Meet Steve McDonell of ACHIEVA!
TNotes: What is your job title?
SM: Director of Information Systems
TNotes: How did you get into working in nonprofit technology?
SM: Technology has been a lifelong hobby for me. I had been in IT management for two years in the for-profit sector after completing my MBA at Robert Morris and wanted to work in the nonprofit sector to help make the world a better place.
TNotes: What do you like best about dealing with your organization’s technology?
SM: I enjoy researching and implementing technology-based solutions that permit staff to spend less time performing administrative duties and more time meeting the needs of our customers. I love the fact that I learn something new about our organization and/or technology EVERY day.
TNotes: What do you least like about dealing with your organization’s technology?
SM: It is difficult, at times, to get people to understand that technology alone is not the answer to all of our problems. Folks get caught up in the “ohhhhhhs” and “ahhhhhhhs” they see in commercials and seem to overlook that you still need to develop processes and procedures around even the best technology.
TNotes: What is your big dream for technology in your organization?
SM: I dream quite a bit. But to keep it short:
- Having no servers in my server room by implementing cloud-based systems so staff have 24/7/365 access to information from any device with Internet access and a browser. Good news! We’re almost there!
- Having IT work with ALL operating areas in discovering/employing technology in the direct service delivery to our customers. We’re making progress.
TNotes: How do you manage your technology role within your organization?
SM: Actively! Over the years, our IT Department has moved up the pyramid from reactive to proactive to a point where we add value to the organization. To get to that point you have to actively participate in discussions about the direction of the organization. Being included in those discussions is paramount to growing the role of IT within an organization.
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?
SM: It is nice to know that I’m not the only one out there facing challenges and, to be completely honest, commiserate a bit about it with my peers. The thing I appreciate the most though is bringing back information from others that had the same problem and what they did to overcome it. I also enjoy the free exchange of ideas and opinions on technology.
TNotes: Any words of advice or encouragement for other nonprofit techies out there?
SM: When in doubt, reboot! But seriously, there are still days when tech gets the better of me. On those days, I just think about how much I enjoy what I do and remember why I do it.