Category: Giving Back

Finding Genuine Talent in the Artificial World – An Interview with Erick Swaine of Mackenzie Ryan Executive Search

Finding Genuine Talent in the Artificial World – An Interview with Erick Swaine of Mackenzie Ryan Executive Search

Thirteenth in a series of in-depth interviews with innovators and leaders in the fields of Risk, Compliance and Information Governance across the globe. From the soon to be released book, “Tomorrow’s Jobs Today.”


Erick Swaine is a practice director for Mackenzie Ryan, a global talent recruiting firm. He specializes in Information Governance, AI and Analytics. He has placed thousands of job candidates across a wide spectrum of industries into mid-level to executive leadership positions and speaks frequently on their journeys and the mechanics of professional development. He received his Bachelor’s in Marketing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I spoke with him in July about today’s recruitment process, outsourcing strategies and the nuances of succession planning in the information age.


Erick, you were an early pioneer in helping employers understand the value and talent that information governance, AI, and analytics professionals offered when these disciplines were in their infancy. How has the demand for these emerging fields transformed recruiting in the job market?

There’s a lot to unpack there as it relates to tech itself, the demand for these emerging fields and how that has transformed over the years. I come from the industry myself. Prior to my current role I sold analytics software with built in compliance and document management capabilities. Our firm recognized value in analytics and was looking to build a technology practice. Mackenzie Ryan, which split off from Personify last year (both held under Mackenzie Ryan Holdings) didn’t have it when I came abroad so they went to their private equity VC partners and asked them, “Where are you investing as it relates to technology?” There was a resounding theme around electronically stored information. This was about a dozen years ago. At that point not everyone had a content management system. The players were SharePoint, OpenText, and OnBase and companies like Stellent, which was later picked up by Oracle, and Filenet, which was picked up by IBM. But they hadn’t penetrated all the markets. Early on the investment was in Content Management and overall repositories. It was really a soup-to-nuts storage of data, you know, manipulating workflows for all components of information management.

Overall, the human capital demand is there because of the efficiency that you can create by understanding your data. The newfound efficiency is driving advanced analytics and AI over the last five to six years, with massive amounts of investments around how we make decisions around these resources. This strategy requires the right talent.

As companies started to evolve, and you had social media come into play, around the same time, there were massive amounts of electronically stored data being created. Although storage kept getting cheaper and cheaper, there was a lot of regulation coming out requiring governance of data. Many of them looked at the discipline of Information Governance as a cost only, and then hopped over into advanced analytics. Over the last three or four years, they have moved more into Artificial Intelligence.

Yet, it’s all about making sense of the data that we’re already storing, and probably not defensibly disposing of. What the new technology has done for both large and small employers is really allow these companies to make data-driven decisions, and they drive those decisions based on a lot of historical legacy data. We noticed there are several companies that either used advanced analytics platforms or AI for internal knowledge management (to enhance institutional knowledge and train their people better), or they began aggregating and analyzing the data in order to develop additional revenue streams externally.

Overall, the human capital demand is there because of the efficiency that you can create by understanding your data, and that has driven, especially in advanced analytics and AI over the last five to six years, massive amounts of investments around how we drive decisions around these resources. Continue reading “Finding Genuine Talent in the Artificial World – An Interview with Erick Swaine of Mackenzie Ryan Executive Search”

Harnessing Analytical Insights and Illuminating the Physical Realm of Dark Data – An Interview with Markus Lindelow of Iron Mountain

Harnessing Analytical Insights and Illuminating the Physical Realm of Dark Data – An Interview with Markus Lindelow of Iron Mountain

Eighth in a series of in-depth interviews with innovators and leaders in the fields of Risk, Compliance and Information Governance across the globe.


Markus Lindelow leads the IG and Content Classification Practice Group at Iron Mountain, the world’s largest information management company, where he’s been pioneering breakthrough analytic techniques for over a decade. He holds a Master of Science degree in Computer Information Systems from Saint Edwards University and consults across a broad set of industries. I interviewed him in November to discuss his thoughts on the evolution of metadata, content classification, AI, and how organizations are using the new pillars of data science to break down their silos, help customers get lean and discover the hidden value in their big data sets.


Markus, you work with all kinds of companies to help them better understand and address the often incomplete metadata tied to some of their most valuable information assets in the form of historical paper records and materials retained over decades. In many cases, institutional memory has been completely lost and they’re struggling to figure out whether to dispose of these business records, balancing costs of over retention with risks of untimely destruction. How does your team leverage diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive analytics to make sense of what little data they might have to make informed decisions?

