From Accidental to Intentional: Taking Your NPtech Career to the Next Level

Problem Statement

How do we shift “accidental” roles as tech workers into intentional ones? How can we formalize informal learning, get recognition for the work we do, and promote deliberate tech management in our orgs? How does this shift benefit our sector as a whole?

Nonprofit staff are often asked to wear many hats: the program director who manages social media, the office coordinator who doubles as a web developer, the grant writer who manages the database. This can be an opportunity for people without a formal tech background to learn new skills. For years, we’ve used the term “accidental techie” to describe this role, and it can be a wonderful opportunity to turn accident into intention.

If you enjoy the tech part of your job, but are unsure how to do more of it, get paid better, effectively advocate for smarter technology in your organization, and move from an “accidental” role to an intentional, professional one, this session is for you. We will talk about the benefits of approaching technology careers from non-traditional or unexpected backgrounds, concrete strategies for how to make this shift, and share our best resources for ongoing learning. We have planned a workshop-like session with discussion and networking, so come ready to dig in!

Johanna Bates
Technical Director & Front-End Developer
Johanna Bates began her nonprofit tech career in 1999 when she was hired to write marketing copy for a nonprofit publisher, and ended up hand-coding their first-ever online book catalog as 500 pages of static HTML. She was next hired to build WGBH.org in a new, custom, open-source CMS, and she never looked back. Finding she preferred rural to city life, Johanna moved to western Massachusetts and spent eight years directing technology and writing related grants for Community Partners, a statewide health care advocacy organization. Today Johanna is a strategy consultant, front-end coder, and Drupalist. She co-owns DevCollaborative with Erin Fogel, whom she met through NTEN. Her team focuses on building Drupal sites for orgs in sustainable ways that help them get the most for their limited funds. She's been an NTEN member for over a decade, served on the NTC agenda steering committee for four years, and co-moderates NTEN's Drupal Community of Practice.

Cindy Leonard
Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management
Consulting Team Leader
Cindy Leonard is the Consulting Team Leader at the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University. She works with the consulting team to maximize client satisfaction and identify areas for growth. Additionally, she creates and teaches a variety of Bayer Center classes, convenes Bagels & Bytes meetings and organizes the annual TechNow conference. Cindy’s consulting specialty is helping nonprofits to leverage technology to meet their missions. An experienced website designer, she adds website planning, design and assessment to the portfolio of services at the Bayer Center. She has trained several thousand nonprofit professionals over the past 11 years. Cindy holds a B.S. in Computer Science, an M.B.A. and a M.Ed. in Instructional Design Technology, all from Seton Hill University. She blogs at www.cindyleonard.org.

Jessie Rose Lee

Rev. Tracy Kronzak
Partner Training & Enablement Manager
Tracy is a CRM implementation strategy, change management, and organizational leadership and technology adoption expert. She has 20 years of experience in the nonprofit ecosystem and its related industries, including philanthropy, activism, research, technology management, and Salesforce CRM platform consulting and consulting business development. Tracy frequently presents at conferences nationwide on CRM selection/implementation, technology strategy, and women in technology. She attended Cornell University, holds a Master of Public Administration degree from New York University, and is a Salesforce Certified Administrator, Sales Cloud Consultant, and Platform App Builder. Prior to joining Salesforce.org, she was Co-Founder of BrightStep Partners, a strategic Salesforce consulting firm for nonprofits. She is a Salesforce MVP alumna, and served as an Implementation Partner Representative to the Salesforce.org Nonprofit Starter Pack Advisory Board, and as a proud NTEN Community member and former NTC and Leading Change Advisory Boards member. She is a member of the Temple of Isis in Geyserville, CA , a Goddess church community where she is an ordained Rev. Priestess. In her free time, she is a ceramic artist and potter, avid skier, bicyclist and hiker, and burgeoning markswoman.