Meet Kara – A Project Manager & Instructional Designer at aNm
Q: What do you do at aNm? What does your role at the company entail?
A: At aNm I am a Project Manager (“PM”) and Instructional Designer (“ID”). The two roles go hand in hand. As an ID, I need to have the 30,000 mile view of the project. If you think of building a house, I’m the architect. I put together the blueprint, but when it comes to things like building and interior design, I hand that off to my colleagues. I also interact with the client, manage their expectations, answer questions, keep track of the schedule, etc.
Q: What is something that people in your industry have to deal with that you want to fix?
A: Many times the client doesn’t understand the intricate processes and educational reasoning for the things we recommend. I enjoy the teaching aspect of helping them to understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.
Q: What are your credentials or past experience for working in your position?
A: My degree is in Journalism, specifically in advertising. I’ve been working in training for 20 years. I started in the industry as a graphic designer for web-based training. Eventually I became a technical writer and then became an ID. I think having done those other jobs, and also done some development, helps me to explain to the rest of my team what I need from them. I’ve mostly done federal government contract projects. I’ve done projects for Air Force, FEMA, FAA, FDA, FDIC, Bureau of Prisons, CBP, to name a few.
Q: What’s your background like? Your childhood? Any weird jobs worth sharing?
A: I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and grew up mostly in Kansas and Oklahoma. I did spend a year in Arkansas in high school. I am the oldest of 7 siblings – four brothers and two sisters. I love having lots of siblings. When we all get together for holidays or birthdays it’s so much fun and we all just talk and laugh. The kids all run around and play. I graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1999. I have had some interesting jobs along the way. I worked for the Oklahoma Geological Survey, Core and Sample Library. Basically, I counted rocks from oil and natural gas drill sites. I worked the third shift at Waffle House, which was always pretty entertaining. I also worked at a casino owned by the Chickasaw Nation. I called people’s names to come and play a game and win money. It was fun to give people lots of money. Although those jobs have nothing to do with what I do now, I learned something from all of them.
Q: What has been the most important innovation that you’ve seen in your lifetime?
A: I think the most important innovation in my lifetime would be the personal computer. Once computers were made small enough to be on a desk, it opened the door for other things to come such as cell phones. My first computer was an Apple IIe. I was in third grade when I got it for Christmas. All I really did on it was play games, but I thought it was pretty cool. And now, today, we develop training to be taken on people’s computers, tablets, and even cell phones. It’s pretty amazing when you think about it.
“Things like virtual tours at museums, online school, virtual seminars, all kinds of things that are going to have to be designed to be experienced online. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future brings for my industry and for aNm.”
Q: What is your favorite book/movie/ podcast etc.?
A: I am a giant book nerd. I read A LOT. Sometimes I will go days and days without even turning my television on because I’m just reading. My favorite genre is science fiction for sure, but I also like fantasy, history, historical fiction, and humorous fiction. I have read books that were more dramatic or sad, but I feel like the world is sometimes sad enough so I’d rather read something that takes my mind off things and to a funny or fascinating place. I’m currently reading a book by Christopher Moore called, “Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff”. It’s the telling of Jesus’ childhood from the perspective of his best friend, Biff. It is hysterically funny. I highly recommend it.
Q: If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
A: If I could learn to do anything, I think I would like to learn how to enjoy exercising. I would really like to be one of those people that truly likes working out or even running. Unfortunately, I hate working out, I hate exercising, I hate getting sweaty.
Q: Marvel or DC?
A: Marvel for sure. DC is way too dark and serious. Marvel is funny and most of the backstories are not quite as messed up as the DC universe is. Plus, I just like the Marvel characters better.
Q: What do you like doing outside of work?
A: Outside of work, I like to spend time with my son and my dog. I like to sit on my porch and enjoy my flowers and just take in the sky and the birds. I also, as you know, love to read. I also paint and do embroidery. I don’t go out much. In my older age I have found that I’m not a fan of crowds. Like a lot of GenX people, I spent a fair amount of my childhood after school alone, so I’m pretty used to keeping myself entertained.
Q: If you had to pick, what superpower would you have?
A: If I could pick a superpower I would be a shapeshifter. I think it would be amazing to be able to just change how you look and go wherever you want. Plus, I kind of like conducting my own little social experiments so sometimes I mess with people a little bit to see how they react. Being able to shapeshift would just make that so much more fun.
Q: What has been a highlight of working with aNm?
A: The highlight of working with aNm has been the people I get to work with for sure. I think we are lucky because when Michael put together his team for aNm he was able to invite people he’s already worked with and therefore knows are good at what they do. Also, everyone is pretty cool!
Q: What do you think will change within tech and media in the next 10 years?
A: I think social distancing is going to continue to be done for quite awhile in the professional workplace. What that means for tech and media is that they are going to have to start designing for more and more things to be done online. That is going to be a good thing for our business. Things like virtual tours at museums, online school, virtual seminars, all kinds of things that are going to have to be designed to be experienced online. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future brings for my industry and for aNm.