Archive for the ‘Professional Development’ Category

Last week was the 11th Aurora Leadership Institute and a few bloggers, who went in 2007 have been blogging about their reflections the last week or so, including Kathryn and Fiona, Kathryn gives a truly wholesome view of how Aurora affected her and what she has continuted to learn in her life afterwards, her post shows true courage as a leader and shows she’s not afraid to share what she has learnt. Fiona, you are the same as me in the fact that you think about Aurora every day. Three very impacting moments on my life include living in Perth for one year in 1995 (some people still want to know the stories about what happened over there), traversing Europe and Asia for 7 months in 2004 and attending Aurora in 2007. Compare the time lengths of each, 365 days, 220 days and 5 days !! How’s that for Aurora Impact !! 5 days and it can turn your life around. I don’t think the changes straight after Aurora were evident, but as I say, it provided me with a toolbox that I could gather new items on the way, or discard old items or newly tested ones that I didn’t like.

Would I have travelled the path I intended if I hadn’t gone to Aurora? As I was the person called up about 2 days before, because there was a spare space, I had started to set my path in other directions, like career coaching. I had a rough plan of what I wanted to do, but I believe Aurora helped me to see the “yellow brick road” with more clarity. I don’t think I would have had the confidence to get up and present papers at conferences if I hadn’t gone to Aurora. However, I always had an ability to do it, but was frightened. I used to let people talk over the top of me, and let them have the floor show, but now I ensure I can get in there and express how I’m feeling or what I want to say. And I have learnt that it’s okay to also let those people have the floor show if I feel I don’t have anything to contribute, I can listen and learn. I have become involved in many extra curricular library activities, but have now had to trim them back. And my future direction for this sort of work will involve more personal and introverted activities like writing papers or doing research, than organising a function.

I still don’t profuse to know everything, as I know I will be learning all my life and working on various aspects of my persona, as well as travelling the world. That’s the joy of life and having a career. However, Aurora taught me to be more analytical and critical of the things I do and the experiences I go through.

Aurora has also given me a *Fantastic* group of people who I can call my peers  and mentors, and I thank them for that. They allow me to bounce ideas off them, and vica versa, which continues our growing process. And I think that’s one of the main things I have become richer for, since going to Aurora.

Aurora is a truly personal and impacting experience, and if you are up for it, you should consider it.


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Hi there happy readers / bloggers,

Happy New Year !! Yes, this is my first blog for 2008, and I feel terrible that it’s already February, but I have been contemplating the content for this blog this year. However, a few bloggers have commented that they love my blog – thanks for that – and I’ll keep continuing on my merry way and stop the procastination and evaluation.

2008 is going to be a biggie, it’s already been big, with Feb being the climax of some important work at Urbis. We are implementing a search engine on our Intranet, and since we don’t have one yet and I have never implemented a search engine, it’s a *real* learning curve. You know, I know all the academic terms of keywords, best bets, synonyms and metadata, but to actually knuckle in there and do the work, weeelllll, that’s a toughie. How to start?? Do a bit of planning with the Intranet Team, well done team, you are ACE ! we did some card sorting with terms and synonyms using post it notes, boy, did we cover two walls in a room! And then…during the next few weeks, myself and the team are doing the hard yards.

Today our graphic designer also showed us the intranet frontpage redesign, which we’ll launch with the search engine, on Friday February 29 ! The day I’m at a Leap into Leadership workshop, a group of us have devised together. Last time we had an intranet launch and I was also out of the office, so 2nd time around it’s okay, as last time the “big bang” theory of mine didn’t happen. I can always make a phone call to check in and see if there has been any comment by staff.

What else is happening in 2008?

  • I’m presenting at a ALIES Conference in March on Web 2.0 Technologies we are using at Urbis
  • I”ve just been to beyond the hype, Web 2.0 Conference in Brisbane, I hope to blog on that
  • Leap into Leadership at the State Library of Victoria on 29th Feb.
  • Oh, and not to forget the NLS4 Conference in Melbourne, December this year

There have been other things I’d like to do, but have had to take it a bit easier and say no to some things to ensure I’m not doing too much.

So, why the slower-ness of my pace?? Well…I’m nearly 4 months pregnant ! SO am taking a change in my career, from being full time worker / career focussed person, to focussing my life on a new little person whose about to enter the Stephens’ life. I have been contemplating whether to blog this news as I don’t want the little one to become a “Truman Show” extrodinaire (sorry about the spelling), but I will aim to give you a balanced view of my change in life. And yes, there is a small bump forming now. So it”s all becoming very real. One other blogger commented that they couldn’t get off the couch during their pregnancy, as seriously, they are all very different, so I guess I am achieving alot considering I”m carrying a little one.

