21NTC Session
Digital Inclusion

Beyond Beginner’s Mindset: Learn, Use, and Love your Data & Tech


There is perhaps no area of work other than data & technology where having a beginner’s mindset is so incredibly useful and essential, since the pace of change and progress is so electrifyingly fast, and there is always much more to learn. But we have things like the “Expertise Trap” and “Imposter Syndrome” and the straight-up societal pressures and institutionalized marginalizations that push certain people from thinking of themselves as “data” or “tech” people, or being able to guide others on their data & tech learning journey. In this session we will embrace the beginner mindset. We will practice a simple step-by-step method that can be used by any person doing any data or tech work to more successfully get to their desired outcome. We will also share L&D and PD best practices and approaches that can and should be incorporated into all levels of data & tech work.

Session Type

60 minute session

Learning Outcomes

  • Apply a step-by-step process for learning and using ANY technology
  • Overcome roadblocks to learning data or technology concepts and skills.
  • Present data/technology concepts and applications to any level of learner - meeting them where they are, and helping them grow.

Target Audience

a) You think you have a hard time learning or teaching data/technology, b) You are supporting L&D/PD.


Digital InclusionInterpersonalStaff DevelopmentTraining


Emily Hicks-Rotella

Nonprofit Data & Tech Strategist

Make Tech Work For You

Emily’s vision statement: All mission-driven, social justice-oriented people and organizations will have the confidence and skills to learn, use and love data & technology as part of achieving their missions.

Emily has over a decade of experience working with organizations of all shapes and sizes to support their data and technology culture and strategy. As part of this work, Emily supports staff members to learn, use, and love their data and technology, adds capacity to teams and organizations that need additional technical knowledge and skill, and uses a uniquely human and non-technical approach to develop and support a culture that sets up staff and organizations for success using data and technology for their missions and impact. Emily lives in the Bronx, New York with their wife and two young children, and when they aren’t being a total data and tech nerd, they are either singing outside, snowboarding, reading, or getting more tattoos.

Natalie Baez

Interim Director

Harlem Educational Activities Fund

While in high school, Natalie became an activist for college access and community development by creating opportunities for upward mobility through college access. Natalie has since guided over 4,000 students from low-income communities through the college application process. She is passionate about giving back to her community and helping to foster positive mentorship for disadvantaged youth. She holds a BA in Human Ecology from College of the Atlantic and is currently working on her Masters in School Counseling from Alfred University.



March 25, 2021


9:45am – 10:45am