Get to know Colleen McClowry (MS '12), knowledge manager at Spotify

Posted: August 10, 2016

colleen.jpg?itok=wzeNfBP0The company culture at Spotify is just one of the reasons knowledge manager Colleen McClowry loves working there. She encourages students to seek out job opportunities that align with their own personal interests, whether it be music or any other passion.

Where do you work and what is your role?
I work at Spotify as a knowledge manager for their analytics department. I'm helping to design, build, and manage a knowledge base that collects and organizes internal research papers, A/B test analyses, and other key insights and reports from across the business. I was previously in a similar role at Adobe.

What do you like best about your job?
The first thing that comes to mind is the culture. Spotify is a Swedish company that highly values open communication, diversity, consensus around company goals, and (of course!) fikas. These factors, along with the strong emphasis on work-life balance and the music-driven mission of the organization, align with my beliefs and interests. As an amateur musician, working at a company that encourages employees to form bands, hold open mics, and participate in music hackathons is a dream come true. I feel honored to be a part of it.

What do you see as the most important impact of your work?
Helping my colleagues work smarter. Spotify is a rapidly growing organization with hundreds of engineers, analysts, researchers, and music industry specialists—all of whom produce an enormous amount of data and insights. My goal as a knowledge manager is to preserve, organize, and communicate this output. By helping launch tools and processes for managing research throughout the company, I am helping employees interpret and discover information more efficiently.

How did the iSchool help you get to where you are today?
Connections and experience are the first two things that come to mind. During my studies at the iSchool, I had an assistantship position with the amazing Help Desk/ITD team. This opportunity provided practical experience that opened up new avenues for me in the tech industry. When I moved to the Bay Area after completing my MS, I was fortunate enough to have a built-in network of iSchool graduates also living and working in the area. This network helped guide my career and keep me up-to-date with emerging trends in the field. I'm glad to consider so many iSchool alumni my dear friends.

What advice would you like to share with iSchool students?
A degree in library and information science is unrivaled in terms of how interdisciplinary it is. From data mining, to programming, to management, to children's literature—the classes and opportunities available are endless. This is a huge benefit, but it can also be challenging to go from being a "jack of all trades" to launching a career with a clear trajectory....That said, my advice would be to seek out internships and experience to gain practical skills during your studies. Once you're working in your respective role, own what you know and build on that generalist foundation to build skills that you can use to your advantage. Lastly, I would recommend finding an organization that aligns with your passions. It will make your job much more enjoyable.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
My husband and I recently relocated to New York City from San Francisco, so in our spare time we love exploring different neighborhoods and trying restaurants in our new home. I also love practicing various instruments, spending time outdoors, and (surprise, surprise!) reading. Despite being a city-slicker, it's always been a dream of mine to own a small farm someday where I can have a vegetable garden and take care of rescue animals.

Filed Under: alumni news, alumni profile, Get to know