Meet Paula Pagnotta of Jewish Residential Services!
TNotes: What is your “real” job title?
PP: Office Manager
TNotes: Why are you considered an accidental techie?
PP: The Director of the Agency had told me at one point early on that she was confident in my ability to know when my abilities were exhausted and someone else needed to be called in. I guess that is a good trait in an Accidental Techie. I was hired as the “Office Manager” but evolved into the Office Manager/Network Administrator. I had taken a few computer classes and have always had somewhat of an aptitude for technology. As the agency’s in-house network became larger and more complicated, it became a larger part of my job.
TNotes: What do you like best about dealing with your organization’s technology?
PP: I have learned a lot over the years, for the most part, from people who really knew what they were doing and did not mind letting me watch or help them do it. I like being able to help people solve their technology issues. It is very rewarding to accomplish something. Sometimes I even amaze myself.
TNotes: What do you least like about dealing with your organization’s technology?
PP: The technology part of my job can take over at times. Sometimes when the technology issues happen, it may not always be the most convenient time for the Office Manager part of my job. Certain issues in both job titles have to take priority. Juggling both positions and prioritizing is sometimes difficult, but I enjoy doing both.
TNotes: What is your big dream for technology in your organization?
PP: I had already realized one of my goals for JRS which was to have everyone on the same platform and provide connectivity to all of the sites. We were able to do that about 3 or 4 years ago when we had a VPN Network installed with the help of staff from Red Square Systems. We are now looking for a database to serve our residential program and afford the residential staff the ability to access the database remotely from our clients’ homes to do case notes and other data entry. I hope to help the agency through this transition and expand my techie knowledge and ability.
TNotes: How do you manage your role as an accidental techie?
PP: I love working with technology for the most part. I try to be sensitive to the needs of the staff as well as our clients in the different programs while still keeping the agencies needs and goals in mind.
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?
PP: Going to the Bagels and Bytes meetings offers me the opportunity to sit and talk to real techies as well as other accidental techies and share knowledge and experiences. When I have a problem, I can usually find an answer or at the very least a connection to someone with an answer.
TNotes: Any words of advice or encouragement for other accidental techies out there?
PP: Go to the Bagels and Bytes meetings! Expand your knowledge base while enjoying coffee and bagels!!