Tag: Leadership

As part of this month’s “Best of 2014” series, we asked Leading Change Summit attendee and Idea Accelerator project lead winner Yee Won Chong to reflect back on community conversations, progress, and opportunities explored during 14LCS and beyond.

Steph: Equity in technology was a recurring theme throughout the 14LCS. What were your impressions of the conversations of which you were a part?

Yee Won: I agree with many of the speakers that, if we are serious about diversity and inclusion, we have to integrate these values into everything we do. My impression is that most people want to address issues of inequities, especially in the technology world, whether it is nonprofit or corporate.

I recently read in Fast Company Magazine that “African-Americans represent 13.2% of the U.S. population but account for just 1% of the people who hold tech positions at Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and Yahoo.” When we talk about equity in this country, we need to be explicit about racial inequities. And gender inequities as well.

While I was glad to see that this was a front and center conversation at LCS, we’ve just skimmed the top, so I hope to see ongoing conversations, as well as deeper conversations about the cultural, institutional, and systemic racism and sexism that created and continues to maintain this digital divide.

What are a few ways you can see or imagine that technology could or should be used to further equity?

Technology is a neutral tool. We can use it for good, bad, and everything in between. Social media gave me a sense of our collective outrage over the injustice of Michael Brown and Eric Garner’s deaths. This kind of outrage is needed to sustain social justice movements that create change.

Here’s my somewhat cynical perspective: Technology made many millionaires and billionaires. It has sped up gentrification and widened U.S. income disparities.

While I think that the technology field should become more diverse and inclusive, give a lot back to communities, and use more socially responsible practices, fundamentally our priorities are completely upside down! How do we justify paying a person who creates a gaming app three and a half times more than a person who educates our children? What if we shifted corporations’ incentives? Instead of hoarding financial wealth, the primary incentive should be to create positive impact. Nonprofit techies are already doing it. All tech companies should do it.

What were some highlights for you at the 14LCS?

The best part about gatherings like 14LCS is meeting new, cool, and awesome people. I also enjoyed playing the “where-have-we-met-in-the past” game with a few familiar faces.

I loved the open format of 14LCS. It was an environment where you can test out ideas knowing that other people will be encouraging, supportive, and give you good feedback. I saw the twinkle in some people’s eyes when they talked about their ideas.

And, of course, the Idea Accelerator was one of the highlights for me. I probably had a twinkle in my eye, too! I’d not been exposed to a fast pitch competition before. It was a humbling experience to receive first place and the community choice award.

You pitched the “Say This Not That” project for the Idea Accelerator. Can you talk about the need that this project?

Say This Not That’s mission is to support people and organizations in bringing more consciousness to language that cultivates greater trust between people.

The nursery rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me” was intended for children dealing with bullies. Well, it’s not true that words will never harm me. Verbal harassment can have lasting negative impact. Our language reflects our behavior and vice versa.

Here is another example. When we use the phrase, “Boys will be boys,” we are giving a pass to unacceptable behaviors. We are completely omitting our responsibilities in shaping the lives of children. If we keep using that phrase, we become directly responsible for the aggressive and sexist behaviors when those boys grow up to be men who harm each other and harm women. Our language shapes our societal culture.

We have a choice: continue to be unconscious about our language, or change the way we communicate.

What are next steps for “Say This Not That?”

There are already seven community organizations that are part of this project. With help from the talented and wonderful team at LimeRed Studio, we’ve submitted Say This, Not That into the DML Trust Challenge. We’ll know on January 4 if we are one of the finalists. Winning this challenge will give us the funding we need. I’m also looking for talent such as researchers and IT talents. Email me if you are interested to help with this platform and community!

What do you wish were a larger discussion in the nonprofit tech community? How do you think we can get there?

The tech world is starting to look around and notice the people who are missing from the room. But there is more to diversifying the field than just creating the “pipeline” and increasing access. Let’s figure out how organizations don’t just have revolving doors, where people of color and women enter, and then leave because conditions are unbearable. Let’s talk about who gets to shape the conversation. We cannot truly tackle inequities without talking about systemic privilege. We are in the thick of it right now.

Change, September 2014The 15th issue of the NTEN: Change journal is out, focusing on Advocacy and Visual Communications: How to Rise Above the Noise.

