Focusing on the Local by Joining the NCC-AIIM Executive Committee

Hanging out at AIIM Nats night w/ (left to right) Mark Mandel, AIIM Vice-Chair Mark Patrick, and dedicated AIIM staffer Theresa ResekI’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.

Pointing AIIM in the Right Direction

Jack's compass from Pirates in the CaribbeanThere are a lot of posts flying around about what information professionals need from an association. My discussion on too many associations seems to have struck a nerve and gotten people thinking. Before I dive into details regarding AIIM, I want to share these posts.

I’m not going to reference the posts moving forward but know that they have, to varying degrees, influenced this post. That said, I had a lot of thoughts on this topic already rattling around in my head. Many of the thoughts below have been shared with other previously as well to test them out.

There are two ways I can share my thoughts. I could rant and rave about everything AIIM is specifically doing wrong. It would get a lot of hits, generate a lot of discussion, and upset the very people who need to read this.


I can simply dive into what AIIM needs to do going forward. The past is written. The present is malleable. The future is fluid. It is the future that I wish to influence by helping form the present.

Continue reading

Too Many Associations

A Pie from "Too Many Cooks" spoofWe are currently dealing with a glut of associations in the information industry. In the past couple of years with the addition of:

When you take into account the long history of AIIM and ARMA in this industry, it is clear that the community at-large feels it has needs not currently being met by the existing associations. CM Pros failed after failing to determine what value they could offer, at what cost, and how they could be distinct from AIIM and ARMA.

What does the entry of these new players mean?

Continue reading

Professional Associations Need to Go Local

Triceratop SkeletonThere are a lot of different professional associations out there seeking to provide value to their members. Some do so by helping to lobby for regulations and laws that will benefit their membership. Others provide certifications or have peer-reviewed academic journals that serve as gateways to the industry.

Then there are professional associations like AIIM, ARMA, and ASAE whose primary purpose is helping industry professionals be effective through education. This education takes place in the form of training, publications, seminars, and webinars. There may be a certification but it is rarely required for advancement in the industry.

The problem is that there is fresh competition from for-profit communities and ad-hoc local groups who use Meetup to find members and organize. Information on how to succeed in any industry is readily available on the Internet. Traditional associations are no longer the sole-source for networking and information.

How can associations compete when people no longer need a middle-man? They have to go local and make things personal.

Continue reading

A Farewell to AIIM

Today is my last day at AIIM. After today I shall cease being their Chief Information Officer (CIO) and return to the ranks of the Professional Member. As I leave, I want to make sure that I share a few important things.

An Education

Boy, did I learn things. I learned a lot about:

  • The Association Business. It is a business and it has many unique aspects compared to other businesses with whom I have ever worked. Many of the unique aspects will help me look at problems in other organizations with a fresh viewpoint.
  • Association Management Systems (AMS). While hand-in-hand with the former, I learned that implementing an AMS as a system isn’t that different from any other business system. Translation: It takes planning, communication, and work. I also learned why they are important pieces of software and not simply a domain-specific CRM system.
  • Marketing. I thought I knew a reasonable amount about Marketing when I started at AIIM. I spent every day after that learning how much I didn’t know as I learned more and more.

That isn’t counting all the new technology tidbits and personal interaction skills I picked-up along the way. It was an intense time.

Continue reading

AUDC13: netFORUM Enterprise Roadmap

I’m happy and sad about this session. I LOVE having the Roadmap session starting a conference off on the right foot. On the other hand, not a big fan of a conference starting on a Sunday. Blows a whole weekend and there are some people to whom taking Sunday as a day of rest/worship is still important.

The speakers are Don Prodehl (VP Research & Development) Darryl Hopkins (Director R&D/ Product Manager), and Craig Dellorso (Chief Customer Officer).


Continue reading