I recently attended the ICRW’s International Women’s Day event at the National Press Club. There was a sold out crowd sipping wine and noshing while talking about the really interesting things attendees were doing to support women’s issues. I met several really smart, devoted and funny people (shout out to you Nancy W. and Patricia D.!) who use events like this to network and be inspired because they are slowly changing the world. I attended because I knew I would meet people outside my normal networking circles and I wanted a window into the non-profit space.
Women Pay it Forward
I was impressed to learn that the gentleman sitting next to me was in town on business. He chose to spend his evening in D.C. (and his own money) at this event because he thinks about equality with Mercer. Admirable. I’m not sure I’d spend my time in a new city at a business event but bully for him.
Much of the discussion seemed esoteric until former First Lady of England spoke. Cherie Blair said that one of her biggest frustrations while her husband was in office was that governments are compartmentalized and lose a lot of economies when information sharing doesn’t happen. Programs move forward when they can build on each other as opposed to being redundant. Silos also stifle learning. Despite all the admirable work being done by each of the people on the panel, my mind wrapped around Mrs. Blair’s comments. Information sharing can be propelled with the appropriate digital media marketing programs.
Now how to apply this idea to governments.
If only there was a way to leverage the learnings from multiple agencies. I know many people have tried to tackle this but it almost sounds like it should be one agency’s job to organize and disseminate information. An agency in charge of cross-pollination. This agency would need to employ a combination of sophisticated software that allows thorough searchability, and a strategic plan that considers how information would be accessed by authorized users. The key is to create a framework that allows information to be excerpted, subscribed and shared so that further learning and cross-pollination can be facilitated. Considerations would be information architecture, tagging, permissions and the rules around sharing and dissemination of information. A project such as this would only be successful it it could be dynamic and expandable. Facinating!
I realize government programs such as this are not typical (thus Mrs. Blair’s frustrations) but . . . I can dream. And I do live in Washington, D.C. Hmmmmm . . .
More on this later.
As a Digital Media person, it’s high time that I started a blog of my own. I’ve done a lot of writing but always on behalf of someone else. Now it’s my turn to share some of my own thoughts with ‘yall. I intend to use this space as a place to share opinions, make observations and keep track of what I’m finding interesting.
But first some context . . .
I’m a mother of three children in the Fairfax County public school system. It’s a great school system and I’m a HUGE fan of the language immersion program. Having grown up in a town-based school system, the model in Fairfax County took some getting used to. I’ve learned to appreciate the breadth of opportunities available to my kids because of the County’s size and diversity. (I like to be involved in my kids’ education so you’ll hear me talking about this).
I’ve been working in digital media since the mid 90’s getting my start with a marketing communications firm that was bought by AOL in 1995. My ten years at AOL was an amazing professional experience that I don’t believe could ever be replicated. I was able to be a part of AOL’s Green House project that brought companies like Motley Fool online. I was also able to be a part of a fledgling start-up organization within AOL called Digital City. I now know how unusual it is to be part of a well-funded start-up in an industry that was in its infancy. We were establishing a business model, getting our arms around user behavior and experimenting with how online content was different from other media. We Digital City folks like to think we taught AOL a thing or two about the importance of user-generated content;-). Consequently, several DCI folks were interested in migrating to AOL’s Community group. As we mined AOL’s forums to capture public sentiment, we found new ways to package this content up for AOL’s “Channels”. (We did some groundbreaking stuff and I’ll be taking note of companies who continue to do this particularly well).
My consulting business and start-up experience lead me to become more intimately involved with the non-profit mindset and resources. I’m told I’m a bleeding heart always looking for my next cause and I guess that’s true. (You’ll hear me expressing opinions about social issues that bug me).
Finally, my extracurricular interests usually revolve around my kids. My son is into Scouting and music. This has led me to an appreciation for the amount of work that goes into becoming proficient in either. One daughter rides horses competitively as a hunter jumper. I have come to adore horses but the horse world is full of interesting but CRAZY people. They are loads of fun to hang around though;-). My youngest daughter is just finding her thing but right now it’s gymnastics. (You’ll see me talking about the life lessons I’m learning from my kids.)
Welcome to the realm of a working online Mom!