Affiliated with:

Ryan M Zlim

Ryan M. Zilm

Global Data Strategist | Information Executive | Data Governance Program Leader | IT Project Executive | Author | Speaker

Award-Winning Information Executive Leader with 25+ years of focused experience in data strategy, risk management, and information governance, utilizing strategic business development efforts and operational streamlining to drive enterprise-wide initiatives, reaching multi-million-dollar cost-savings for programs, while giving back to the information management community through volunteer efforts and speaking engagements.

What attracted you to data management or IT, and why did you choose to pursue this career?

Early in my career, I was extremely technical and driven to the “science” of IT coding, there is a right way and a wrong way, and troubleshooting was an interesting puzzle to solve. As I continued to evolve down my path of governing data and mentoring others, I noticed my enthusiasm for understanding the “art” of how managing information is extremely important to obtain buy-in, support, and selling a program. Thus, I shifted towards information management and began to absorb as much as I could to perfect my craft, and am still learning.

What has been your greatest career accomplishment so far, and why has it been important to your career?

Conceptualizing a “Content Cleanup Carnival”, achieving 55%+ participation in a fun and employee morale enhancing event filled with games, contests, awards, and prizes, while educating personnel on policies, standards, and legal holds, and being able to share this methodology with others to gamify their own programs.

What are the two or three biggest challenges you face as a data management professional / CDO and how can we address them?

The everchanging landscape of compliance as it relates to managing information and the plethora of competing priorities. Staying aware of the many changes within our space is vitally important to the success of not just our programs, but also our careers even if in small steps. Additionally, employees are in a state of “oversaturation” with roles and projects, so finding a way to adjust expectations or making requirements “easy” is crucial nowadays.

How do you see data management / the role of the CDO / IT changing in the next 2 – 3 years?

While I believe there has been enormous change in the last several years for data management during the pandemic, I truly believe we have yet to see the full effects from a data management standpoint and am anticipating additional regulatory changes for data privacy with a focus on remote workers and other medical necessities, though just my educated guess.

Do you have any planned next steps for your career?

I am always on the lookout for something to enhance my skillset and it looks like I’m finally going to study and sit for the PMP exam, which I started over 20 years ago! Then, we will see where the cards land. I’m always open for new opportunities.

What is the single best piece of advice you have received in your data management / IT career so far? Why has it been so important to you?

Most frequently I reference a quote from a very dear friend in that, “We have a professional responsibility to give back to the IM community.” In general, we all started somewhere and without those who contributed and mentored before, we wouldn’t be where we are today as a profession. Hence, volunteer your time, money, resources any chance you get. The outcome and personal relationships to be made is most rewarding!

Can you share something about yourself as a person that people wouldn’t know about you?

I have quite a large collection of playing cards (6K+), am fluent in American Sign Language and learning Spanish, and tried out for American Idol (the last year I was legally of age to do so.)

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