I’ve talked a little bit here about the need to improve the local communities for information management. It is an area that ARMA does better than other groups in the industry but their focus and members can be intimidating for those who aren’t records managers. AIIM chapters are a decent alternative but there are a lot of challenges.
For the past couple of years, I’ve been chatting offline with some chapter leaders from both associations, brainstorming ideas, and trying to think of ways to improve the local community. Some of these discussions became more focused when Kevin Parker became the president of the local AIIM chapter, NCC-AIIM. During one of these discussions I agreed to join the chapter’s executive committee.
Why Community Matters
We are in a different world from when industry associations initially formed. The Internet makes the exchange of ideas easy. Anyone can publish an article and have it peer-reviewed in the comments and on Twitter.
What the Internet hasn’t mastered is the creation of mentoring relationships, deep conversations, and those long conversations where people give undivided attention. Conferences like InfoGovCon and AIIM provide that to some degree but their cost, infrequency, and need to miss work make them impractical for a steady stream of interaction.
That is where the local community comes into play. Depending on the industry, there is usually a monthly or even weekly cadence of meetings. While few people attend them all, over the course of a few months you run into a wide variety of people, exchange ideas, and build a true sense of community that is moving forward together.
What I Hope to Bring
I’ve been participating and volunteering in a few local communities for almost 10 years in the DC area. Most are around the web with a more recent focus on User Experience (UX) and Design Thinking. I currently run the social media for OpenIDEODC which let’s me learn more about the challenges of running a successful community and connecting with like-minded organizations.
I hope to bring this experience in a more official capacity to NCC-AIIM. I’ve now been in my current role as a Director at Dominion Consulting for a year and feel that I can start to consistently make time for a real role. I am not sure I can commit to being an officer, helping to lead and advise seems like the right commitment level for me at the moment.
My hope is that working with Kevin and the rest of the executive committee, we can try and evolve the chapter into a more dynamic, 21st century, organization that can appeal to a broader swath of participants. Governance and information are hot topics in DC and there is no reason we can’t create an attractive program, expand our reach, and team with other groups to create an energized chapter.
Time Will Tell
Of course, our efforts may fall short of those lofty goals. We may exceed them. We will never know until we try. There is a need for people to connect. We need to reach out and find a way to create a thriving organization whose biggest struggle is finding a large enough space to meet.
We aren’t there yet. It is summer and the time for planning. I’m excited to help and to put my time and money where my mouth had been for some time. I’ll share the lessons, good and bad, and seek advice. I know I don’t have all the answers. I do have ideas to try and a determination to try and make a difference.
Time to see if that’s enough.