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From Childhood Dreams to Knowledge Management: A Journey Unveiled

1 January 2019
Ella Antes
A child sitting on a brick wall with a toy airplane in the air

What would you like to do when you grow up? I remember being asked this question countless times from a very young age. Oh, the numerous, diverse, and sometimes peculiar answers I provided—doctor, flower shop clerk, teacher, circus performer, opera singer, ballerina, detective, architect, and many more... One thing is sure—I never mentioned "knowledge management consultant!"

Well, of course, somewhere (many years ago...), the field of knowledge management had not yet been defined, so no one would have even thought to say that this is what they wanted to do when they grew up. What has always surrounded us is knowledge and information.

Reflecting on the past, as I recall "childhood pictures" in my mind, I discover more details that unintentionally guided me to this point—the girl who was always responsible for organizing lists and assignments in class, the one who updated the "What should I do today" list every day after school, hanging on the cork board above her desk. I was the one whose notes for matriculation in biology were organized by topic, subtopics, tags, colors, tables, and abstracts. The one who consistently kept the room in order chose to study special education and worked on various creative ways to make information accessible to her students. I sought the next opportunity for professional development, to engage in meaningful work driven by personal interest and organizational value—the one who stumbled upon the world of knowledge management purely by chance.

The one who stumbled upon the world of knowledge management by chance. Really, by chance? No, not really. I believe that the various stages in my life, along with my personal and professional skills and strengths, combined with a touch of "adventurous instinct," led me to a young and dynamic field. This field enables me to continuously learn, understand organizations, face challenges, explore technologies, and push the boundaries of my profession.

When people ask me today, "So what do you do in life?" I promptly respond, "Oh, I'm a knowledge management consultant," fully aware of what's to come. A brief moment of silence follows, and I can already discern that look—the one that usually indicates the person in front of me has no idea what it means. I quickly explain that a knowledge management consultant, in essence, is akin to an organizational consultant with a specific focus on organizational knowledge. Do 90% of those who inquire understand? Not really. However, as the conversation unfolds (picture it five minutes ahead), I know it will reach a point where the person will exclaim, "Wow, this is so important! You don't realize how many places in an organization knowledge management could help us solve problems." What a delight! I've succeeded.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of ROM, a company specializing in providing consulting services in the world of knowledge management. Perhaps, in a few years, I can abbreviate or skip the explanation about "what a knowledge management consultant is," etc. But for now, I take pride in being part of ROM for the past seven years. Every morning, I embrace my "unconventional" work, allowing me to be creative, think innovatively, advance with the latest technologies, and deliver value to my customers. Congratulations, ROM!

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