Saturday, April 24, 2010

SLA2010: Me the candidate for the Board of Directors

As I mentioned before, I have been nominated to run for a position on the Special Libraries Association (SLA) Board of Directors (2011-2013).  Yesterday, I made my first presentation as a candidate and I thought I would share here some of the information that I provided.

First, people wanted to know why I was running for the Board.  Running for a Board position is something that I've thought about for several years.  And I'm pleased that this year I was asked to run.  But why run?  I have been an SLA member since 1990 and attended my first conference in 1992. (I've been to ever conference since then.)  I began volunteering at the Chapter level soon afterward.  I've held leadership positions at the chapter and division levels.  I've also chaired two association-level committees.  So I have a long history with the Association and it is the professional organization that I consider "home".  Through SLA, I've found friends, colleagues, clients and mentors.  SLA has provided ways for me to hone my leadership skills.  It also provided many ways for me to give back to the profession.  Because of all of that, I want to see the organization continue to grow and succeed, and I want to help with both by contributing by experience and knowledge to the Board.  

Yes, I know that being a Board member is a huge time commitment.  Besides attending two conferences per year (Leadership Summit in January and the Annual Conference in June), there are monthly conference calls and additional activities that a director must attend to (i.e., special projects assignment by the Association President).  One of the things that a candidate must do is receive the written support of his/her employer because of the commitment involved. Thankfully, my dean was very happy to give her and the school's support to me!

SLA runs what I call an "non-campaign campaign".  Candidates are forbidden to engage in the campaign tactics seen in other associations (e.g., ALA).  Instead, SLA strives to create a level playing field where members are able to learn about all of the candidates and then decide whom to vote for.  For example, if a Chapter asks one candidate to speak, all of the candidates for that office should be given an opportunity to speak (in person, virtually or in writing).  Most interesting is that candidates cannot ask for endorsement and no SLA unit or person can offer an endorsement.  Candidates can't make campaign promises, but we can talk about what we stand for and what we hope to accomplish. 

When are the elections?  Ballots are cast online in September and results are released in early October.  (I'm assuming the same timing as 2009.)

Will people vote for me?  I hope so!   I also know that I need to talk to as many members as possible -- in as many different ways as possible -- so they will know who I am and why they should vote for me.  If you're an SLA member and have ideas on how I can connect with more people, please let me know.  I'll be reaching out on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as the channels that SLA provides.  Where else (how else) would you recommend?

Finally, as part of our communication with Association members, every candidate is writing blog posts in the SLA blog in response to specific questions.  Below is my response to the first question. We will be video recording responses to additional questions at the Annual Conference and those recordings will be made available online.  We'll also take part in a variety of meet-and-greets at the conference.  If you would like candidates to address your unit, please contact them directly.

Jill Hurst-Wahl - Candidate for Director - Question #1 - Imagine you have just finished your term on the SLA Board of Directors, what did you accomplish?

Jill Hurst-Wahl
My bio says I believe “technology can be used to make information more accessible, organizations more transparent, and people easier to find.”  At the end of my term, you will see that I have impacted how we network with each other to fuel our professional progress and add energy to the Association. I will also have helped to make connections between people and units who can collaborate or assist each other.

As information professionals, we thrive on ensuring that others have access to the correct information at the right time. You’ll look back and see how I have supported efforts to provide industry and professional information that will help you remain highly-valued individuals.

The adoption of social media and online social networking increases information flow, our networks and transparency. Looking back, you’ll see the positive impact I’ve had on our use of web 2.0 as individuals and as an Association.

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