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The Role of DAMA International Advisors

  • July 01 2004, 1:00am EDT

As a volunteer organization, DAMA International (DAMA-I) faces a number of challenges. These include limited processing bandwidth, varying perspectives, contextual interaction and understanding the big picture.

DAMA members and board members contribute their time, effort and often financial resources, sometimes without support from their employers. While these efforts often fall into the superhuman category, it is a continual challenge to produce results without the benefit of a full-time staff and other resources that are available to some for-profit groups.

The DAMA-I board typically meets three times each year: in January, at the International meeting in the spring, and sometime during the fall. Advisors are invited to meet with the DAMA-I board and are given a travel supplement of approximately $1K annually. During these meetings, advisors participate in board discussions, volunteer to take on specific tasks and assignments, and often also bring additional resources to the table. For example, I'm often asked to pitch in by speaking at fundraisers or otherwise helping startup or struggling chapters, as are other DAMA-I board members. Advisors often donate considerable amounts of time to augment the efforts of the international board to keep the organization moving forward.

Each advisor, as well as other DAMA-I board members, brings a unique perspective to the various board discussions and projects attempted. For example, John Zachman's decades of experience have been invaluable in guiding the board through the various industry ups and downs. In the past, we have had advisors who have been able to bring perspectives from industry, government and academia. These have been invaluable for keeping DAMA-I relevant as a professional organization that has broad appeal to data managers.

By virtue of their experience and expertise, advisors are able to help DAMA-I understand how it fits into the larger technology picture. For example, I am often asked how DAMA-I can broaden its appeal to academics and students. My position as a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and within the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has enabled me to understand how their use of student chapters and other types of conferences can attract new recruits, influence curricula and involve related disciplines in DAMA-I activities. Both IEEE and ACM are much larger organizations and DAMA-I has piggybacked on their efforts, becoming a relevant group with a clear role to play in the technology industry.

While DAMA-I board members bring qualified perspectives, physical and cost restrictions have kept the board largely U.S.-centric. International participation has been tangible, but often the board has relied on advisors to help it understand DAMA-I's role from a global perspective. Advisors, insulated from the daily operations of DAMA-I, are also able to help keep it focused on more strategic issues.

There are currently five International Advisors: Len Silverston, John Ladley, Graeme Simsion, our emeritus advisor John Zachman and myself. I'm speaking from my own perspective, and I'm certain that the other advisors have other equally valid opinions and that DM Review readers and DAMA-I members will continue to hear from them.


Canberra, Australia
Central Florida            Central Pennsylvania
Central Virginia
Dallas/Fort Worth
Denver (Rocky Mountain)
Heart of Texas Chapter ("HoT Chapter")

Kansas City
Kentucky Tri State
London, UK
Los Angeles
Melbourne, Australia
Montana Chapter (New!)
Nashville Chapter (New!)
New Jersey
New York
Ohio (Central Ohio)
Ohio (Southwest)
Philadelphia/Delaware Valley
Pittsburgh (Chapter now forming!)

Rochester/Upstate New York
Sacramento Valley
San Francisco Bay Area
Seattle (DRMA)
St. Louis
Sydney, Australia
Toronto, Canada (Information Resource Management Association of Canada)
Washington, DC. (National Capitol Region)

This is the list of DAMA international chapters. For details, visit our Web site:
Can't find a chapter near you? See our Web site for information about our Member-at-Large program and forming chapters.

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