Q & A with ARMA Chicago Chapter President, Lauren Doerries, Senior Manager for Global Information Governance at Walgreens Boots Alliance
Question: Records Mangers can come from anywhere - where did you come from?
Lauren: I majored in business as an undergrad. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do so I did a lot of things - worked as a flight attendant, a makeup artist and an EMT. I just kept trying until I found something I liked! That was my approach to career development.
How did you wind up in RIM/IG?
I moved to Chicago in 2007 and got my paralegal certificate and started out as a litigation paralegal. Then I went to United Airlines where I worked for 7 years and established the RIM program, then worked at Morgan Lewis & Blockius as firmwide IG Manager for a few years before taking my current position at Walgreens.
I know people sometimes don’t know what to call what it is that we do – I consider myself a Records Manager AND an Information Governance manager. At Walgreens, I’m part of Legal Operations, and at United, I was in the Litigation department. The Records Management function can sit anywhere, but I’ve found that being in a role associated with Legal is the most helpful place to be.
Has ARMA helped your career?
Definitely! Especially early on, the educational aspect was critical. When I was starting out, there just wasn’t the material available online and remotely that there is now. Beyond that, the professional connections and networking – ARMA helps connect us with people in the same field as well as different industries. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve had employers who support professional development, like going to conferences as well as speaking at them.
What is it like, being Chapter President in the time of Covid?
It’s been a crazy year. But I’m really fortunate to have so many people on the board that pitch in and help – things like sourcing speakers, and just generally keeping things on track. It’s been a more casual year – everything is less formal. We haven’t been able to have our official, in-person swearing in ceremony yet, for example. It’s definitely a challenge – we are all more flexible, but it’s been a good opportunity to make some changes, like reviewing and updating our chapter bylaws and retention schedule.
Attendance has increased substantially with our virtual chapter meetings. With our in-person meetings in the last few years, average attendance was 20-25 people, now we get close to double that, and a large variety of attendees, many from within the Chicago area that were not able to attend many live meetings before. I hope we can keep up that attendance. We are trying to engage people as much as possible with our programs.
What is your vision for the chapter?
When I was VP, Kelly Minta, the chapter president at the time, and I started talking about our vision, and the education we’d like to provide our members. Sometimes seminars and conferences give you information at a high level and speak really vaguely. With our chapter programs we are trying to focus more on specifics – how to solve an actual problem - what actionable advice can people take away that same day and put into practice.
We want to listen to our members, and we are constantly re-evaluating. We’ll keep in touch with our members through informal conversations and we plan to do at least one survey. At our last meeting of the year in June, we'll re-assess what the next ARMA year might look like for 2021/2022.
What would you say to people about serving on the ARMA board?
It’s great for education and networking, and especially for the newer generation that’s taking on more technology-focused IG roles, there is a real opportunity to have an impact through Board work. You can help shape the future of Information Governance
Our chapter continues to support SitStayRead, whose mission is to advance children’s literacy skills in Chicago Public Schools, using an engaging curriculum, certified dogs, and dedicated volunteers. You may be wondering, but how does that work when the dogs can’t actually sit and stay with the kids in real life?
We recently heard from our community partners at SitStayRead on their contribution to remote learning in the time of the pandemic:
SitStayRead has been working diligently to develop a Remote Learning Curriculum filled with fun reading, creative writing, safe virtual visits, and cute pups!
One of the options included in our Remote Learning Curriculum is SitStayRead+. This special part of our program allows for real-time virtual visits with SitStayRead. This means students get to see dogs and our volunteers! They get to watch a live read-aloud, ask questions, and most importantly, they can have a unique experience with dogs that is reimagined from our in-classroom curriculum! We have been successfully connecting with a remote learning classroom full of students from our partner school Carver Elementary, and we look forward to more SitStayRead+ visits in the new year.
Without you, our volunteers and donors, our dog-infused Remote Learning Curriculum and SitStayRead+ programming would only be a dream to our 16 Chicago Public School partners.
Thank you for bringing the magic of SitStayRead to thousands of kids in 2020! Let's bring SitStayRead to more children in 2021 together.
Inside the Boardroom
(Above - ARMA members volunteering at Ronald McDonald house at Lurie Children's hospital, 2016)
As ARMA members, we serve our employers and help each other grow professionally, even as we are all part of the complex network of our lives – family, friends, neighborhood, city, and beyond. I spoke recently with some ARMA members who shared their thoughts on giving during this strange time.
“The pandemic has made face-to-face volunteering next to impossible. However, I do make a point when I shop in person to purchase things that I plan on donating to food pantries. There is nothing wrong with online giving, I do that too, but just physically doing something seems to add to the effort.” said Joe Suster.” I’ve seen people lining up for food at the local foodbank in my neighborhood. That made the chapter’s selection of the Greater Chicago Food Depository as December’s charity a great choice. “ Another member also discussed the importance of giving through food pantries, no matter where you are: “I have a neighbor who would never visit the food pantry so some other neighbors go for them and deliver.”
Some members mentioned the organizations that they have supported and continue to support, such as the American Cancer Society, as cancer is still an important disease to fight. Others who can, give blood regularly, because there is a shortage and it's difficult for some people to get out and donate.
Cheryl Strom reminded us that Ronald McDonald House, which this chapter worked with for several year, could use some support: “I’d like to highlight that RMCH is definitely in need of contributions, particularly since there are restrictions for volunteers who can’t go into the Houses and offer cooking and other services during the Pandemic. The Ronald McDonald Houses provide a warm and safe place for families to stay near their hospitalized child. Donations to RMHC can help provide food and lodging for families in need and this is another way we can give back to our community."
Even in these times there is a message of thankfulness on the part of ARMA members - for family and friends who have recovered from Covid, for healthcare professionals working hard to keep us well, for effective vaccines, and appreciation of support from family, friends and colleagues.
Feeling grateful? Click here: