TNotes: What is your job title?
RS: Director of Technology
TNotes: How did you get into working in nonprofit technology?
RS: To make a long story short, I was changing careers and saw an ad in the paper for a data entry position. Eight years later, I’m the Director of Technology. So, anything is possible.
TNotes: What do you like best about dealing with your organization’s technology?
RS: I’m going to cheat and put in three: 1) seeing end users get something after you have taught them how to do it for themselves, 2) being able to put in technology that you know will scale for the organization as it grows, and 3) being able to research new technology.
TNotes: What do you least like about dealing with your organization’s technology?
RS: The amount of new systems and technology we’re putting in all at once, but that are needed. The challenge is making sure all the end users are trained and are willing to accept that change, knowing it’s for the good of the organization.
TNotes: What is your big dream for technology in your organization?
RS: Wow, that’s a loaded question. I would say video conference training. At ASSET, we want to be able to provide teachers anywhere with high-quality professional development for hands-on inquiry-based science.
TNotes: How do you manage your technology role within your organization?
RS: That’s like saying how many balls you can juggle at the same time. ASSET is a small nonprofit and I take on the role of both leader and doer – as many of us here do. That’s what makes this job so satisfying. You have to know how to plan ahead for where you will be in a year or two by understanding the strategic plan that has been laid out, as well as get your hands dirty and set up a computer in the warehouse for an end user.
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?
RS: I would say meeting people that are in similar situations with their organization and learning how they plan on tackling challenges. Some of us have been through it while others have not. Having this time together helps not only to get new ideas, but also to get a sense of understanding on what they’re going through.
TNotes: Any words of advice or encouragement for other nonprofit techies out there?
RS: The #1 piece of advice I can give is to have confidence – confidence in yourself that you can do anything, and confidence in your fellow employees that put forth the effort to make the organization the best it can be. Everything else will fall into place.