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You may have noticed that our new website is branded with the tagline “Empowering information seekers to discover, grow and thrive.” This is something that ProQuest believes in strongly and the drive to provide valued information not only applies to our customers, but also extends to our employees.
Rich Belanger, Chief Information Officer at ProQuest, recently organized a professional development day for his Technology and Content Operations Department. The idea to host Development Day came about in response to feedback from employees who expressed that they sometimes found it challenging to find the time to learn about different parts of the company and also, where they could go to continue to develop and learn new skills.
“We came up with the idea of having four focused learning and development days, where we could cancel standing meetings so people could focus on their professional development. The idea grew from there to include sessions offered by employees,” shared Rich.
Paula McCoy, Managing Editor, Science & Taxonomy, expressed her support for Development Day when it was announced and Rich responded by urging Paula to use that enthusiasm to host a presentation on her expertise of taxonomy. Paula certainly has some experience speaking as she presented, Taxonomy: The Power Behind the Search, at the SLA Conference last year. Still she confided, “I was a bit intimidated by the audience since they are my peers and of course I wanted to make a good impression!”
Paula presented from our Louisville location where employees participated in the sessions remotely. The event occurred simultaneously at several of our office locations, requiring the coordination and cooperation of technology in order to broadcast the presentations live via teleconference across several time zones.
The sessions offered ranged from our own CEO Kurt Sanford sharing his personal knowledge and experience by hosting a leadership seminar [photo at top]; “The World of Content and 2014,” presented by Neil MacCormick, Vice President of Content Systems and Operations, was another audience favorite; and the “PQ Workflow Solutions Content Wonderland” provided a nice overview of the workflow side of the business. The only agenda of the day was to provide employees with opportunities to gain awareness by participating in the sessions that they found interesting.
One of the sessions that Yshmael Baliat, Electronic Content Editor III, attended was the Big Data presentation, where he learned of opportunities to enroll in courses in order to advance his knowledge and training on the Amazon Cloud Computing service. Tom Nanzig, Special Collections Editor, also attended several of the presentations and while he found them interesting, he enjoyed his time developing his personal skills on the new system Lynda.com offered to employees to help develop their computer and professional skills. “I participated in several of seminars offered on Lynda and found them executed so well that I was able to put the skills that I learned to use that same day.”
All of the employees in the Content Operations and Technology group were encouraged to sign up for as many sessions as they wanted on Development Day, and to also take advantage of any down time to enroll in whichever courses or materials appealed to them on Lynda.com.
The feedback from the employees is that the event was well received and considered quite a success. Plans are already in place for a professional development day to be held for the team on a quarterly basis in order to keep our employees informed so that we can best support our customers.