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

Colleen McClowry

The 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.

Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

iSchool alumni selected for 2019 ALA Leadership Institute

Anne Miskewitch (MS '05), deputy director for Schaumburg Township District Library, and Elisandro Cabada (MS '17), medical and bioengineering librarian at the University of Illinois, have been selected from a highly competitive pool to participate in the American Library Association Leadership Institute.

Illinois High School District 214 named National School Library of the Year

High School District 214, located in Arlington Heights, Illinois, is the recipient of the American Association of School Librarians' (AASL) 2019 National School Library of the Year Award. Sponsored by Follett, the annual award honors a single school or district-wide school library that exemplifies implementation of AASL's "National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries." High School District 214 has an iSchool connection: two of the district’s librarians, Dawn Ferencz and Kim Miklusak, have participated in the School's continuing education program.

Ruan receives CALA Distinguished Service Award

Lian Ruan (MS '90, PhD '11) has been selected as the recipient for the 2019 Chinese American Librarians Association (CALA) Distinguished Service Award. According to the announcement from CALA, "Dr. Ruan has been dedicated to Chinese-American librarianship throughout her career. She has committed to the growth and integrity of CALA as a strong ethnic professional association through her outstanding leadership [as Vice-President, President, and Executive Director], passionate activism, and professional involvement."

Lian Ruan