Ask The Expert: Women in Nonprofit IT

Women in technology has been a key topic in the news lately, with recent reports showing a decline in the percentage of women in computing and technology roles. Women in nonprofit tech frequently face the additional common nonprofit challenges of limited time, funding, and resources. As nonprofit technology jobs continue to grow, nonprofit professionals—men and women alike—have the unique opportunity to shift this trend.

In this Ask the Expert session, we’ll speak with three women in nonprofit IT roles as they discuss the pros and cons of the “Unicorn Effect,” of frequently being the only woman in the IT department. We’ll explore how women can tap into the opportunities available to them, what skills are important to learn, and examine ways to develop and recruit more women to IT roles.

Key Takeaways:

  1. How to overcome some of the common obstacles unique to women in nonprofit IT jobs

  2. Tips for women looking to advance their career in technology positions

  3. Ways organizations can attract and hire women technologists


Speaker: Leonie Smith
Leonie Smith is the Director of Human Resources and Systems for The Redwood—a 33-bed emergency shelter and community service provider for women and children fleeing abuse in Toronto. Leonie manages and implements Information Technology projects as part of her systems role, which also includes Human Resources and Facilities Management. Prior to joining The Redwood, Leonie worked in communications and fundraising for various social service agencies, such as The Alzheimer Society of Durham Region and Bob Rumball Centre for the Deaf. An accidental techie committed to helping do-gooders with paycheques, she sees technology as a central tool to help staff make lighter work of their administrative tasks and to facilitate better communication between teams.
Speaker: Edima Elinewinga
Edima Elinewinga is the Executive Director of Information Technology at the UN Foundation, where she manages all IT operations. Edima develops and executes Information Technology strategies to support the mission of the UN Foundation. In this role, she oversees the IT infrastructure, information security, systems design and development, applications, telecommunications, and audio & visual systems. Edima is committed to implementing efficient, cost-effective and secure IT solutions and infrastructure that align with the organization’s mission and evolving technology needs. Prior to joining the UN Foundation in 1999, she worked as an IT Contractor at the Covance Lab, Department of Education, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Edima is a Microsoft Certified Professional and has 16 years of experience in information technology and IT project management.
Speaker: Dar Veverka
Darlene Veverka has worked in Information Technology for over 17 years. She started out in IT working in non-profits on small networks, moved on to teaching MCSE courses as a technical trainer, and then moved into the corporate world. She worked her way up from Helpdesk Manager at an environmental engineering firm, through Systems Administration at a division of Johns Hopkins, and then on to Manager of Systems Administration for a large virtual school system. More recently, Dar was the Director of Information Technology for the NAACP and is now the Vice President of Technology for LIFT, coming full circle back to the non-profit world that she missed.