well. SLA has provided me with context and a group of brilliant sounding boards when I needed to bounce ideas around before doing something possibly really stupid (or really awesome).

Coming out the other side of over 15 years of SLA, I’m a confident risk-taker who’s still excited about the profession. SLA has been a big part of getting me there.

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