Our content classification process focuses on making the best use of the available metadata. This means classifying records with meaningful metadata as well as analyzing the classified inventory in order to create classification rules for records with little or no metadata. We have identified a number of attributes within the data that tend to correlate with classification conclusions. We assess the classified records associated with an attribute to create a profile that may inform a rule to classify the unclassified records sharing that same attribute…

Continue reading “Harnessing Analytical Insights and Illuminating the Physical Realm of Dark Data – An Interview with Markus Lindelow of Iron Mountain”

Congratulations to Manual Arts High Eleanor Moscatel Scholarship Winner Nicky Lopez!

Manual Arts High School

Eleanor Moscatel and a classmate practicing archery, circa 1950s
Eleanor Moscatel and a Manual Arts High classmate practicing archery, circa 1950s

Congratulations 2018 Scholarship Recipient Nicky Lopez!

This annual academic scholarship was established in honor of Eleanor Moscatel, a graduate of the Manual Arts High School Class of 1949. Her multifaceted and successful career, from Actress to Entrepreneur and Real Estate Maven spans seven decades and includes important cultural and social service contributions to both the city and the people of Los Angeles. Her story is one of education, experience, patience and self-reliance. Essays were judged based on sincerity and clarity of thought and seeks to reward students who not only believe in self-reliance, but also can articulate in 500 to 1000 words, an experience in their lives where one door of opportunity may have closed but where another one opened because of their perseverance and commitment to a goal. Congratulations again Nicky and good luck on your academic and life journey!

Using Blockchain for the Common Good – An Interview with Ashish Gadnis of BanQu

BanQu - Information Governance Perspectives

Using Blockchain for the Common Good – An Interview with Ashish Gadnis of BanQu

Sixth in a series of in-depth interviews with innovators and leaders in the fields of Risk, Compliance and Information Governance across the globe.


Information Governance Perspectives - Ashis Gadnis of BanQu discusses Blockchain

Ashish Gadnis is CEO of BanQu, Inc. and a recognized thought leader in the blockchain community. He chairs the Financial Inclusion Working Committee for the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance and travels the world explaining how this revolutionary new technology is transforming the way we think about supply chain economics. He holds an MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management and graduated from the Global Leadership and Public Policy program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. I spoke with him this July about blockchain, business administration and professional development.


Ashish, you recently spoke at the MER conference where the theme was “Records for Humanity,” how data governance impacts the human condition. And your company, BanQu, offers a unique solution to the challenge of extreme poverty by leveraging blockchain. With BanQu, people ensure their economic identity with an immutable record of their transactions in a system benefiting the entire supply chain. But how exactly do you, your clients and big brands set about prioritizing and realizing these goals?

Over the last two and a half years we’ve realized that 2.7 billion people, that includes refugees displaced and those in extreme poverty zones, participate in some sort of a supply chain. That can mean you’re the poorest farmer in Congo growing coffee, cacao or shea butter, you know, the ingredients that go into cosmetics, and your contributions show up in brands like eight dollar lattes and expensive body lotions. And in examining this, we realized that that current models for getting people out of poverty have failed. Those models have failed because they look at the ability to help people out of poverty separate from enabling people in poverty to participate in the supply chain. And so we actually took the other route. And nobody had ever done it. We said, “What if the people who are absolutely in that last mile, if they get to equally participate?” Then the value for the brand is suddenly more relevant.

Let’s use a simple example. If you’re buying cacao in Ghana and you’re a large chocolate company, there’s a good chance today that your last mile farmers are extremely poor and also invisible. No matter much traceability, transparency or fair trade you implement, until and unless that farmer can participate in his data, to know for example “I’m selling 40 kilos every other week to this big brand,” then that farmer will continue to live in poverty. And this is kind of a long answer, but the detail is important because that poor farmer today has everything stacked against him or her, especially if conditions are so rough. I was just in Zambia a week and a half ago and I saw firsthand some of this problem, which was that women farmers have to borrow at a higher price point.

Women farmers are always at the short end of the stick because they’re not allowed in many cases to prove their history. So what happens if you happen to be selling 40 kilos upstream and there are seven middlemen… after I sell my coffee… somebody picks it up, then brings it to somebody else, the next one goes to the warehouse and eventually you’ve lost the ability to track. And while the internet has come to people in poverty it hasn’t pulled people out of extreme poverty permanently. There’s mobile money, there’s big data, AI, etc., but none of those models actually have ever allowed that mother, that farmer, to participate equally.

