January 2, 2018

Member spotlight: Melissa Berrett

Melissa Berrett has been an NTEN member since 2012.

What’s your current position?

I’m the Director of Information Technology at the OHSU Foundation. I oversee a talented group of technicians responsible for maintaining our information systems and keeping our end users happy. I’m the internal IT solutions consultant and compliance officer. I provide strategic IT direction while keeping security risks at bay. Lastly, as part of the OHSU Foundation’s philanthropy focus, I collaborate with my colleagues throughout the organization to drive business intelligence and analytics technology.

Prior to my role at the foundation, I worked in in health care IT for more than 12 years managing and leading all technical operations and strategic decisions for nursing homes, home health, hospice, therapy and pharmacies. I came to the OHSU Foundation inspired to be involved in a not-for-profit organization while staying close to health care IT. What a deal!

What would you say most motivates you to do what you do?

I enjoy lots of outdoor activities so I often compare my IT motivation to climbing a mountain. Just when you get to the top and celebrate, you realize you are only half way done with your climb. Things are always changing in IT and I never want to feel stagnant or “done.” In IT, it’s so important to always be looking forward to what my team and I can accomplish to help the Foundation meet and further its mission. I like to stay curious and never settle for packaged solutions. If I always strive to keep aligning the Foundation’s IT strategy with its mission, we will continue to be successful.

What’s been the most helpful for you about being in the NTEN member community?

My favorite part about NTEN is the discussion boards for peer groups. I’m not an accidental techie that NTEN sometimes refers to; I was a true corporate techie in health care for more than a decade before switching to a not-for-profit, but once I crossed over I had a lot to learn. The NTEN members truly helped shape the not-for-profit tech landscape for me quickly, answering my questions in the forums and always with a friendly and collaborative style!

Tell us about a recent win (professional or personal).

We’ve always been a remote work environment using Citrix to serve up our applications to the end users, but Citrix can get limited. This year we provided iPad Pros to all of our fundraisers with the capability to use MS Remote desktop to log in to their devices from anywhere. We also opted for the Apple keyboards. This was a game changer for our staff and has truly helped our remote work be done more efficiently and, most importantly, securely.

We also implemented data visualization in 2017 using Tableau. What I thought was going to be a slow adoption became rapid because we partnered with a few operational gurus that had a vision for how to use data to answer questions. For example, we are now using data visualization to track donor behavior on our website.

What tech tool could you not live without?

There are so many to choose from! My iPad Pro is attached to my hip. It’s light weight, the larger screen is nice for spreadsheet work and I can do anything I need to from this device. The system admin in me appreciates RedGate for database monitoring and failed job notifications.

What nonprofit tech-related tip have you learned recently that has blown your mind?

I recently learned that there’s already a tool out there for mailing list management! We were looking at internal development, but this opportunity could help us immensely.

What might the NTEN community be surprised to know about you?

I have partial degrees in Environmental Science and Biology. Before switching my career path to IT (after taking 1 COBOL class), I thought I was going to enter into environmental law and conservation.

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