Want an insider’s look into what it’s like to work for one of the world’s leading education technology companies? We’ve got you covered. In our Extraordinary Employee series, ProQuest dives into the lives of our colleagues, asking them how they joined ProQuest, what they do, and what makes ProQuest such a unique and rewarding place to work.
Today, we interviewed Natasha Edmonds, Senior Books Sales Specialist.
What do you do at ProQuest?
I am a Senior Books Sales Specialist in the EMEAI team, based in the UK.
Why is the work you do so important to our customers?
Books are at the heart of the library, whether they are in print or ebook format. Having a job where I can help a library build and curate their book collection is really rewarding as I know that this will have a direct impact on the student and researcher’s overall learning experience. Book specialists are trusted sources of information and our sales approach is very consultative and requires that we form very strong working relationships with our libraries over several years. Our customers value our product, workflow, and content expertise and recognize that these solutions help to improve their day to day working lives as well as being of great benefit to their end-users.
What’s your professional background – anything interesting or unique to share?
Prior to working at ProQuest, I spent almost ten years working in libraries, seven of those within Higher Education at a university. I am a qualified librarian with an MSc in Information Management, and I am also a self-confessed data geek, so anything to do with usage data or trends tends to get my attention. During my time at the university, I was also a member of the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion group and worked very closely on initiatives around race and accessibility.
What motivated you to get into your current field?
I wanted to learn more about aggregation and content, especially ebooks. Ebooks are such highly desired and globally well-used resource types and the landscape has changed considerably in the five years that I have been at ProQuest. I wanted to be involved in discussions around new acquisition models, platform enhancements, and issues that affect user experience, which the role has thankfully allowed me to do.
What brought you to ProQuest? What’s one thing that surprised you about working here?
I was a long-time customer of ProQuest, so I knew that the company had a very good reputation in aggregation and a genuine focus on the customer. I was asked to do a customer/supplier joint presentation on DDA (Demand Driven Acquisition), and I remember thinking to myself at the time that it would be a company I would like to work for. When a role came up in the Ebooks team, I decided to apply.
The one thing that still surprises me is the number of librarians who work at ProQuest. It’s always great to meet a fellow librarian here and we are located all over the company in various roles.
What do you like about working here – both the job itself and the rewards/benefits?
The libraries that I work with are very different, meaning that my conversations and work vary from one day to the next so there is no chance of boredom. I enjoy being busy and this job certainly keeps me occupied but in a very productive way. The entire library community is very active and vocal and incredibly engaged with ProQuest, always encouraging us to improve our content and platforms. This is so important and means that we are always striving to do better and that keeps me extremely motivated.
The main benefit of the job is that it has allowed me to travel to incredible places all over the world and meet some wonderful people.
What are your ultimate career aspirations?
I’m very passionate about education and equality. I believe that information should be accessible to all, regardless of their background or where they are in the world. I hope that I will have a career where I am able to influence this in a significant way.
What other fun and interesting things do you enjoy doing? Have you found anyone at ProQuest that shares your interest?
I enjoy going to museums, traveling, most sports, and the theatre. I would highly recommend “Sleep No More,” which is an immersive theatre experience that blends Shakespeare and Hitchcock, but all audience members get to walk around and follow the characters and storylines that interest them. Hard to describe, but very enjoyable!
I am also a fan of horror films but have yet to find anyone at ProQuest who shares that same passion.