Saturday, March 14, 2009

Professional Profile: Juanita Richardson - Richardson Jalakas & Associates, CEDROM SNi

I met with Juanita to discuss her more than twenty year career as an information professional in both financial services institution information centres and as an independent consultant primarily responsible for sales and business development for an online vendor. CEDROM-SNi is headquartered in Montreal with offices in Toronto, Halifax, Ottawa and Paris. CEDROM-SNi collects information from newspapers, trade publications, databases, newswires and radio and TV transcripts. Subscription to their website allows an organization to easily monitor the news, search the extensive archives, distribute information to user groups and post articles to the Internet or an intranet.

Question: Describe your job.

Juanita is the founder and managing principal of Richardson Jalakas & Associates, an information strategy consultant firm. She is also a Business Development Consultant for CEDROM-SNi in Toronto. Juanita has worked with CEDROM-SNi for seven years. Initially, she was responsible for negotiating licenses with publishers and broadcasters. Today, her emphasis is on developing and maintaining client relationships in order to develop new business in the Toronto market as well as ensure current clients are satisfied with the product. Many of her clients are corporate librarians. Juanita estimates that she spends approximately 70% of her time maintaining current clients and 30% of her time on business development.

Question: Describe your first job in libraries and subsequent career path.

Juanita has held a number of interesting positions over the course of her twenty year career as a librarian. She started her career as a Research Librarian in the ScotiaMcLeod information centre in Toronto in 1987. She supported her clients need for information about various public companies and business sectors at ScotiaMcLeod for two years. Juanita’s second permanent position was for one year in the research library at CIBC Wood Gundy. Juanita capitalized on her experience at Scotia and CIBC to manage the information centre at Deloitte & Touche for six years.

Following ten years working in financial services information centres, Juanita was compelled to move away from serving internal clients to contributing more directly to a corporation’s bottom line by dealing with external clients. Juanita worked as the Manager of Licensing and Project Strategy at Infomart Dialog for two years. Juanita started her own information consulting company in 1998 with a focus on information auditing, knowledge management consulting and vendor marketing development and licensing. In 2002, CEDROM-SNi became Juanita’s primary client.

Question: Describe your educational background.

Juanita has a B.A. from the University of Ottawa in Modern Languages and an MLIS from McGill University. Developing a proficiency in French while at the University of Ottawa and completing her library degree at McGill has been extremely helpful in her career at CEDROM-SNi. Following ten years of experience in corporate libraries and two years employed on the vendor side of the business, Juanita made the decision to start her executive MBA at Athabasca University. Completing an executive MBA built on the foundations she had established in information centres.

Question: What advice do you have for new information professionals?

Juanita provided a passionate perspective on the information profession today. She has really enjoyed her career as a librarian and feels that students graduating from information programs today have a very marketable set of skills. She emphasizes that students need to think of the term “librarian” in the broadest sense and not confine themselves to the “four walls of the library”. It is important that information professionals have a sense of what skills and value they bring to the company. She concedes that it is frequently difficult for the information professional to quantify their contribution to a corporation. Juanita emphasizes that new graduates need to be flexible and open-minded in order to be successful and that many exciting opportunities exist outside of the traditional library building.

For further information about CEDROM-SNi, please refer to the company website at Juanita encourages interested students to stop by the CEDROM-SNi booth at the CLA Conference or contact her directly via email at juanita DOT richardson AT cedrom-sni DOT com.

Interview by Alice Desrocher