Kathryn Lagden joined “AIMS Canada”:http://www.aimscanada.com/ as General Manager in March 2006.
She first experienced AIMS when she joined as a member in 1998. AIMS is Canada’s largest Internet association, representing over 5,000 members from a broad range of roles and industries and with varying levels of online experience. From long term Internet aficionados to relative newcomers, the association’s members all have the common desire to stay informed and up-to-date with the latest industry developments.
Active in the community, Kathryn is a regular guest speaker at Ryerson University and a member of the Humber College Marketing Program Advisory Board.
*One Degree: Hey Kathryn, what’s new at AIMS?*
What a great question! There’s so much happening at AIMS right now and I do like talking about it.
A few weeks ago we launched the “AIMS blog”:http://blog.aimscanada.com/ (more about that in a moment) and we also just launched “our new website”:http://www.aimscanada.com/.
We’re in the midst of planning the AIMS 10th anniversary bash. We’ll mark the occasion with an event on September 20th. Shel Holtz will join us to talk about “How Social Media is Changing Everything You Know”. (Plans are also in the works for a geek dinner the night before). We’re also ramping up quickly for our other fall events and will have more details on those shortly.
Beyond the blog, website, and events what I find most exciting is how engaged members are with the association. In the last couple of months we’ve set up a number of volunteer committees who are helping in all aspects – over 40 people helping with everything from event topics to promoting AIMS and our events.
We’ve had a good response from sponsors. We’re still finalizing details but we’ll have an announcement up shortly to talk about our new sponsors and what they’ll be offering members.
*One Degree: What’s the response been to the new blog?*
Response has been very good and we’ve had a couple of interesting conversations.
A couple of times a week I get email from members asking for information or recommendations. The blog is a great way to put the question out to all 5000 members and get feedback from a wide audience.
*One Degree: I’ll be honest with you, I’ve heard people questioning why we need formal organizations like AIMS now that self-organizing resources like “TorCamp”:http://www.torcamp.ca/, wikis, blogs and sites like “LinkedIn”:http://www.linkedin.com/ do a lot of the things that “traditional” associations do. How do you respond to this?*
Self-organizing resources like TorCamp, wikis, blogs, etc. are definitely playing a key role in bringing people together to exchange ideas etc. And that’s all good.
However, I do think associations, like AIMS still play an important role. Even with tools like wikis and blogs it takes a fair bit of time to organize great events, share good content, develop networks etc.
I see the role of the association as providing the infrastructure and even using some of the self-organizing tools when it makes sense. I’ve had a lot of interest from members wanting to contribute to the development of AIMS. Tools like wikis and blogs can be a great resource for getting members active, involved, and participating. It becomes self-organizing to the extent that members have a large influence on how the association is run. But there is still a central organization to execute ideas, run events, etc.
*One Degree: How are you feeling about the state of Internet marketing in Canada these days?*
I think it’s pretty darn exciting. I spent 8 months traveling (and avidly blogging) last year. Returning home it really hit me how much had happened in a short space of time. Having been involved since the mid 90’s it’s great to see how Internet marketing has grown up. What was once a small line item in a marketing plan has now developed into a strong vibrant industry. And it’s still growing and evolving at a rapid rate so there’s lots of excitement and learning on the horizon.
One thing I find interesting is how often the question comes up about whether Canada is lagging behind the US. I haven’t worked with a US client in about a year and half now so I can’t make a direct comparison. But I do think a lot of good stuff is happening in Canada these days and I wonder if perhaps we could benefit from being more vocal about it.
*One Degree: What should people do if they are interested in getting involved with AIMS?*
There are a lot of ways to get involved: being a member, attending an event, volunteering, contributing to the blog. For more information I’d suggest checking out the “AIMS website”:http://www.aimscanada.com/, dropping me a line at klagden (at) aimscanada.com, or calling me at 416-519-8559.