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13 Questions With: Allison Milne

13 Questions With: Allison Milne

December 9, 2016

Advisor – Content Management, Export Development Canada

Who inspires you in your career?

I have to say, my previous boss and mentor – Yves Marleau – is pretty darn inspirational. He has been in the IM field for over 30 years, and is doing some pretty amazing work with his company Cogniva Information Solutions and his C3 software. As a previous employee, I love hearing people in the field talk about the advancements his company is making with auto-classification of records and the talented analysts he has working for him. I was lucky enough to watch him present at ARMA NCR IM Days a few weeks back, and his passion and dedication to information/records management is awe inspiring.

The first job you ever held and at what age and your first position in the library and/or information services field?

If you are old enough to remember getting dressed, jumping in the car, and driving to the nearest Rogers’ Video on a Saturday afternoon to rent the coolest “new release” VHS movie for that night, you might have seen me at 16 years old in the Paul Anka & McCarthy Rogers Video store.

I worked in the file room at Export Development Canada as a summer student for 2 years back when I was 19. After doing my masters at Western, I came back to EDC in 2013 and took a position in the corporate Library.

Why a career in librarianship?

If you’d asked me this when I first got into the field, I’d likely have a much different answer. I think why I love this career and why its so promising is because I’m actually helping people. I’m helping them solve problems, I’m helping them manage their resources and information better, and they are trusting me to design solutions that fit their needs (while ensuring they meet the requirements of the organization and are in line with industry best practices). Each time I meet with a client, I feel like its to help solve a puzzle, which is so cool to me.

Coolest thing in your cubicle or office?

My unicorn-shaped pen! And a picture of my giant orange tabby named Tom Selleck.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Watching CrossFit documentaries on Netflix… and no, I’m not even a gym-goer!

Career advice – what’s your top tip?

For women, I’d say my biggest tip is Be aggressive. Whether you’re a young person early in your career, or starting a new job, I see far too many women being way too nice. Don’t be afraid to ask “why” and state your position (albeit in a polite and positive way) with all the facts to back yourself up.

Caveat advice – know your limits and when to say no to projects; being a “yes” person is the best fast-track to a burnout.

What useless skill(s) do you possess?

I’m really good at finding puns in everyday conversation.

Proudest moment in your professional life?

This was definitely the completion of my first engagement as a consultant at Cogniva. I was sent to OSFI 2 weeks after being hired. I was on a solo contract for 4 months, with no one there to help me. I worked hard and ended up navigating my way through that project and executed well on my deliverables, with very little support. It gave me all the confidence in the world to continue as a great consultant after that.

If you had 24 hours all to yourself, how would you best like to spend it

This is a no brainer – I’d drive straight up to boyfriend’s family cottage in Perth. Nothing like sitting back and enjoying a cold beer on the dock in the summer, or curling up in front of the fire with a glass of mulled wine in the winter!

If you didn’t work in the information industry, what would you be doing?

I think I would go back to school and be a music teacher. I have my undergraduate degree in Music (in French Horn performance) and I used to teach privately for several years. I would love to do early-music education with 4-5 year olds. It would combine my passion for music and my love of teaching and children!

Finish this sentence: “In high school, I would have been voted the person most likely to … “

Be a professional musician.

How do you stay current in your field?

Thankfully my employer takes professional development quite seriously, and pays for our team to be a part of professional memberships and we are also able to go to conferences when they come up. I have had memberships to AIIM and ARMA International, and I got to the ARMA NCR IM Days every year and last year I went to SharePoint Fest in Denver. I also make sure to stay in touch with the many people I’ve made connections with in the field – either by social media like LinkedIn and Facebook, or by connecting annually for coffee or drinks.

What would you like your headstone to read?

Allison Milne
Daughter, sister, wife, mother, unicorn and friend.

Allison Milne is a Content Management Advisor at Export Development Canada (EDC) in Ottawa. Her role is primarily client focused, helping internal clients design team, committee, project or work sites in SharePoint 2010 and advise on complex information management issues. A priority in the past year has been developing and implementing EDC’s SharePoint governance framework.

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