Lisa Jervis has been an NTEN member since 2014.
Give us a brief overview of what you do in your work.
I am one-half of Information Ecology, a two-person consultancy that helps organizations answer overall questions of “What do we need from our information systems and how can we get it?” That means looking not only at software features but also at the human practices that have to go alongside any piece of technology to ensure that you actually get the outcomes you need from it.
Concretely it’s a lot of asking questions about what is and isn’t working in given area (e.g., CRM, shared files, project management), organizing what folks say into a combination of process recommendations and software features that can be evaluated, having a series of discussions about pros and cons of different scenarios, and writing up plans and documentation.
I’ve been consulting for almost 4 years now and doing ops work, including tech management, for more than 20.
What motivates you to do what you do? What are you most excited or passionate about?
So many things! Most of the people I work with are social justice organizers, so being able to concretely support movements for racial, economic, and gender justice is why I do what I do. Second is that strong operations (and for me that includes technology management as well as finance, HR, office management, facilities, all the stuff that is too often dismissed as “overhead”) make up the container that all the program work fits into. When your container is not strong enough, things fall out and break. Our sector can’t afford to have broken programs. Standing up for the importance of the container is one of my personal life missions. Aaaaaand I just get to nerd out a lot about things like faceted classification and usability heuristics.
What’s been the most helpful for you about being in the NTEN member community?
I love all the discussion lists and how easy it is to seek support from and exchange ideas with the community. And connecting with fellow ops nerds.
What tech tool could you not live without?
Totally banal but Google Calendar + Calendly. I would not know where to be or what to do without my calendar, and Calendly is scheduling software that helps me avoid the dreaded back and forth about times that work.
What might the NTEN community be surprised to know about you?
Aqua aerobics is my new jam. A friend of mine got me into it and now we are at the Y together two mornings a week doing underwater jumping jacks and singing along to 80s pop.