Profile on MARA Alumna Kristen Cook

Published: December 22, 2016 by Anna Maloney

Several graduate students officially completed the requirements of the Master of Archives and Records Administration program and earned their degrees in December 2016. One of these graduates is Kristen Cook.

Cook works at ESPN, managing projects for the internal creative agency that produces web banners, videos, advertisements, and brand standards. She started the MARA program in August 2012 in order to develop a foundation in best practices for managing the information generated in her department and to cultivate a better relationship with the technology owners she works with. Her goal is to “get away from making the donuts,” and transition her role into one that manages processes, workflows and operations.

When asked about challenges facing information management at ESPN, Cook identified opportunities for growth not uncommon in many organizations: a need to rethink how technology has changed the business and its organization. By redefining business processes and focusing on organizational management, administrators can more effectively deploy new technologies and implement digital asset management strategies. Unfortunately, the constant evolution of business and technology means there is not a lot of time for reflection, which leads to, as Cook describes, “building the plane while you’re flying it.” But despite a general resistance to change, many stakeholders that Cook works with understand that current processes are either ineffective or won’t scale up to meet future needs. Moving forward, Cook will outline roles and responsibilities and conduct process analyses, taking baby steps toward a more holistic digital asset management approach.

Looking back at her time in the MARA program, Cook believes that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” As she completed her ePortfolio, the culminating course for all MARA students, she found it to be an invaluable writing exercise that allowed her to reconnect with her course work and to meaningfully reflect on her knowledge of frameworks, models, standards, best practices and, most importantly, leadership. Cook developed a new understanding of the tenets of archives and records administration by taking ownership of these concepts and examining past assignments. It is this evolving perspective paired with skills she developed through library science electives in advanced technology tools and applications that will propel Cook to success as she seeks to transform digital and media asset management at ESPN.

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