This issue is packed with actionable ideas, intriguing interviews, and impactful case examples that’ll help you show what your mission means, and why it’s important.

>>Read the September 2014 issue! (read it on your desktop, mobile device, or Issuu app)

Articles and interviews in this issue examines visual communications and advocacy across a range of angles. Features include:

We also go behind the scenes with the Ad Council, Global Voices, Forward Together, and Free Geek, and both Coalition for a Livable Future and the Westchester Children’s Association demonstrate how they transformed heaps of data to put their mission priorities on the map. Also, meet Omar Vulpinari, the man behind some of the most provocative visual campaigns.

Plus, learn how to use Storify to capture insights at your next event, discover low-cost tools for visual communications, and tips on how to build a compelling visual library.

>>Enjoy, and subscribe! Get this journal for free every quarter in your inbox by subscribing today.

There are many ways to approach technology leadership. For some, it’s about recognizing and putting to use the latest and greatest technologies. For others, it’s about taking a thought leadership position and leveraging that position to speak at prominent tech conferences, or embracing a set of ideals and finding open source alternatives to address your technical needs.

To me, the most exciting development in tech leadership right now is the emerging movement towards greater inclusion in the technology space. This movement focuses on a few key areas:

  • Economic Equity: Why is equity important? According to research, equity and inclusion are key factors for a prosperous region. In the tech world, we’re seeing activists intensify their efforts—in San Francisco and beyond on—to fight against rapidly rising housing prices, and debate the “Brogrammer” culture phenomenon. These issues, if not addressed with more equity in mind, could become as problematic as the labor issues consumer product companies faced just a few years ago.
  • Access to Information: As advances in technology take hold across the world, tech literacy is becoming essential to gain access to information. In order to reach as many people as possible, the digital divide must be closed.
  • Career Development: With technology playing a larger role in achieving success in the new economy, it’s vital that the tech industry take a leadership stance in creating inclusive workplaces. The demographics of America are getting more diverse, and employers should reflect the communities they do business with in order to help drive innovation.

Think Global, Act Local

Right here in Portland, where NTEN and FMYI are headquartered, the technology sector has created 10% of all of the city’s new jobs. In order to help increase the number of traditionally underrepresented groups finding new opportunities as part of this growth, a couple of local tech inclusion-related initiatives are gearing up:

  • The Technology Association of Oregon’s TAO Foundation and Self Enhancement Inc.’s STEM, robotics, and programming are working with kids from diverse backgrounds to get them interested in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
  • The Portland Development Commission’s Include, Innovate, and Invest program takes a similar tact with adults, working to grow the next generation of diverse leadership in the tech community. It supports leaders from Portland’s underrepresented populations and provides mentors that will help forge the next generation of Portland’s tech workforce.
  • There’s also Chick Tech, which is working to help keep women in today’s technology workforce while simultaneously increasing the number of women and girls who are inspired to pursue careers in technology.
  • Finally, Epicodus has been using an education-based structure that has attracted mid-career change professionals, women, and people of color in the software development field.

How You Can Make a Positive Impact

Where to start? Here’s a handy framework to consider as you build inclusion into your day-to-day activities.

  • Develop an Inclusive Culture: Find similar groups mentioned above in your community. Attend their events, listen, learn, and help support them. We’ve benefitted greatly from our involvement and support of nonprofits over the years.
  • Let Your Product Speak: How can your technology efforts create a better world? This could be through features, implementations that assist ongoing initiatives, and donations.
  • Consider Certifications: Investigate programs like minority and women owned business certifications and B Corporation registration for yourself or for your supplier/vendor diversity efforts. B Lab’s free B Assessment has many inclusion-related criteria and can help with ideas for how to improve your performance as a certified and registered B Corporation to grow our triple bottom line.

As part of a mission driven organization, and as someone who makes use of technology, you know the importance of inclusion, equity, innovation, and tech on making a difference. Think about how your tech efforts can enhance inclusion, and how your tech tools, vendors, and initiatives can more fully integrate equity to produce triple bottom line results. Together, we can help provide technology leadership for a better world.

It’s that time again!

