Meet a Member: Lori Baluta of Discovery, Inc.

This month, we’re getting to know Lori Baluta, Senior Photo Operations Specialist at Discovery, Inc. As most IHAF members know, the internal agency at Discovery was recently disbanded—with Lori opening up about everything from how she got her start to what it’s like for those who remain with the company.

In college, I studied archaeology, so what I do today is quite a departure! My first job out of school was in the marketing department of Artesia Technologies, one of the earliest providers of enterprise digital asset management (DAM) systems. Two years later, I joined a department within Discovery that was using Artesia’s product.

I started as an end-user, importing assets into Discovery’s DAM. And, as I showed interest and aptitude, my role grew to that of a system administrator. It’s been fascinating for me to witness, first-hand, the changes in the asset management industry—particularly the shift within companies who viewed DAM systems as nice-to-have, now recognizing them as integral to project workflow.

In connecting with other IHAF members over the years, I’ve benefitted from hearing and learning about their experience implementing project software systems and the issues that go along with change management. Nothing prepared me, however, for the type of change that took place at Discovery late last year when our internal agency was dissolved.

If you attended the 2018 IHAF Conference, you may have sat in on Jen Cortner’s brave and incredibly honest presentation, which featured Kelly George and James Gilbey. The three talked about the shuttering of Discovery’s internal agency—a casualty of massive restructuring brought on by Discovery’s acquisition of Scripps Networks and its decision to relocate the corporate headquarters from Maryland to New York City.

It was disheartening to witness the departure of my brilliant, talented, kind colleagues—many of whom I’d worked with for over a decade. There wasn’t time to look back, however, as those of us remaining needed to get our brands (formally internal clients) up to speed on what services we would and wouldn’t continue to offer. For me, that meant focusing on solutions for our ex-network clients to get their assets onto our DAM for global distribution.

While it remains to be seen how my role will evolve, I now have the pleasure of working with my photo team colleagues in Legacy Scripps, as we collaborate on everything from shoots and asset workflows to discussions on system requirements—all for the success of our future-state team.

Thank you, Lori, for your candor and your willingness to share. We wish you well and look forward to what the future holds for you and your team. If your team has a tale to tell, please be in touch. We’re always interested in learning more about the people and personalities that comprise our enduring community.

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