TNotes: What is your job title?
JL: Network Administrator
TNotes: How did you get into working in nonprofit technology?
JL: I started consulting after I was laid off from a previous job. A friend of mine who worked for the Allegheny Conference/Pennsylvania Economy League of Southwestern PA asked if I would be interested in a part-time IT help desk position. I worked as a consultant for three years while attending a technical school to train for the Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE) certification. Soon after earning my certification, I was offered a full-time position as the Network Administrator.
TNotes: What do you like best about dealing with your organization’s technology?
JL: There is a lot of diversity in my position which I really enjoy—server administration, phone and voicemail setup, help desk support on software and hardware, security system administration, and whatever else plugs in. Troubleshooting questions/problems is a welcome challenge for me. Working with my users on how to best utilize their resources is rewarding.
TNotes: What do you least like about dealing with your organization’s technology?
JL: Even though I provide my users with information about viruses, spyware, and trojans attacks, some users still manage to get infected. Even with internet and email firewalls and software to protect against malware installed on all systems, systems are still vulnerable to infection.
TNotes: What is your big dream for technology in your organization?
JL: If we were to win the nonprofit lottery, I would like new systems for everyone. As an IT person, people do not call you about their system’s performance when things are running smoothly. They call when they are frustrated when their system is slow and is impeding their productivity.
TNotes: How do you manage your technology role within your organization?
JL: Deployment of security and window updates occur on a regular basis on all servers, desktops and laptops. Problems/issues are dealt with as they are brought to my attention. I like to know about problems when they occur and not three or four weeks later. Monitoring systems is also important to keep things operating smoothly.
TNotes: You are a regular attendee at one of the Bayer Center’s Bagels & Bytes group – what do you get from going to those meetings?
JL: I did not know what to expect prior to attending my first meeting. Information I received from these meetings has helped with various aspects of my job. We just moved to a new building. At one of the meetings, I received contact information for a broker who could help us with phone and internet service. The service that the broker provided proved very beneficial. Listening to stories of what happens or doesn’t happen in other organizations put things in perspective as to what our organization has when it comes to resources.
TNotes: Any words of advice or encouragement for other nonprofit techies out there?
JL: I used to feel that I had to know it all in order to be successful as an IT professional. That is impossible given how quickly technology changes. I realize that even the brightest do not have all the answers. You need to rely on others to help you grow in this field and hope that you are one step ahead of the hackers. The reason I selected this field was because of change and challenges. It can be stressful at times, but I value what I have learned over the years.