If there’s a session you hope to see at the 2015 Nonprofit Technology Conference in Austin, TX—even if you don’t want to present it yourself—please read the Breakout Session Submission Guidelines and submit a proposal. The form is open through June 22, 2014.

Who will read and review the submissions? Well, for starters, you can! The community voting platform will be open in July. After that, Team NTEN will work closely with this year’s Steering Committee to finalize the content.

Speaking of the Steering Committee, allow me to introduce them. In April we put out the call for volunteers and were totally overwhelmed by the response. It was very tough to narrow down to the following group, but we’re thrilled to have them on board.

15NTC Steering Committee

  • Beth Becker, Founding Partner and Lead Digital Strategist, Indigo Strategies
  • Nikki Berrian, Senior Director of IT/Facilities, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta
  • Andrea Berry, Director of Development, Hardy Girls Healthy Women
  • Or Cingilli, Director of Technology, Maclellan Foundation
  • Luis Cornejo, Information Systems Manager, The Baby Fold
  • Erin Fogel, Self-Employed Freelancer, devcollaborative
  • Jen Frazier, President, Firefly Partners
  • Katie Fritz, IT Strategy Consultant, Katie M Fritz LLC
  • Lauren Girardin, Marketing and Communications Consultant, Lauren Girardin Consulting
  • Karen Graham, Director, Technology & Innovation, MAP for Nonprofits
  • Nicole Hedges, IT & CRM Solutions Manager, Ounce of Prevention Fund
  • Maya Jakubowicz, Director, Finance & Administration, Women Make Movies
  • Allyson Kapin, Partner, Rad Campaign
  • Aimee Lorenz, Digital Engagement Manager, Feeding America
  • David Nero, Chief Information Officer, Perkins School for the Blind
  • Rose Olea, Director of IT, American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society
  • Carlos Orue, Technology Manager, Youth Guidance
  • Neel Patel, Founder, MGNFY.it Chairperson, CommunityRED.org
  • Kathy Plate, Online Communications Director, Ultraviolet
  • James Porter, Associate Director, External Relations, The END Fund
  • Sue Anne Reed, Account Manager, The Engage Group
  • Graham Reid, IT Manager, Catholic Charities
  • John Roig, Vice President of Information Systems, Family Central, Inc.
  • James Servino, Associate Director, Online Mobilization and Social Media, Human Rights Campaign
  • Sara Rowland, Director of Client Services, International Data Management
  • Devon Smith, Director of Social Media and Analytics, Threespot
  • Rachael Stern, Public Affairs Manager, Planned Parenthood Pasadena & San Gabriel Valley
  • Dar Veverka, Director of Technology, LIFT
  • Robert Weiner, President, Robert L. Weiner Consulting
  • Leon Wilson, Senior Director, Technology and Data Engagement, Michigan Nonprofit Association
  • Meico Whitlock, Senior Manager, Communications, National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors

We know this power team will help make the 15NTC programming our best yet!

We also have an Austin Host Committee, an NTENer Center Committee, and an Advocacy Lounge Committee, and we’ll introduce you to them soon. We’re still accepting newcomers to our #ntcgreen Committee. If you’d like to help make the conference as Earth-friendly as possible, please leave a comment below or email events@nten.org.

Update: We have been overwhelmed and thrilled by the response to this post! Applications are now closed. Stay tuned for opportunities to be involved in the #15NTC in other ways, or consider applying next year.

Hard to believe it was just one month ago that 2,000+ nonprofit techies descended upon Washington, DC for the 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference. And it’s almost harder to believe that it’s already time to form our steering committee for 2015!

Want to help shape the agenda and programming by reading through session proposals, brainstorming keynote and breakout speakers, and otherwise helping to make sure that 2015 is our best year yet? Let us know.

We’re looking for 15-20 enthusiastic and diverse people who are dedicated to the idea that if nonprofits and NGOs want to meet their missions, they must be using technology effectively – and that conferences like the NTC can be both an energizing, empowering starting point for “accidental techies” and a useful gathering place for more advanced practitioners.

Committee members are asked to:

  • Be available for several conference planning calls (approximately one per quarter), between now and March 2015
  • Weigh in on discussion threads via a private group on MyNTEN throughout the year
  • Set aside some time this summer to read through breakout session proposals, help spot gaps in the program, and perhaps help brainstorm diverse new voices to add to the mix 
  • Bring a positive energy to the planning process and attend 15NTC with bells on

Active committee members receive complimentary registration to the conference.

