Meet Judy Allison of Laughlin Children’s Center!
TNotes: What is your “real” job title?
JA: I am the Client Information Coordinator for Laughlin Center in Sewickley.
TNotes: Why are you considered an accidental techie?
JA: I’ve always been curious about how things work and attracted to the latest electrical gadgets. I realized I had an aptitude for working with technology but until recently was self-taught. Nonprofits do not generally have the budget for both purchasing technology and hiring someone to support it. So I just started helping when someone had a problem.
TNotes: What do you like best about dealing with your organization’s technology?
JA: I am fortunate to work for an organization that is open to technology and using it to make us more efficient and to provide better service.
TNotes: What do you least like about dealing with your organization’s technology?
JA: When I have a lot of my “real” work to do that is the time when something stops working for no apparent reason.
TNotes: What is your big dream for technology in your organization?
JA: Actually I have two. One is having all client information in one place that is user friendly and accessible to everyone who needs to access it. The other is to use the developing technology that would enable children to learn in new ways.
TNotes: How do you manage your role as accidental techie?
JA: I try to be proactive by scheduling routine maintenance on a regular schedule. I try to use requests for help to educate users. I am also starting to make screenshots to help users learn to use equipment and perform tasks. I hope to move all of these to a file on the network and also to print them out for a notebook. When faced with a problem, there are several web sites I use. I also try to network with others who know more than I. This is another benefit of Bagels & Bytes and the help you can receive from the Bayer Center.
TNotes: Any words of advice or encouragement for other accidental techies out there?
JA: Don’t get discouraged. We all learn through trial and error. You can usually find most answers online. If possible, take some courses at the Bayer Center or a local community college. Self-teaching can only go so far.