Call for Conference Buddies and Mentors

Support the ICA’s New Professionals – Become a Conference Buddy or Mentor!


To help engage future leaders in the field of archives and records management, the ICA has developed the New Professionals Programme, which includes selecting an annual cohort of newcomers to the records and archives profession and providing this group with support, advice, and guidance as they establish their professional careers.

A total of six people from around the world have been selected as ‘Active New Professionals’ or Active NPs for the 2017-2018 year. These six people will each be funded to attend the ALA/ICA Conference in Mexico City, Mexico from 25-29 November 2017. After the conference, the Active NPs will participate in a range of activities, including working with different sections, branches, or expert groups within the ICA and developing projects or workshops for their own jurisdictions.

To support the best experience possible for these New Professionals, the ICA is seeking six volunteers to serve as ‘Conference Buddies’ for the upcoming Conference in Mexico City. We are also seeking six volunteers to serve as Mentors for the new NP cohort.

The Conference Buddy serves as a ‘shepherd’ to the Active NP, helping him or her navigate the Conference, offering advice about local arrangements or Conference activities, introducing him or her to colleagues during the Conference, and facilitating his or her attendance at meetings or other events, in order to expose the New Professional to aspects of the ICA’s activities while they are in Mexico City.

The Mentor commits to an average of 4-8 hours a month over the course of 12-14 months, starting after the Conference is over in late November 2017, to provide the Active NP with advice and guidance about various professional matters, as the Active NP develops in his or her career. While the anticipated time frame for the Mentorship commitment is about 12-14 months, we hope the relationship will evolve into an enduring professional friendship!

Anyone can be a Conference Buddy or a Mentor if they meet the following conditions:

  • Both Conference Buddies and Mentors should be members of the records and archives profession and should be either individual members of the ICA (Category D) or someone working for a Category A or Category C member of the ICA. Category A members include central archive directorates or national archival institutions, and Category C members include institutions concerned with the administration or preservation of records and archives or in archival training and education.
  • Ideally, the Conference Buddy will be a mid-career professional in archives and records management and will have already participated in two or more ICA Annual Conferences or Quadrennial Congresses. This previous experience with Conferences will give the Conference Buddy an understanding of how ICA conferences operate and knowledge of the various activities and events that the Active NPs can participate in, to enhance their experience at the Conference.
  • Ideally, the Mentor will be a seasoned member of the archives and records management profession with many years’ experience in the field, such as a senior manager, educator, or active contributor to the profession. He or she will have the time to answer questions via email or text, chat via Skype or other technologies, and provide support to their Mentee for a few hours a month on average.

Members of the ICA’s Programme Commission or other ICA committees, sections, branches, or expert groups are welcome to serve as Conference Buddies and Mentors, if they feel they have the time to provide adequate support. Those people who were part of the New Professionals Programme in past years are particularly encouraged to serve as Conference Buddies whenever they can, to help support their new colleagues.

However, we also very much welcome expressions of interest from people with less immediate involvement in ICA committee work, knowing they will bring new perspectives and fresh ideas to the programme.

Once we receive expressions of interest from potential Conference Buddies and Mentors, we will match them to our Active NPs based on various criteria, including whether or not they share language(s) – this year the Active NPs come from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, and the United States – and whether they share common areas of professional interest or activity.

While we only have room for six Conference Buddies and six Mentors in 2017-2018, we hope to receive many expressions of interest for both roles; please consider volunteering for this exciting opportunity to help shape the future of our profession.

More information about the New Professionals Programme is available in the New Professionals Programme Overview on the ICA website.

If you would like to volunteer as a Conference Buddy or Mentor, or if you have more questions, please send an email to Laura Millar, from Canada, who the 2017-2018 Conference Buddy/Mentor Liaison for the New Professionals Programme. She can be reached directly.

If you are interested in volunteering but unsure if you meet the membership criteria, feel free to get in touch with us to clarify. If you wish to join the ICA as an individual member, you can sign up quickly and easily. The annual cost for individual (Category D) members is €100 for a full membership but only €30 for a digital membership or €20 for a digital membership for retired professionals, which entitles you to all the privileges of membership except for access to print copies of ICA publications.

Please submit your expression of interest to Laura Millar via email before September 15, 2017, so we can match this year’s Conference Buddies and Mentors with the Active NPs well in advance of the Mexico City Conference in November.

Thank you to everyone for considering this great opportunity to join the New Professionals Programme and help foster and grow our profession!

Laura Millar, Canada
2017-2018 Conference Buddy/Mentor Liaison