Meet Peg Mulcahy of accessAbilities, Inc.!
TNotes: What is your job title?
PM: IT Director
TNotes: How did you get into working in nonprofit technology?
PM: I’m a second-career person. I earned a Bachelor’s in Computer Science while in my 40’s. Maybe it was that “mature” perspective, but after my first tech job where I felt that all my efforts were going to line someone else’s pockets, I decided to focus on organizations that really make a difference in people’s lives.
TNotes: What do you like best about dealing with your organization’s technology?
PM: My staff and the people I work with. Everyone here really cares about doing a good job. I work to provide the technology that helps solve the business process problems and frustrations that distract people from being able to do that good job.
TNotes: What do you least like about dealing with your organization’s technology?
PM: accessAbilities provides services for people with disabilities. While it is a good thing that we must maintain the highest standards for compliance and confidentiality, regulatory requirements change at a moment’s notice so we are continually working to meet new regulations. It becomes expensive and it doesn’t always directly benefit the people we serve.
TNotes: What is your big dream for technology in your organization?
PM: My goal is an integrated database system where information flows smoothly between departments, reports produce valuable information, and changes are relatively painless. I believe you have to have a dream and you have to keep chipping away at it, no matter how slowly it goes.
TNotes: How do you manage your technology role within your organization?
PM: My role as Director is to see the big picture: to make sure we have the policies and procedures in place to meet regulatory and business requirements, while at the same time to make sure we keep current enough with technology to effectively conduct our business safely. It is important to make sure that we are able to support that technology. I have been with accessAbilities a little less than a year, so I need to learn as much as I can about how people do their jobs so that our technology will be valuable to them.
TNotes: You are a regular attendee at the Bagels & Bytes-Westmoreland group meetings – what do you get from going to those meetings?
PM: There is always something new to learn and a different perspective to consider.
TNotes: Any words of advice or encouragement for other nonprofit techies out there?
PM: I started out in technology crawling under desks to string cables, but I wanted to understand more and more about how things work - not just computers and networks, but information systems and how people use them. Follow your instincts; you might be surprised where they lead you.