posted 5 Mar 2010 in Volume 13 Issue 5
Meet the board: Cora Newell
An interview with the latest addition to the Inside Knowledge Editorial Board
Most of you will recognise the latest addition to the Inside Knowledge Editorial Board immediately, having read her ongoing ‘Challenging preconceptions’ series, which is currently featured within these pages and those of our sister title, KIM Legal.
Cora Newell brings with her a wealth of experience gained from working as both a
By way of introduction, she tells Kate Clifton some more about her background in KM, her career highlights, and what makes her tick outside of work.
Can you tell me some more about your background in KM?
I started off as a City firm corporate transactional solicitor before taking up a KM role within a large firm, which was essentially a KM
Increasingly, the role then became more hybrid in nature, incorporating not only corporate law support but also more central, strategic initiatives. Eventually, my roles evolved into central, strategic functions where I was responsible for firm-wide initiatives and projects.
What have been the key moments or highlights of your career thus far?
An early highlight was successfully overcoming the rigours of obtaining a dual UK and US qualification, as I had originally qualified as a US attorney at law and been admitted to the New York Bar.
After qualifying as a
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
The person who stands out for me is my unfailingly optimistic grandfather who, when he died at the age of 92, had effectively lived two quite discrete lifetimes – through necessity rather than choice, due to the Nazi occupation of Austria during World War II.
Unlike many in his position, he foresaw the danger and managed to get his family out in time. Despite leaving all his worldly goods behind, he put the past behind him and managed to create a successful life for himself and his family in the
Which aspects of KM do you enjoy the most, and the least?
At its best, KM is about working with others and devising creative, innovative solutions and developing harmonious and efficient working practices.
At the other end of the scale, is uninspired leadership, who can mistake KM as ‘process for process sake’, which fosters unnecessary bureaucracy.
How do you think your background as a lawyer and practitioner helps in your work with KM Insight Consulting?
It’s a great advantage to practice as a lawyer before specialising in KM as there’s no denying that, as a breed, lawyers can be more difficult and resistant to change and systems than some.
I can put myself in the shoes of my consumers and understand where they are coming from – their needs and concerns – then do my best to meet their requirements. I can also offer non-lawyer clients a more heightened awareness.
What do you think are the biggest challenges currently faced by KM practitioners?
Given the recession, I think the biggest challenge for some is basic survival. With more increased scrutiny of the bottom line, KM practitioners really need to cut to the chase and work with their users to identity those strategic priorities that will enable them to deliver the much needed value that firms and clients are looking for.
Of course, the intangibility of KM isn’t helpful, even though there are some measurement metrics out there.
Also, with the current constraints on budgets for both people and IT systems, KM professionals must exploit the existing communication networks, systems and technology. I really hope that the ‘Challenging preconceptions’ series which I’m writing for IK and KIM Legal highlights that even in these constrained economic times, there are some very good examples of innovation out there.
What do you think will be the key developments in KM over the next 12 months?
Aside from the economic issues, I think that coping with the information overload is a major challenge. There is an increasing appetite for project and case management on both sides of the
Also, I think that there will be an increasing trend in employing KM in unusual ways, which have not been seen previously. In other words, to help support alternative fee and fixed fee structures.
Outside of work, what are you most likely to be found doing?
Chasing endorphins: walking on Hampstead Heath with a friend and looking out for herons, kestrels and kingfishers; working out at my health club, and practising tai chi and yoga. I also enjoy trying out new recipes and I’m completing my novel, which follows on from my recent MA in prose fiction.
If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Passionate, forthright and energetic.