Previous NTC attendance is not required, but helpful. If you’re already a member of the 2014 Leading Change Summit Steering Committee, we ask that you just focus your energy there this year rather than trying to do both.

Still with us? We’ll hold our first Steering Committee call on April 29, so please fill out this form by Wednesday, April 23, 2014.

independentsector2014.jpg

NTEN is proud to partner with Independent Sector (IS) to bring its 2014 National Conference to Seattle this November 16-18. Last year’s conference in New York gathered more than 1,200 nonprofit professionals, including more than 400 nonprofit chief executives.

At the 2014 National Conference in Seattle, you’ll find plenary programs featuring thought leaders from the nonprofit and philanthropic sector, alongside breakout sessions that will zero in on the most complex questions of our day. With pre-conference sessions targeted to emerging leaders and policy pros, and a full conference roster of content for professionals and executives across the nonprofit and philanthropic community, the IS Conference will arm nonprofit leaders with the knowledge and connections they need to work toward the greater good in the Pacific Northwest, across the country, and around the world.

Online registration for the conference launched today, and as part of the NTEN Community, you are entitled to receive discounted registration rates. When registering, please use the following code to receive your member partner discount:

  • Independent Sector Conference 2014: November 16-18
    Discount code (save $450): PartnerNTEN
  • Public Policy Action Institute Pre-Conference: November 15-16
    Discount code (save $150): PPAINTEN
  • NGEN Pre-conference: November 15-16 
    Discount code (save $100): NGENNTEN

When you register with any one of these codes, please also include this code: MPartnerNTEN. 

To learn more, visit the conference website or contact Liz Culkin at Lizc@independentsector.org.  You can view registration rates, a tentative schedule, and see more about this year’s and past conferences.

cover_march2014changejournal.jpgWhen the words of our quarterly theme, “innovative and competitive” come to mind, I think about what we can learn from farmers.

To enjoy the fruits of our labor, we need to be flexible and responsive to external conditions, and have the patience to see it through to harvest. You can’t rush nature, but you can set yourself up for success.

The articles in the March issue of the NTEN: Change journal capture stories of nonprofits in transition; they’re transforming from one stage to another, using technology to fuel their campaigns, initiatives, and to optimize their day-to-day work.

>>Read the March 2014 issue! (online or mobile device)

Here’s a quick snapshot of what’s in this issue:

We also go behind the scenes with Ask Big Questions and Text, Talk, and Act, and Bonnie McEwan explores the campaign tactics behind PETA’s campaign against SeaWorld.  We converse with the team from the Ashoka Empathy Intiative and DataKind demonstrates how data can, in fact, save lives.

Plus, check out 15 Minutes to Better Website SEO, and the NTEN Voices section: community tweets, our transition to become a community-driven organization, sustainability, and more!

>>Enjoy, and subscribe! The NTEN: Change publication, designed especially for busy nonprofit executive directors, departmental directors, boards, and other leadership staff, is free and ready to download!

True to its name, the Change journal is changing. We’re proud to welcome new Editorial Committee members, and introduce Ashley Paulisick, the artist behind the cover painting. Look inside to learn the story behind the cover portrait, a tribute to Juanita Baltodano, President of the APPTA Fair Trade cacao and banana cooperative in Costa Rica. She is the real farmer that brought inspiration to this issue – even age-old farming practices can be revitalized for broader community impact.

Having never managed a project, I was thrilled when the Executive Director asked if I wanted to be the project manager for the website initiative. As a team member, I had watched project managers explain a project and worked with them to determine the required work and assign tasks to individuals. I was accustomed to meeting weekly to discuss a project’s progress and resolve any issues and requested changes. Project management seemed easy and straightforward. What else did I need to know?

