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    February Member Spotlight: Eileen Harke, CRM

    Feb 19, 2014


    Meet Eileen Harke, CRM (pictured on the left)

    Eileen Harke, Certified Records Manager, works with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Washington state office in Olympia. She fulfills the dual role of records manager and Freedom of Information Act coordinator. Congratulations are in order!  Harke recently received a U.S. Department of the Interior Honor Award for Superior Service for her contributions to records management within the agency. She was especially honored to receive this award, which has a focus on records management.

    A proud member of ARMA International and the Puget Sound chapter, Harke joined 14 years ago while working with the Targeted Assistance Program at the National Archives and Records Administration. She was told ARMA membership would be valuable for the education and networking opportunities. Harke has been particularly active with the Puget Sound chapter, serving as:

    • President:  2011 – present
    • Vice-President: served for 3 years
    • Director: served for 1 year
    • Committee Chair: RIM Month, Communications Team
    • Membership Chair:  served for 4 years

    Connect with Harke through LinkedIn:

    ARMA is proud to highlight Harke’s work as a professional in our industry. Keep reading to learn more about her recognition as an expert in the field of records management and her favorite Olympic sport.

    What do you enjoy most about the information governance industry?

    I really enjoy helping people in my office with their records management projects. My skills as a communicator and a natural organizer serve me well in my position. Because of the evolution of the profession, I know I will never be bored and look forward to learning more every day.


    What is your favorite ARMA memory? 

    My favorite memory is attending my first ARMA International Conference in Las Vegas. It was an amazing experience for me and is still my favorite conference. I was so impressed with the idea of belonging to a professional organization. I realized I was amongst people who had done incredible things in their jobs and with their professional growth through ARMA. It was the first time I truly understood that I had the opportunity to move from a general administrative job to a profession! I learned so much from the educational sessions and the Expo experience. While I wasn’t in a position at the time to consider records management software, just having a vision of the possibilities was enough to impact everything I did at my office to prepare for the day I could invest in such tools. Also, I really enjoyed the awards night. Our chapter (Puget Sound) won the Chapter of the Year Award. I was moved by the idea of growing in this profession like others I was witnessing.


    Did you have a mentor who has helped you in the information governance or records management fields? If so, how is this relationship important to you?

    Darlene Curtis, CRM, from the Bellevue-Eastside Chapter, took me under her wing at my first ARMA conference in Las Vegas, initially helping me to navigate the conference and to select the best sessions to attend (and the best social activities to participate in!) She has provided tremendous support and encouragement, both personally and professionally. Most importantly, Darlene served as my CRM mentor. I greatly appreciate the role Darlene has played and continues to play in my professional growth.

    How has your activity with the local chapter helped prepare you to advance in your career?

    I have gained a much better understanding of the possibilities of a records management profession through my interactions with local and regional members. In addition, the education content has been invaluable to my understanding of records management principles in other entities besides the federal government.

    What would you consider to be your career highlight or greatest success (e.g., a project or designation)?

    I was so proud to become a CRM and while I’ve since earned my ERM Master from AIIM, being a “CRM” is still the acronym I am most proud of! Of course I’m very proud of being recognized for my records management contributions within the United States Fish and Wildlife Service with an Honor Award for Superior Service, which is rarely awarded.

    Speaking of the award you received, tell us more about it. How were you able to make your work with information governance stand out?

    I received a United States Department of the Interior Honor Award for Superior Service, in recognition of my “dedication, outstanding contributions and expertise in the field of records management for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”  In particular, I was recognized for my participation in an update to the agency’s records retention schedule, published in 2006. This was the first update since 1978. I was recognized for the work I have done to increase awareness of the importance of records management and my development and presentation of records training to various field and regional offices within the USFWS. My assistance to other Fish and Wildlife Service offices, as well as my details in Atlanta to work on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill record, were also recognized.

    How did you effectively promote good records management within your agency? Do you have a tip or best practice to share? 

    From the beginning I had a genuine interest and admiration for the work our staff in Lacey, Washington, does to implement the Endangered Species Act. I learned a tremendous amount about the workflow and outcomes of the activities of the agency. I coordinated with staff to implement filing systems that met both records management requirements and, most importantly, worked for them. I worked with the National Achieves and Records Administration to offer basic records training. The training incorporated lessons learned from our office’s implementation of a records management program. This enabled administrative and program staff in other Fish and Wildlife Service offices to have a better understanding of how to apply retention and disposition to their records. I am often contacted for guidance and assistance from other Fish and Wildlife Service offices who know of or have heard of my records management knowledge.

    What do you do for fun? 

    I enjoy spending time with the people I care about, especially my husband, Vince. I have a very busy social life and enjoy movies, musical theater, rock concerts, fine dining, and experiencing the wonders of the natural world with my husband, who is a Fish and Wildlife Biologist.

    Are you a sports fan? If, so, what teams do you follow?

    I like to watch figure skating. I recently attend my first Super Bowl party and watched the Seattle Seahawks win – Go Hawks!

    Do you have a quote you live by?

    You did then what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did better. - Maya Angelou

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