For our final newsletter of 2021, I interviewed Julie Allen to learn more about our new Executive Director.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your role
Since 1st December 2021, I have been the Executive Director of the OPF. In that role, I have been tasked with developing a new strategic plan for the organisation, ensuring its financial health and to have overall responsibility for the development, delivery, and quality of all OPF tools and services.
In addition, I am also the Executive Director of the Netherlands-Canada Chamber of Commerce.
How did you get here? What was your path into digital preservation?
Via England, North America, Asia and the Netherlands! I started my working life in the chemical industry, became an electrical engineer with a specialization in lighting, then moved into sales & marketing and finally focused on international business and trade. Having lived and worked on 5 continents, my path has certainly been a ‘long and winding’ one.
More recently, I was introduced to the topic of digital preservation through my volunteer work (see below).
What are you working on at the moment?
Having been on the job for a matter of weeks, I am in the process of getting up to speed with all the projects, meeting the staff and Board members and getting to grips with the financial aspects of the organisation.
In the new year, I hope to meet with many of you to hear directly what you want and value from the OPF and where you think it should focus in the coming years.
What do you see as the main benefit of OPF membership?
Last year, the OPF celebrated its 10th anniversary. This is a reflection of the importance of the field of digital preservation, the support of its members and the growing recognition that more tools and support are needed. Our members empower us to produce tools that address common problems and support resources and initiatives to ensure they are open and sustainable for all. Based on the priorities chosen by our members, the OPF team work hard to continue delivering tools, education and information for the digital preservation community.
Who are you / what do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time, I like to do a lot of different things.
I am a volunteer with Faces To Graves. This Foundation aims to write the life stories of thousands of Canadian soldiers buried in the Netherlands and put them in a digital monument (hence the introduction to digital preservation).
During Covid, I also started my own project to visit every Canadian soldier buried in the Netherlands (over 6000) since their family and comrades could no longer visit due to travel restrictions.
I love traveling and visiting art galleries, museums, old stately homes and castles. I enjoy cooking, watching tv, reading, gardening and knitting although I don’t seem to have a lot of time these days :-).