Veronica Kennard, recently retired information professional and previously a Director at the investment bank Rothschild, kindly takes some time to tell us her views on the profession and the benefits of being a SLA Europe member.
Can you tell us a bit about your background? How did you first become involved in the information profession?
I studied Economic History and Politics at Birmingham University and was lucky enough to get a job after I graduated at the International Institute for Strategic Studies as the Press Librarian – which meant spending my day cutting and pasting newspaper articles. Whilst at the IISS I decided to study for a part-time diploma in Information Science. At City University I developed an interest in business information and moved to the London Business School as the Corporate Librarian after 3 years at the IISS. My first day at LBS was very scary as I realised my knowledge of sources for company information was almost nil.
You worked in the finance sector at Rothschild for over 22 years – what sorts of roles did you have while you were there, and how did you keep yourself professionally motivated?
My main role was as the Manager of the Library, which changed its name to the London Information Centre and in 2013 to London Research. I transformed an old-fashioned library in the basement to an electronic business information research facility for the Bank and its worldwide operations. I took over the role of market data manager for the group and spent the majority of my time negotiating contracts for the information services we bought. I also developed a volunteer programme at Rothschild which became Rothschild in the Community and had about 50% of the staff actively involved in volunteering locally.
I was involved with SLA Europe and attended meetings and tried to keep up-to-date with trends in the profession.
I have strong concerns about the future of the profession now, especially those working for financial service firms, and am not sure I would advise someone to join the profession. If they are already in the profession my advice would be to be always visible and to try to develop a secondary role in the organization.
What excites you most about the profession today?
The way in which core information skills can be used in many different roles.
What do you enjoy about being an active member of SLA Europe?
SLA Europe provided me with friends, colleagues and a sharing environment.
What are your plans and predictions for 2014?
To enjoy my retirement. It’s great having more time to choose what to do. I am also continuing to work part-time for a charity using my research skills as well as spending some time each week volunteering in East London. I intend to stay a member of SLA Europe.