I”m off to watch some spicks and specks, but will aim to be back sooner, rather than later !

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I was having lunch with one of my previous Uni Lecuturers today and I was chatting about how I have been hosting student workplacements, but how later on, I get them to add something to my blog and also we have a get together every six months or so to catch up, follow up on what they have learnt and then get them to meet each other. It surprised me when I was told that what I do is quite unique. Wow ! But it’s so easy. You spend and invest an amount of time in a student’s life, why not catch up with them later to offer support, friendship and mentoring, plus, I learn alot about what they are learning now and where they plan to head in their career.

Where did I get the idea to catch up with the students from? I was involved in a mentoring group run by Moyra McAllister and Kerrie Ludekens in 2001, in Melbourne, and the following year, we all had a reunion and met old mentoring students, who I am now friends with.  Hence, I got alot out of that mentoring example and applied it to my own.

This seems to be a simple formula, but not used much. Maybe you should try it and see what the results are? I am so proud of my past students and love to see how they are developing now, and I’ll be interested for years to come to see where they end up and hear about the influence they have on their future organisation in whatever line of work they choose to specialise in. We are meeting in a few weeks and expect to hear many great stories about their progress. I’ll keep you updated !

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What time of year? you ask… It’s performance review time.

This time of year, usually sends many staff into belly loads of groans. I myself, grapple with the amount of various paperwork we have to fill in, and get a bit confused with the whole process and wonder “will this ever amount to anything?”

Well, this year I can see the progress, I can see where I was last year and how much I have accomplished over the year, and I can now methodically plot out my course for future work and refinement on my library, intranet and myself.

One of the most valuable things I have found that has been of benefit to myself this year is being involved with fellow library colleagues. As I work with one part time person (Katy), my involvement with other librarian has been out of my work environment. And it has been very rewarding this year. I also work on the Vic Specials Committee with Katy as I wanted to work with her outside of work. !! She’s awesome and such fun.

So, what are some of the things I wanted to work on in 2007? My leadership skills (done that via Aurora, professional coaching and many other personal reading and development items), redevelop the Intranet (big big tick) and work on my library services (always on going).

Big big clap to myself, hooray, things are rolling along well. I’m very proud.

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Have you ever spent money on a PD (professional development) activity and wondered what you actually got out of it??I have just completed 6 months of a coaching program with Geraldine Barkworth and found it to be one of the best investments I have made in myself. Not only is the money outlayed tax deductible, but I was able to converse with my own mentor for a lengthy period of time (not just a one day session), in a one on one, safe and confidential situation!

Here’s what I have to say about the experience. If I can answer any questions, please contact me and send me your email address and I’ll be happy to reply.

“ The six months coaching sessions with Geraldine Barkworth was the best money I’ve spent on professional development in years. Where else can you get a tailored program to suit the most important person in the training, YOU! And then, speak with your coach every two weeks to ensure that you are staying on track with all that you’d like to improve in yourself and achieve in your professional life. Plus, the expense is fully deductible on your tax!
When I tell people about coaching, they are amazed that the coaching is conducted over the phone. Geraldine has amazingly perceptive honing skills, picking up every word you say. No stone is left unturned, and she will shine a spotlight on something that you might say as a throw away sentence. She will help you analyse blockages in your life and help you move through them. Sometimes you feel like she can see right into you, without being invasive. I believe this is a great quality in not just a coach, but any human being! I kept thinking, “This is the right coach for me”. Another plus factor is that Geraldine is a previous information professional, so she understands exactly where I’m coming from. She can not only walk the walk, but she can talk the talk! She knows what issues we are facing in the workplace and also can see the future of our profession.
I recommend with coaching, that you push the boundaries, try new things, bounce them off Geraldine, analyse them, write them down and get things happening! Don’t rest on your laurels, but push your own boundaries to become a more effective information professional. Take all that coaching offers and more, as this program is for you, and you alone. You will not get an opportunity anywhere else to focus on yourself with so much dedicated time and your very own coach. With coaching, you will see your life transform in front of your eyes! And you will not be disappointed! “ Jill Stephens, Library & Intranet Manager, Melbourne, 2007.

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