Question #4: SLA and Professional Growth

May 31, 2011 by

Candidates for the SLA Board of Directors will be asked to answer questions on the SLA Blog until election time. I’ve published my answer to Question #4 today. I’m copying it below.

Catherine Lavallée-Welch – Candidate, Division Cabinet Chair-Elect

Question #4 How has your work with SLA over the years helped you grow in the profession?

In a previous post, I explained how I joined SLA when I moved, not just to a new city but to a new country. Joining my local chapter immediately helped me develop a new network of information professionals. Local chapter events and the annual conference became an integral part of my professional development activities.

As my involvement grew from the chapter to the division level, my network grew exponentially as well. The diversity of my colleagues in expertise, experience and even geography helped me develop a better understanding of my field.

Yes, I can meet other information professionals online and through other conferences. However, having SLA in common is an easy introduction; it’s almost like a secret handshake. I have used my network for knowledge gathering, discovery, inspiration and as a sounding board.

One of the interesting tests about being a SLA unit leader is working with people who, although wanting to be involved, remain volunteers with other obligations. Leading, motivating, supporting and mentoring become important abilities to acquire in order for the unit to reach its goals. I also found these skills transfer to working with my employees. While salary is important, there is usually some motivational key each person uses to perform at his or her best. Finding that key leads to a more content, more energetic staff.

Although I’ve been a SLA member for 11 years, I still find new challenges that help me increase my skills. From sponsor relations to programming; from local involvement to hopefully serving as your Board member, I look forward to continue serving SLA.

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