myMETRO Member Spotlight: Madalyn Baron

This month, we spotlight myMETRO member Madalyn Baron, Strategic Intelligence Analyst at Center for Marketing Intelligence. Madalyn is one of the core members of our Social Media Special Interest Group, and we look forward to continuing the great conversations we've had around building an online community around knowledge exchange.


20140721_myMETRO-Baron.jpgMadalyn Baron has a B.A. in Anthropology and Art History from SUNY Potsdam. In 2011, she moved to New York from the Capital Region to pursue an MLIS at Pratt institute, which she earned in May of 2013 with an advanced certificate in Archives. Madalyn now serves as a Strategic Intelligence Analyst at the Center for Marketing Intelligence, where she conducts research and heads the social media team. CMI is the information center for Interpublic Group, one of the big four advertising holding companies.

Prior to working in the information sphere professionally, her interests and experience were mainly in the cultural realm. She attended archaeology field school at James Madison’s Montpelier and participated in Pratt’s summer program on cultural heritage conservation in Florence, Italy. She maintains a strong personal interest in cultural materials, especially maps.

When did you first join myMETRO?

I joined officially in January 2013, but I attended several programs in conjunction with Pratt SILS beforehand.

Describe your work experience prior to joining the profession. What has been your most rewarding experience as a professional so far?

My very first job was working as a page in my hometown public library, and I worked as an assistant in my college archives as well. In the years leading up to my graduate studies, I worked in automotive office administration and banking customer service.

It’s difficult to pick a single most rewarding experience. What sticks out in my mind is the overall experience with my current employer. When I began library school, my goals were few and simple. I wanted to learn as much as possible and find a job in an industry that allowed me to sleep at night and could occasionally make me smile. I did not expect to find a fascinating niche that would allow me to the use the skills I have gained in all of my previous academic and professional experiences. I found a place that inspires me to to get involved in more professional activities, continue learning, and consistently strive for improvement.

The every-day work keeps me engaged. I find the information requests to be more in-depth than your average reference question. I really enjoy digging deep into the information myself to provide insight, rather than just handing someone the material. The concept that our users are invested in the information motivates me. I’m a problem-solver at heart, so the work keeps me driven.

Working alongside people I deeply respect in a knowledge sharing community has been very rewarding. Contributing to my company has felt like years of hard work and personal exploration coming full-circle. It’s nice to give back to a field that has taught me so much.

What drew you to your particular line of work?

Curiosity! That is what led me to libraries as a professional option, and to my current line of work.

I began my MLIS focusing on cultural institutions and archives, but was open to other areas of information work. I was attracted to an internship with CMI because I didn’t know much about business libraries at the time and felt my professional background might make it a good fit. I witnessed firsthand how a corporate information center can serve as an integral part of a company, especially with today’s business issues in our environment of information overload. I admired how our center was proactive about improvement, and constantly evolved services to fit the needs of the parent company. This made me want to become a positive advocate for our corner of the field.

Tell us a little about the projects that capture your interests these days (either for yourself or an organization).

Exploring and experimenting with social media outreach for my organization has been an interesting project for me as of late. I have been developing best-practices for our niche situation. We provide information that is often proprietary to a global and competing user-base, whom we serve virtually. We have to be particularly careful using a public forum to promote our services. Our platforms need to effectively market and reflect the value of our services, without compromising the nature of our work. There is a great deal of churn within our parent company’s industry; so it is especially important that we have a strong presence on platforms where our users operate, and that we are proactive with our outreach efforts.

I want to continue improving our use of social media as a means of connecting with potential users in more productive and appealing ways. We are looking at ways to enhance direct engagement with our information center, as our users are largely unable to engage with each other. We are also experimenting with ways that social media can be used to exude our friendly, helpful qualities, while providing additional access to our content. Considering the quickly changing landscape and variety of social media subcultures, this task has been particularly interesting to me. This is a new, more complex spin on something I’ve always done - reminding others “Hey, the library might be able to help you solve that problem!”

What are your favorite ways to stay on top of industry trends?

I have a hodgepodge of tactics for staying on top of trends. Day-to-day I take a look at Twitter, LinkedIn, newsletters and feeds. I particularly like LinkedIn groups. Their email notifications are usually how I am alerted of hot topics and the release of professional publications, and I love seeing the discussion from different perspectives. I also keep an eye on the educational webinars and programs available. Even if they are not directly relevant to my work, I try to stay abreast of the competencies that pop up.

What do you find most valuable about your myMETRO membership?

The practical workshops and classes. METRO was there when I wanted a professional, unbiased review of my resume. Through METRO I have connected with fellow professionals, special interest groups and informational sessions that have provided insight that is applicable on the job. The organization has become a rich resource for problem-solving and instructional information pertaining to my day-to-day work.


Are you a myMETRO member who would like to be interviewed in this space? Be in touch with Tom Nielsen at tnielsen [at] metro [dot] org.