What is your current role in the workplace?
Currently, I am a Clinical Evidence-Based Information Specialist - our team is called CEBIS. The team is part of the larger library team at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, in the Midlands UK. I've been in-role for less than 6 months and it's been a very steep learning curve. Some of my work contributes to evidence-based practice to help doctors/clinicians in their work, as well as some more standard corporate requests. Knowing that the work I do indirectly helps people in a tangible way is what gets me out of bed in the morning (aside from the potential of dogs being at the gym).
Why did you become an info pro?
It actually happened purely by accident. I studied politics as an undergrad, and my first Masters was in Linguistics. These two factors, coupled with experience of teaching English abroad (South Korea and Azerbaijan) meant that I was over-qualified and under-qualified all at the same time. It was by chance that, when I was interning with a charity while living in Reading, an assistant librarian job came up at the Microsoft UK HQ - down the road from me. I had an interview and two days later I had the job. Turns out that I was pretty good at building relationships, developing skills around collection building and fulfilling needs. With one thing and another, I decided to pursue a career as a librarian. Now, I primarily do research and very little 'front-line' library work.
Tell us a little about your history with LMD and why you took a role on the Board.
The LMD has been my SLA home since 2014. Whether it's the like-minded people or its goals to educate and develop librarians and information professionals across the world, I knew that it was the right fit for me. I was the recipient of LMD's 'Career Advancement Award' in 2015 and then I chaired the Professional Development Committee in 2017. I had to take some time out as, due to work travel, it wasn't feasible for me to be an active member. However, this year 2018/19, I've come back to the profession, which has given me a renewed sense of purpose. When I saw the open Awards Chair position, I knew it was my chance to give something back to Division which has given me so much. Being a part of the LMD broadened my horizons and showed me how diverse the profession is and the potential for us to grow.
What's a key professional or organizational challenge that you hope to address in 2019?
A key challenge for myself is to look at diversity - I think that our profession suffers greatly from not properly representing the communities we work in. There are many reasons for this, but I want to focus on the future and building partnerships with different divisions to put the building blocks in place for a more inclusive field. This also ties in with my personal objective of developing my own leadership skills. These seem like basic things but I reckon that they're enough to be going along with.
Do you have any plans or initiatives for LMD in 2019 you'd like to tell us about?
Working with other divisions more! LMD has so much offer - please get in touch if anything I've written here resonates with you and let's see what we can create.
And, finally, what's a little-known fact about you?
I'm an open book for anyone who follows me on Instagram (natashaschowdory), Twitter (@Infopro_Tasha) or reads my blog. My partner and I were on Couples Come Dine with Me (in the UK) if you fancied seeing what I look/sound like in real life. I was also on a podcast and I'm currently a Body Positive Ambassador for 'Be Real' in the UK.
The Netflix show "Black Mirror" scares me because it's too real and I still watch cartoons on a Saturday morning.