Today I had the privilege of speaking with a group of University of Kentucky School of Library and Information Science students.  The purpose of the discussion was to share information about my career path and talk about the importance of professional organization involvement.

As a general rule, I don’t like talking about myself. Today worked well because I was able to share my professional path and experiences with the students in the context of helping them find their own way to a fulfilling career.

We talked about the skills and activities that I have found most useful and important in the building of my business.  The discussion ranged from understanding databases and how to use them effectively to remaining active in local and international professional organizations.

What I enjoyed the most was relating to the students the value of the network.  I was asked by one of the professors if I found the geographic diversity within my past job experience to be important in terms of the networking.  And I must say, that having a broad geographic network is just as important as my local ones.  And I do have multiple networks.

It was interesting to hear the students relay their own interest in consulting, special libraries and special skills.  There was even one of those invaluable librarians who was interested in cataloging.  The special skills ranged from information technology to knowledge management.

It is not very often that I take the time to reflect on my opportunities and accomplishments and today’s discussion provided me with that rare happening.  I must say the last two years have been the most challenging and rewarding times of my professional life.  I enjoy the variety of work that I do as an information consultant.

When my clients and potential clients and I talk about what their goals are, I immediately begin seeking the right solution for their needs.  Information needs for companies present a myriad of challenges.  Understanding the company’s culture, resources and finding a way to meet their information goals within that context makes for a satisfied customer.  The ultimate solution requires a full understanding of the possibilities and the challenges.

Constance Ard