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26 August 2016

Senior information and research officer

Senior information and research officer

If you contact the Evangelical Alliance with an enquiry or question about our resources, chances are you will be speaking to the Alliance information and research officer. While she's one of the shyest members of the idea team, she does a huge amount behind the scenes, so we thought this was the perfect time to introduce her. Readers, meet Kim Walker.

I usually wake up between 5am and 5:30am and the first thing I do is look at the train apps on my phone to check if my usual trains are running. If so, I jump out of bed and have a shower. I then spend far too much time doing my hair and makeup, before my husband drives me to the station.

I live near Brighton, and so it's a long commute to King's Cross. I look at any emails that have come in overnight while on the train, and type up some replies. The rest of the journey is for me – I read, listen to music or watch some television I've downloaded. When I arrive at work, I like to have a wander around and find out how everyone is as I'm not in London every day. Then, it's time to clear the emails before getting on with my To Do list. It's never the same – every day is different because I'm constantly responding to what the members and staff are asking for, so although I have a plan each day, I have to be flexible.

At 9:30am we all gather for staff prayers. It's a good way of starting the day. We get a chance to pray for all the work we're involved in, as well as personal things. 

I'm responsible for looking after the archives. That can be finding answers to enquiries in the archive or looking for stories that we're going to write about on the website or magazine. I also do research for the staff at the Alliance – anything from finding out about a town or an area where somebody is going to be speaking to statistics on church attendance or the history of what relationships the Alliance has had with certain organisations over the years. 

I'm really pleased to also use my information management skills to manage all of the Alliance's electronic information and files. This means when we moved to cloud storage, I was invited to organise how our files would be structured – basically where staff save their work and how. It sounds boring, but actually it's really important. If people can't find their work, it's a disaster. Whatever skills you've got you're invited to contribute here – it's one of the best things about the Alliance.

This morning I'm reading some articles from an old magazine of ours from 1903 and choosing ones to prepare for an article we're going to write. We're very fortunate to have material in our archives going back to 1846 and its really good to be able to tell stories from the archive because it helps explain why we're doing what we're doing today.

I have lunch as early as possible. As I have such an early start to my day, I get hungry. I have a quick sandwich in our library, and then get back to work. Lunch is really just the start of food for me – I like to have nibbles throughout the afternoon!

My afternoon might involve having a look at how my volunteer Graham is doing and thinking about what work he could help us with next. He's a retired chartered librarian, so he helps with the cataloguing and indexing of archive material, which is really helpful.

I worked in public libraries for 20 years, and when I became a Christian I quickly felt I should move into using my skills for a Christian organisation. I love working at the Alliance because it's very varied. I care very much about what the Alliance is trying to do, and everybody who works here is really amazing.

I leave the office at about 4:15pm and walk to the station. Getting home on the trains can be very challenging! I save a favourite TV show and some chocolate for the journey as a treat. I'm a bit slipper and pipe! 

When I get home, between half past six and seven, I usually have an amazing meal made for me as my daughter's a great cook. I eat, and then we tend to watch television together as a family. If I haven't been working in the office, I look forward to going to an exercise class in the evening. I arrive early to have a drink and chat beforehand. The teacher's wife is Taiwanese, and she brings in lots of different teas from Taiwan to try. I love standing around chatting and drinking the tea.

I try not to do too much before bed to make it easier to go to sleep. I read somewhere that the optimum time for getting to sleep is 10:34pm – so I aim for that! 

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