What drew you to Professional Development Studies at Rutgers SC&I and the Digital Asset Management (DAM) certificate program?
The instructors are what really drew me to the DAM certificate program at SC&I. I live in California and have worked as a digital asset manager in the entertainment industry for 15 years. I wanted to refresh my skills in a way that wouldn’t interrupt my life and responsibilities. The DAM instructors are pillars of our profession, leaders I have followed and admired from afar throughout my career. They imparted the knowledge that working professionals crave and did so in a way that made the coursework enjoyable, innovative, and fulfilling. They were incredibly accessible and it was wonderful to join with colleagues in a well-structured and concise online platform where we were able to interact and learn from each other.
COVID-19 created both challenges and opportunities for 2020 DAM students. How has it affected you?
Unfortunately, I was not working while completing the program. This year’s COVID-19 shutdown happened just as I began the program, and it really affected the entertainment industry quite significantly. This made my work as an independent (contractor) digital asset manager extra challenging. Having my studies to work on during the past few months of Los Angeles’s mandatory quarantine was a blessing in disguise. I was able to dedicate more time to studying than I would have if I was working and this allowed me to concentrate on more creative solutions. All this was happening while our industries were transforming in real-time! My classmates and I had the great opportunity to think about applying our new learnings with a different and more refined “out of the box” thought process and approach to the challenges our professions present to us. This is not only necessary to do now but is truly required for our future work. Digital Asset Management has always been an ever-evolving field, and it is now even more transformed. This program has helped to change my perspective and career goals in ways I never could have imagined.
What skills and insights did you take away from the program?
There are numerous new skills and "take aways” from this program and I couldn’t be more grateful to each one of my instructors: David Lipsey, Yonah Levenson, Lauren Espiritu-Philson, and Thomas Stilling. They made these new learnings super fun to discover together and I couldn’t have completed the program successfully without their sincere advice. They paid significant attention to each member of the cohort and our future career steps. Here are some insights I learned through the program, and I find them applicable to both work and life:
- Communication is key.
- Make a plan (preferably phased). It will change; keep planning.
- Document everything—an asset is not an asset without rights baked in.
- You can never have too much metadata (but keep it simple).
- Monitor everything, especially the data+analytics+ROIs+KPIs.
- Research and identify all your data and assets (including silos).
- Ask all the questions: who, what, where, when, why, how, what’s missing, what are the risks, and then repeat again and again.
- Remember to listen to users (all of them).
- Find your key team stakeholders and your DAM champions.
- Plan for long-term support (including IT, finance, legal/business affairs, and vendor), training, and resources.
- Gather up a team of ‘best friends’ that will help you create a governance (CoE) team to assist in gathering and approving identified long-term goals, expectations, and procedures. (Remember, this is not a finite project.)
- Always remain flexible as everything will change and be re-evaluated. Don’t re-invent and especially keep in mind to always communicate delicately that nothing about DAM is a “one and done” for anyone ever.
- When identifying your DAM goals, use the S.M.A.R.T. acronym as a guideline: (employ Specific objectives, Measurable outcome, Attainable goals, Relevant current needs and future vision, and Time-bound and deadline-driven outcomes).
How are you applying what you learned in the program?
I determine how I can truly make the most difference. How can I be an agent/representative of change? How can I streamline processes quickly and efficiently without major disruptions to an already established ecosystem? How can I do it in a way that can benefit all team players (including me and my team) and ultimately the business? How can I use the changes for the greater good of elevating the DAM system? Last but not least, help to illustrate how digital asset managers are essential key players for any and all businesses in any industry, and as such, should be required and provided with permanent roles and job opportunities.
What advice can you share for anyone at any level in their career who may be considering taking the DAM certification program?
I would advise anyone who is considering the DAM certificate program to allow yourself to enter a space of seeing concepts from different perspectives. There’s not always one approach or solution; there can be many. Give your studies as much time, attention, and exploration as you can. The more time you can dedicate and invest in the program, the more rewarding it will be for yourself and your future employers. Lastly, don’t hesitate in making the decision to begin—just start the program, you will be happy you did!