Lynette Conlon is a digital project officer for Tourism Northern Ireland, a non-departmental public body for the Department of the Economy responsible for tourism development in Northern Ireland, supporting the industry to market Northern Ireland as a unique holiday destination. Up until recently, Conlon tri-managed a joint tourism agency collaboration DAM project, the first of its kind in all of Irish tourism. This project was so successful that she and the team received a very prestigious award in Media Asset Management hosted by Fotoware in 2022 in recognition of their efforts for innovation, collaboration, and transparency.
To boost her DAM and project management skills, Conlon turned to the Digital Asset Management (DAM) Bronze Certificate program offered through Rutgers School of Communication and Information’s Continuing and Professional Studies (CPS). In this interview with SC&I, she shares the details of her global journey with us.
SC&I: What drew you to the DAM Bronze Certificate program?
LC: There were several reasons to take this program: students engage and take the course remotely and speak with DAM cohorts from around the world, plus it was the only available online course to me that promoted DAM real-life scenarios that would potentially prove to have a significant positive impact in my role as a DAM manager.
SC&I: What was your experience with the program?
LC: I completed the DAM Bronze Certificate program over 12 months. I hold this Rutgers program in high regard—not only was it flexible, allowing me to fit it around my busy work schedule, it was also the only part-time professional course in all my academic life that provided hands-on theoretical and practical experience for both DAM newbies, experts, and anyone wanting to learn something new about DAM!
SC&I: How does Digital Asset Management apply to your work?
LC: DAM can be applied to many walks of life and many systems. The skills I learned are greatly transferable and have led me to my current career path. From working as a DAM manager and gaining this qualification, I have secured a new managerial role as a Digital Project Officer with Tourism NI.
The experience that I have gained in implementing a DAM system has enabled me to progress further by applying the project management skills I have learned both in DAM and the course to transfer similar best practices in managing other digital systems. These include involving the coalition of the willing, having open communications with users, and involving senior executives to achieve buy-in with a system. It’s all very relative and most of all I developed my own HOT phrase (which my DAM course cohorts loved!)—H for Honesty, O for Openness, and T for Transparency. I also learned a great deal about general data protection regulation (GDPR) and have been able to educate my cohorts and colleagues and transfer this to other experiences both personal and work-related.
SC&I: What are your favorite takeaways from the Rutgers DAM Certificate program?
LC: The instructors provided so much positive feedback around the experience and were always constructive yet motivational. I cannot express my heartfelt thanks enough to Rutgers for helping me gain so much confidence in an area I never thought I could understand, let alone speak about. I also have gained some wonderful opportunities to expand and transfer my knowledge to others in many ways.
SC&I: What are some of the DAM opportunities you have experienced?
LC: Having completed the DAM Certificate program opened many DAM opportunities. When I began work as a DAM manager in 2018, I encountered Henry Stewart Events via LinkedIn and was inspired by David Lipsey, SC&I’s co-founder and co-academic director for DAM Certificate Programs and a global leader in the field since its beginning. This was the moment that I realized Digital Asset Management would play a significant role in my career.
I attended Henry Stewart Events conferences where I became a public speaker for the first time. I was introduced to Associate Professor of Graphic Communications Management Reem El Asaleh, founder and director of the Lab of Excellence (LED) in DAM at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU). I became a mentor with TMU’s DAM mentorship program and was able to share my DAM learnings and experiences with the next generation of students, providing hands-on guidance and judging the students’ final presentation. I am currently teaming up with experts to host an interactive workshop for the students at TMU focusing on DAM in Tourism. This workshop will be part of the professional development activities of the Lab of Excellence in DAM (LED) and it will be open to both students and other DAM professionals interested in learning.
It gives me a great sense of achievement to know that my skills and experience are nurturing others and helping shape their future DAM careers. I could not have availed myself of these opportunities had I not become a Rutgers DAM Certificate graduate.
Photo: Courtesy of Lynette Conlon