Written by Elizabeth Turner
Elizabeth Turner is a technology project manager utilizing Knowledge Management (KM) capabilities at TPG Global – a private equity firm in Fort Worth, Texas. She has led software development, training, and implementation projects for teams and systems of all sizes.
Elizabeth is the Smithsonian Libraries’ appointee to the International Federation of Library Associations KM Section Standing Committee and chaired its 2017 Open Session in Wroclaw, Poland. In 2019 she will present an AI software demonstration for libraries at the IFLA KM Satellite Meeting at the Ionian University of Corfu, Greece.
Recognized in 2018 as speaker of the year by the DFW Knowledge Management Community of Practice, she has given KM-focused presentations around the US and internationally to audiences of hundreds.
She is also a classically trained ballet dancer and performed 2011-2018 in contemporary works by the Irving-based nonprofit Momentum Dance Company.
Where do you work and what do you do?
I currently work at TPG Global, LLC as a Strategic Initiatives Manager in Firm Services. My career path has been at the intersection of finance and technology since 2006. Currently my role has three parts:
- embedded project/process management for our global Technology, DevOps, HR, and Accounting teams,
- product management for 3 different software systems in use at the firm
- IT Liaison for the business in terms of change awareness and adoption
What was your major at UTA and when did you graduate?
I graduated from the Professional Program in Business (PPIB) December 2006 and received my honors baccalaureate in information systems (B.S.I.S.), and my master’s in information systems (M.I.S.), with a concentration in project management. Fun fact: Since I was the first graduate student to choose this concentration, it meant I got to take Project Management courses in the College of Business, College of Engineering, and even an Operations Management course in PM before the curriculum was figured out.
Why did you choose your major?
I changed my major a couple of times while I was an undergrad, which I think is very common! I ultimately decided on an MIS because I wanted to learn to program and understand database structure and implications, while leaving my career options open for other pursuits like project and knowledge management. I ended up going on to get a second master’s at Texas Woman’s University in 2010 in library science (M.L.S.) and this was largely due to the inspiration, mentorship, and guidance I received from former UTA Libraries Dean Gerald Saxon and UTA Libraries Director Tom Wilding. This was so meaningful to me because I had wanted to be a librarian since I was 11 years old.
Why did you apply to the Honors College?
When I applied to UT Arlington I was 14 years old and the Honors College had a program to help early admissions students. Since I had a semester left of high school that I completed simultaneously with my first semester on campus, it was helpful to my admissions counselor to see that I was already accepted to the Honors College and offered a scholarship – I was fully admitted to UTA after Spring 2001.
Do you have a favorite memory from your time in the Honors College?
Some of my favorite memories are connected to time spent with fellow students in the Carolyn Barros Reading Room. Dean Barros was a huge influence on my decision to be an Honors College student and remain actively involved in the HCC. She was so supportive of me as a whole person as well as a student, a ballet dancer, a teen, a young writer…I really cherish her and her leadership!
What was your Senior Project over?
I designed a relational database for media contacts in use by the Arlington Public Library System.
What was it like being an HCC Officer?
Student Leadership for me was a constant connection to the pulse of the campus. As an honors student, it gave me contacts and opportunities to socialize with others in my peer group without worrying about being the only ambitious, intellectually curious one in the group. I carry friendships from my time in Honors American Studies and HCC still to this day. Serving as Newsletter Editor gave me a chance to write and create and complemented my other roles nicely. Other roles in organizations I served included Student Congress Senator, UTA Ambassador, Mav Maniacs Spirit Team (Vice President), Business Constituency Council officer, Association of IT Professionals officer, and the University Library Committee (5 continuous years).
How did the Honors College prepare you for your professional career?
The Honors College was one piece of an elaborate puzzle that helped shape my career path today. I would say that Dean McMahon really encouraged me to persist and get my senior project done despite tremendous adversity in my life and I will be forever grateful for that. The experience of being around focused, determined peers in my honors coursework was comforting and rewarding. In contrast, being able to set myself apart to some of my professors while auditing traditional courses for honors credit was satisfactory. If I hadn’t done that for Philosophy of Law I would have never known about Lawrence Lessig and his Creative Commons work (pre-Change Congress). Later I had the opportunity to meet Lessig and escort him around campus when he came to visit UTA and guest lecture at a Technology event!
What advice would you give to current Honors students?
Keep your focus on your goals! Use time management and planning to make the most out of your experience at UTA. Keep in touch with your contacts after you graduate. Remember these few years are just a blip on the radar of the rest of your life – you will only have the memories and a piece of paper when it’s done. I wish you well in your journey onward!
Check out some of Elizabeth’s contributions to The Shorthorn: