career development reflections

Time to pass the baton

About a month ago I resigned from my position of Co-ordinator for the ALIA New Graduates Group. This was a big step for me. It was time to pass the baton on to new co-ordinators and allow them the chance to benefit from being in this role. I knew it was time for a while, but I couldn’t step away without some comfort the group would continue the momentum we’ve got going here in Brisbane. From my conversations at the January social get-together, there is an enthusiastic bunch coming through the LIS courses at the moment. I hope the new co-ordinators will identify their professional development and networking needs and endeavour to meet them. Students and new graduates alike, if a chance comes your way, I encourage you to get involved as an ALIA New Graduates co-ordinator. Here I’ll tell my story…

I had barely completed two semesters of my LIS Masters course when I saw the role of EEI column co-ordinator advertised. I attended a networking event at QUT where someone advised against applying for the EEI role and told me that newbies looking to get involved usually start out as group co-ordinators. I was then immediately introduced to the only NewGrads Co-ordinator for Queensland. I signed up straight away. I joined because I was eager to contribute and become a part of the profession. I wanted to hit the ground running with my new career direction. Yes, I was only a first-year student when I started out as a NewGrads Co-ordinator in October 2010.

I had a rocky start. Early on in the new year, the other co-ordinator resigned. I was on my own. I had barely gained enough experience with organising events. I knew next to no one. This didn’t stop me. I was determined to make this NewGrads group an active one and with a planned calendar of events. A few months later, I ran the first Resume Reviews event in ALIA NewGrads. It was a hit. Thank you to Claudia Davies for her support for this event. She checked in on the day to ensure all was okay. Resume Reviews has remained on the NewGrads calendar since.

It wasn’t long until I had another NewGrads co-ordinator on board – Kelly Johnson. In November 2011, we put on a successful NLS5 Encore event. From here, our partnership went from strength to strength as we continued to organise regular PD and social events. We’ve made an awesome team. Our co-ordinator catch ups were usually over a beer in West End. That’s how we roll. I’ve really enjoyed working with Kelly in this role and I continue to do so.  🙂

During my time as NewGrads Co-ordinator, I’ve had a hand in at least 10 events, possibly more. Not bad, if I do say so myself. Being a NewGrads Co-ordinator has provided me with opportunities to keep up to date with what’s happening in the profession, connect with people I wouldn’t have otherwise, organise learning and networking events for my newbie peers and has consequently, accelerated my finding a place in this profession. Being a NewGrads Co-ordinator places you in the thick of it. You become pivotal to the success of a local professional community. A thriving, supportive students and new graduates community cannot happen without co-ordinators.

My resignation from the NewGrads Co-ordinator role closes a chapter for me. I am an early career information professional. Looking to the future, I may not identify as new graduate (though I have only graduated last year) but I am still passionate about student and new graduate issues. Many thanks to my fellow co-ordinators, both here and interstate, for your support and kind words of appreciation. I look forward to making a contribution again soon.

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