When I say participate equally, it’s very basic. To me participate equally means that one, she has a physical (stored digitally) copy of that transaction that nobody can ever steal or manipulate. Two, she has the ability to prove her transaction history which legitimizes her existence in that supply chain. And three, it allows her to now leverage that data in a way that reduces her cost of borrowing. It allows her to be portable. That’s how we decided to look at blockchain and nobody in the world has ever done this. People keep talking about how they’re going to use blockchain for good and we’re the only ones doing it everyday, taking a commercial approach while being simultaneously deeply purpose driven. We started a for profit, for purpose software company and now the largest brands are coming to us because it solves two sides of the problem for them. One side is that the supply chain now becomes more cost effective and efficient. They get better visibility into the supply chain in terms of quality, market access and forecasting which enables an ecosystem for crop insurance, climate protection, education. And the other side of the coin is now they can start addressing issues like gender equality, labor rights and other important issues.

Continue reading “Using Blockchain for the Common Good – An Interview with Ashish Gadnis of BanQu”

Tapping Into Africa’s IG Potential – An Interview With Amb-Dr. Oyedokun Ayodeji Oyewole

Tapping Into Africa's IG Potential - An Interview With Amb-Dr. Oyedokun Ayodeji Oyewole

Fifth in a series of in-depth interviews with innovators and leaders in the fields of Risk, Compliance and Information Governance across the globe.

Dr. Oyedokun Ayodeji OyewoleAmb-Dr. Oyedokun Ayodeji Oyewole is the Chairman of the Board at the Institute of Information Management (IIM) based in Nigeria. Prior to leading the institute, he spent years in IT and cyber-security roles for Swedish firms and consulting for the Oil and Gas industry. Dr. Oyewole is both an accomplished Records and Information Management practitioner and a fierce advocate for the discipline. I sat down with him in July to ask him about his journey through the universe of information management, his thoughts about professional development and the emerging opportunities in Africa.

Dr. Oyewole, your work developing new practitioners in the Records Management field is substantial and encouraging. You have empowered individuals, young and old, to harness their analytical skills to advance their professional development while instilling pride and confidence in them. Tell us what inspired you to look at Africa and decide how building a community of skilled practitioners could make a difference not just in individual’s lives but in their communities?

My sojourn into the information management space started in 2004, with a very big vision and mission. This was at a time when information management technology was being implemented by only a few organisations in Africa. With the vast opportunities in the RIM space in Africa coupled with the many societal challenges faced by the continent, I saw the need for us to buttress the demand for proper management and security of records and information in both public and private organisations. A very large chunk of organisations were still struggling with managing physical records and certainly not prepared for electronic records. Poverty, corruption and a lack of employment opportunities were crippling. In analyzing all this, I felt the only meaningful solution to both alleviating suffering and empowering people was through advancement of this all important industry, information management, neglected for decades in Africa. Having a society where quality records and information can be easily accessed must be a priority in the face of several challenges ranging from lack of government support, inadequate legislation, poorly trained professionals and practitioners, to the absence of standards and necessary tools for adequate data and information governance.

Most people around the world don’t realize that many parts of Africa, especially in Nigeria, do have sophisticated infrastructures despite being considered developing nations. The history of Africa is varied and rich in so many ways, with much of its potential still yet to be unlocked. What if anything do you feel is unique to African nations in their management of records, information and data that you might not find in places like the U.K. or in the United States?

The information management industry in Nigeria is still evolving with a great deal of potential yet to be tapped. I think what seems to be unique about the records and information management profession in Nigeria and other parts of Africa is the tremendous commitment and passion you find in an average information management professional, in their resolve to take their career to the next level amidst a myriad of social and economic challenges.

You spent quite some time working for Chevron Nigeria Limited on its Agura Independent Power Project designing EDMS systems. Nigeria’s oil reserves are substantial and as this sector develops, just like in the United States, there are social and environmental issues impacted by this progress. How much are projects such as these affected by laws and regulations in African nations and what trends do you expect in the African regulatory landscape over the next five or ten years?

Continue reading “Tapping Into Africa’s IG Potential – An Interview With Amb-Dr. Oyedokun Ayodeji Oyewole”

Turning Collective Wisdom Into Strength – An Interview with Andrea Kalas of the Association of Moving Image Archivists

Turning Collective Wisdom Into Strength - An Interview with Andrea Kalas of the Association of Moving Image Archivists

Fourth in a series of in-depth interviews with innovators and leaders in the fields of Risk, Compliance and Information Governance across the globe.

Andrea KalasAndrea Kalas is a recent President of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Prior to her current role at Paramount Pictures as SVP of Archives, she led the preservation program at the British Film Institute. I had the opportunity to sit down with her in June to discuss bit loss, digital asset management, artificial intelligence and the benefits that millennials are bringing to the profession.

