Terra Nova Chapter

In this summary of its history, it should be noted that ARMA Terra Nova Chapter was born more out of necessity, not just some idle thought to try something new. It could also be said that other Canadian chapters played a part in the process.

In the mid 1980ís, a number of individuals from the St. Johnís area had heard about ARMA International. These people were from governments, educational institutions and local companies. They each held a common interest - to expand their knowledge and gain new experiences within their field of Information Management. They attended ARMA conferences within Canada and the US. Some of them became independent ARMA members. During these events, members of other chapters would try to persuade the Newfoundland contingent to form its own chapter. Obviously the group were realizing, too, that ARMA was a terrific organization which was in tune with the progress and changes occurring in the profession of Information Management.

Randy Cooper at that time was the Provincial governmentís Records Manager and he decided to launch interest in the chapter appeal. He invited Jim Spokes - ARMAís man in Canada - to come and speak to these local interest groups. Jim was very well received. Aided by the great marketing strength of the Association, Jim soon persuaded the locals to give in and agree to form their own chapter.

Terra Nova Chapter was chartered into the ARMA community on May 4, 1990 during an official ceremony held at the Radisson Plaza Hotel, St. Johnís, Newfoundland. Twenty Information Management professionals signed on as members, to go forward and spread the good works of ARMA International.

A formal nomination and election of officers took place. Randy Cooper was duly elected as the first president of Terra Nova Chapter. ARMAís Vice- President, Jim Spokes, presented Randy with official Charter # 154. And so we were on our way!

Randy Cooper served two successful terms as Chapter president. Terra Nova won several awards in the membership category during this time. The Chapter also developed its own newspaper - Sea Lines - in order to network with its members and the community at-large. Randy was very keen on networking with members in all our Canadian chapters. He attended frequent events and was sought after for advice and opinion.

Randyís term was highlighted by a very successful seminar/trade show held at the Elks Club. The theme of ďDisaster Recovery and Vital RecordsĒ really took hold with members and interest groups. Video highlights of the infamous Harvey Road fire were presented with stunning effect. Dick Reeves of Radio VOCM and Rick Weinholdt, a veteran of ARMA International, were the special speakers.

David Hutton succeeded Randy as President. He also served two terms. David was keen on combining our efforts with those of similar interest groups - such as the Health Records Association, the Library Association and the Provincial Organization of Records Officers. There was success in acquiring their cooperation in promoting special dinner events and seminars. Many of their members attended ARMA functions. Again, there was a very successful seminar/trade show. David was very knowledgeable about the trade show aspect and he emphasized a good product with the best monetary return for the Chapter. Our newsletter at that time highlighted Davidís visit to Japan. He stood in the midst of some street in Osaka - just days after a devastating earthquake had hit it!

Ten years is not a long time in the scheme of things, but the 1990ís brought tremendous change. When Bill Moores succeeded David Hutton as President - in the first of his three terms - computers and the Internet were ruling the day. Unfortunately, most economies in the World were experiencing a time of silent recession - some called it depression. Layoffs and downsizing were the new fads in both the public and private sectors. ARMA chapters were losing members, and new members were difficult to entice. It was a difficult time.

Billís first term though, was a success. The Chapter revised dinner meetings and even subsidized them to an extent. Special guests were invited to speak on some timely topic. Unfortunately, interest waned in this regard and so the Chapter used the same formula for luncheon meetings. The Brown Bag affair appealed to the members and was a regular monthly event.

Our seminar/ trade show in 1995 emphasized new technology in the workplace - in particular, of course, the computer! The show was a success, with most of the attendees non - members.

During our Annual General Meeting of that year, the Chapter decided to celebrate its fifth anniversary. We shared our celebration with Ms Sue Dalati, Vice-President of Region VIII. Sue helped us cut the cake and encouraged us to continue forward in our quest.

The highlight of Billís term, though, was the initial start-up of our Education Committee. It had been the expressed wish of ARMA members, not only of Terra Nova Chapter, but of all chapters, that they have the opportunity also to acquire more education in the field of Information Management. Not just the 2-3 day program, but a full-fledged certificate or degree program. Ms. Shelley Smith and Bill Moores met with Memorial University officials to start the process moving.

By 1996, the recession period had really hit Newfoundland Terra Nova Chapter lost several members due to job layoffs. We were unable to kindle even enough interest to elect a Board of Directors. Irene Legrow, Dave Rudofsky and Bill Moores carried the load. The Chapter kept the newspaper going. Mail outs and phone calls were made in our efforts to increase membership. The Education Committee maintained discussions with the University, as plans starting to reach a climax. We all talked about better times ahead.

Billís third term was much brighter. A full Board was put in place and immediately plans were made to increase communications with members. Membership brochures were designed and printed for mail outs to every possible potential member.

David Boland was elected by members as the next President. Circumstances were improving and David managed to elect a full Board again. Slowly the Chapter got back into full operation. We revived the luncheon meetings, with good success. Efforts were increased to attract new members. Terra Nova even became a member of the St. Johnís Board of Trade. The thinking was that ARMA would gain more exposure in the local private sector. David continued close communication with ARMA International. The Association invited David and Bill Moores to attend a full week Leadership Training course in Ottawa. In the Spring, we held another seminar/trade show. Our topic, ďRecords Management in the 21st CenturyĒ, this time emphasized the future - not the past. Catherine Zongora and Dr. Dale Foster led the discussion sessions.

Iris Power succeeded David as President. Her term saw the efforts of the Education Committee come to fruition. Memorial University started the first phase of a certificate program in Information Management. Response from members was very good. The Chapter continued its good works with networking and was successful in attracting some new members. Her term too saw the celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Terra Nova Chapter. A special edition of Sea Lines was published. Highlighted was a Proclamation by the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation promoting the Information Management profession. We bought t-shirts with our logo and anniversary printed on them, and sold them to members. New measures were taken to improve our newsletter.

There was another successful seminar/trade show. Heather Richmond led discussions on the modern office and knowledge management. Shelley Smith spoke on managing electronic records.

As she chose to continue her education at a mainland university, Iris resigned her Presidency during the latter half of her term. Frank Walsh stood in as Acting-President for the rest of the term.

Debra Downing became president of our Chapter in 1999. She continued with networking events and our membership increased by the largest percentage since the early years of the Chapter. Under her leadership, the Chapter won the Chapter of the Year Award (Very Small category) at the ARMA International Conference in Montreal in 2001. Eight Members were on hand to assist her in accepting the award!

Susan Duke served as president from 2002-2004 and Brenda Neary became president at the AGM in June 2004.

The above, as mentioned, is but a recollection of the short history of Terra Nova Chapter. There are, of course, other aspects that we could touch on in our summary. In particular, we should mention the human aspect of these times - the people - warrant the most thought. For ARMA is about people, and our Chapter has had the wonderful experience of seeing some of the finest fill its ranks and perform faithful service in whatever capacity they filled. As long as we have people like these - like us - Terra Nova Chapter will continue for many decades to come!

Updated 2007