#Spotlight Series: Anna Maloney: A Year in the Life of a MARA Graduate
Published: June 8, 2018 by Katie Kuryla
I was introduced to Anna Maloney when I was taking over her position as an assistant at school. When I moved to a new city, it coincidentally was the same city that Anna lived in and by chance we found out. We don’t always get the opportunity to meet the people we go to school with but I was lucky enough to meet Anna in person.
She is a wonderful person and her post shows you that as a MARA graduate, great things can happen. Good luck on the job search (though I’ve heard she’s found a new position so really, congrats!) and students, heed Anna’s advice, the program gave her confidence to find a position that she is qualified for! – Katie
It was May 2017 and the moment that had seemed like a distant future in August 2014 was upon me: I was hitting submit on my final group project. I had finished the ePortfolio well in advance of the deadline and the remainder of my last semester had been spent organizing an online image collection of National Park postcards for an INFO elective. The feeling that creeped up on me was one I had felt twice before, in the last few weeks of high school and after finishing my undergraduate degree in English. Excitement for what the future would hold, mingled with a sensation of loss. What was I going to read without a weekly curated list of articles on trends in electronic records management? Who was I going to talk to about information governance and digital preservation? If I didn’t format a Word document in APA, did it even make a sound?
Despite my sudden sentimentality for homework and group projects, I had things to look forward to. The first was a graduation trip to Nevada and Utah and the second was a promotion at work that allowed me to be more involved with image and record management at the midsized financial services organization I had been working at for the past year. While I had had a lot of success with internships during my MARA career, I was finally going to have the opportunity to get my hands dirty with RIM. If my family had remembered to give me graduation cards, I’m sure they would have said something like “You hold the key to the future, spread your wings and fly!” and I was ready to do just that.
When fall rolled around, I thought it would be weird to not be getting ready for a new semester of school, but the transition to a no-homework lifestyle was easier than I expected. It helped that work was keeping me engaged with RIM. I had been given the opportunity to take ownership over a new records management initiative that allowed me to try to my hand at writing manuals, developing resources, and realigning procedures with the established records management program. I was feeling some frustrations, though. The department I worked in was responsible for imaging all of the incoming client-related documents, but the processes had been siloed when the company acquired new subsidiaries over the years. This led to software programs, controlled vocabularies, and workflows that were not consistent across business lines. Despite my education, I felt helpless to catalyze meaningful change in an organization that used such disparate content management systems. Winter was coming.
With colder weather came more time for reflection. I was contributing to the evolution of records management at my organization. I had the opportunity to participate in user acceptance testing for our new software system. I had developed relationships with other business units and was able to educate them on the company’s records management practices. There was still something missing though. The private sector and corporate records management had attracted me because the need for a mature records information, and image management program was immediate and critical. In the financial services industry, records are the backbone; every transaction must be preserved for customer service and regulatory reasons. But overall, the organization was not providing a service that I found meaningful. While I accepted that I would be hard pressed to find a private sector position in which a profit was not the bottom line would be difficult, I was ready for a new challenge.
For many, springtime is symbolic of beginnings—and endings. Searching for jobs on Indeed and checking the Archives Gig blog reminded me of how many diverse opportunities existed for archives and records managers. In the city I live in, the opportunities reflect the area’s major industries: science and technology. While I didn’t have experience managing this type of information, the knowledge, skills, and abilities I acquired through the MARA program and my internship experiences were easy to connect to the desired qualifications of many job advertisements. And as I begin the interview process, I am more confident than ever that choosing the MARA program was one of the best decisions I have ever made.