Andrea, you’ve spoken and taught at length about the challenges of bit loss and how it affects the race to preserve not just America’s rich film history, but that of other countries and cultures. How does a global team like yours even begin to prioritize its preservation goals as you race against the clock?

Digital preservation has the basic goal of avoiding bit loss, technically. However, the work that really requires technologists and archivists to effectively collaborate involves the treatment of files as valuable records, art or artifacts. This goes against so much of how basic information technology systems work. For example the word “archive” has been used as a term to mean data written off-line and put on removable media on a shelf, never to be touched again. This is a sure path to bit loss. For an archivist this definition is completely counter-productive. It as much about communication and clear technical requirements from archivists as it is building technical solutions. What we’ve developed is an infrastructure that makes sure there are multiple copies of our feature films, and that each file that makes up that film is checked annually. We’ve also worked hard at making sure that we’ve architected things so that as hardware and software change, which they inevitably to, the files and metadata that make up that film can survive. This keeps us on track with what we have to preserve. That and the incredibly brilliant archivists who work with me and bring innovation to the process as it evolves.

Aside from the importance of preserving history and the arts, what are the other benefits of preservation for large intellectual property firms like those in the Entertainment industry?

Entertainment companies who base their business plans on the ability to distribute films and television programs over the long term benefit from the preservation of their intellectual property both financially and culturally. The cultural aspect is often called in business terms, “branding,” or the public recognition of the value of that company. A film studio who demonstrates it cares as much about a film that has great public and cultural appreciation as it has financial benefit enhances its brand. These two reasons are why those who own intellectual property have a duty of care. Like many distributors, we have some titles we distribute for a short period of time, and other for which we have long-term rights. It is the latter we preserve.

Some argue that AI was kickstarted by image repository work thanks to the efforts of academics like Fei-Fei Li at Stanford. Companies like Zorroa, for example, are now developing tools for visual asset management that integrate machine learning algorithms so users can auto-classify assets. This must be promising considering the volume of materials we must now manage. Are projects like this on the horizon for other studios or is it still cost prohibitive?

Continue reading “Turning Collective Wisdom Into Strength – An Interview with Andrea Kalas of the Association of Moving Image Archivists”

3 Timeless Business Lessons from a Real Life Superwoman

Eleanor Moscatel in Superman
The Adventures of Superman (upper right, Eleanor Moscatel)

My Mother is 86 and doesn’t have a LinkedIn profile. But if she ever did, her headline would read something like… “Former ingenue, entrepreneur, dreamer, and the rest is none of your damn business, honey.” But to those who’ve had the privilege to know her over the decades her mantra has always been, quite simply, to treat everybody with dignity!

Here are 3 timeless business lessons she’s taught me to go along with that mantra.

3. The worst “they” can say is “no.” – Opportunities were not exactly flowing in depression-era Los Angeles, but that didn’t stop one young lady from putting herself out there. She helped my father through chiropractic school by working long hours as a Hollywood extra throughout the 50’s and 60’s. Though never quite achieving stardom she knocked on enough doors to get a lot of work, save some seed money and establish relationships that would eventually transform her life. Mom leveraged her new, tough shell to find opportunities, sell her strengths and laugh off rejection.  “It’s no big deal,” she constantly told me as a kid. At the end of the day you should never be afraid to ask for what you want because the absolute worst “they” can say is no. And you still get to keep your dignity.

2. Get everything in writing. – Unurprisingly, Mom had to learn this lesson like most of us… the hard way. This was the mid-century after all and commonplace to make agreements on a handshake. But it only took a few rotten deals for her to realize that keeping good records was key to helping a business stay on track and prospering. Putting it in writing lets the other person know that you need to be, and you will be, treated with dignity.

1. Don’t burn your bridges. – The keyword in the old adage that you can’t make a lot of money without making a few enemies is few. Just as one door opens and another closes, Mom never wanted to find herself in a new room with an old enemy. By treating everybody with dignity she managed to avoid burning many bridges. And for every bridge she burned, she’s probably built a thousand more. When a job or a deal doesn’t go your way, take the high road and don’t make it personal. You never know what the future brings or who might be bringing it.

scan_20150704-15.jpg

Mom’s success, not just in business, but among the people she calls colleagues, friends and family is based on dignity. And while there were many times in her life where she was unfairly treated, put at a disadvantage and rejected, she never forgot that. I guess that’s why I never had much of a problem following the 5th Commandment. Anybody remember that one?