As soon as the project started, I was in trouble. Project management was definitely not as easy and straightforward as it seemed; in reality, planning and managing a project was hard work with many touch points. The Executive Director, board members, and volunteers expected me to have all of the answers to every question and know how to resolve every conflict. Because I was struggling, a few of the board members and volunteers started providing advice—including offering different tools and templates based on their project experience. One board member even donated a copy of Microsoft Project recommending I use the tool to plan and manage the project. I tried, but I found I was spending all my time trying to figure out how to use Microsoft Project. Forget about determining the required work. Meanwhile, my list of to-does just kept getting longer. Not only was I confused, I was frustrated and overwhelmed.

HELP! The Executive Director and I agreed—I needed assistance. We decided the best solution for our nonprofit was finding an experienced project manager whom I could call periodically, a person who could guide me, but not replace me. I called her “Coach.”

Coach listened patiently as I explained the dilemma and then started to ask questions. There were a number of the questions I could not answer, but she kept probing. Finally, Coach said “Set Microsoft Project aside, at least for now. Tools such as Microsoft Project and templates are enablers to assist a project manager and team but you need to understand a few basic concepts for the tool to be effective. All the advice you are receiving is making this project more complicated for you than it should be. Additionally, you should think about implementing processes and controls that are as simple as possible and ensure that what you are implementing fits your nonprofit’s culture. Simply put, you need to walk before you run.”

Coach went on to explain that anyone embarking on planning and managing a project for the first time should focus on three critical activities:

  1. Define the outcome: Start by defining the product, service, or result—the outcome—and understand the importance of the outcome to the nonprofit. Focus on understanding the wants, needs, and expectations of the project as well as exclusions. Document the project definition by writing it down. Think of the document as a contract because this is what the team is agreeing to deliver—it is the reference document explaining the project’s goal, requirements, and acceptance criteria. Different nonprofits call the project definition different names such as a project charter, scope document, or project initiation document. Do not get hung up on the name of the document, rather, focus on its’ content.
  2. Plan what needs to done to accomplish the outcome: Use the project definition as the starting point for creating a plan to create the outcome—the deliverable or result. Some nonprofits hear the word plan and immediately think of a formal document that takes forever to create or think they must use a project-planning tool such as Microsoft Project, a tool no one may know how to use. As a result, the nonprofit skips this step and “wings it” hoping the project is successful. People forget a plan is a method or an approach for doing something; it can be recorded as an excel spreadsheet, a flip chart with a flowchart, or a diagram with notes. It is as formal or informal as needed by the project and the nonprofit. Creating a plan is not hard but it does take time to create a realistic plan that outlines the project work (scope), determines the schedule (time), and budget (cost). It is not uncommon to overlook potential work or over- or underestimated the amount of time required to complete a task, particularly when team members have dual responsibilities or some of the team members are volunteers. No plan is perfect and plans change all the time.
  3. Work the plan: Execute the plan by monitoring and controlling the work with the aid of a “status report.” Working the plan means focusing on the work required for a particular task and striving to complete the task by the planned date (on-time) at the planned cost (on-budget.) Adjust the plan as appropriate. How formal or informal the monitoring and controlling is depends on the nonprofit’s culture as well as the project culture. The “status report” is a tool that assists with the monitoring and controlling. Although the status report should be a formal written document, it needs to fit with the culture and it should not be an administrative burden. It is a working document supporting the project manager and team. The status report could be as simple as notes on the plan documents. What is important is the team communicates and collaborates. They work together to complete the work, resolve issues, identify potential risks, and address change requests.

The more we talked, the more I came to understand there is not one right way to plan and manage a project. I recognized that I would make mistakes and it is acceptable to say “I don’t know.” I learned that not all the tools and templates people recommend are right for every project. The most important thing—I understood and appreciated the fact that managing a project is not as easy as it appears. There will be obstacles and challenges but if I focused on three critical activities and ensured the processes and controls fit the nonprofit’s culture, the likelihood for project success improved.

Just about every time I meet with a nonprofit executive to discuss some technology project, within the first few minutes I hear: “I’m not a technology person.” But who is? Why don’t we hear “I’m not an accountant” or “I’m not an expert in evaluation” or “I’m not an expert in governance”? Many executives don’t approach management and leadership in these areas with the same trepidation as they do technology. And yet the same skills that make any leader effective are appropriate to managing technology.

I believe some of the fear comes from the fact that technology changes so fast, and it is harder to know what you don’t know. Not being a technology “expert” makes people uncomfortable – it is full of acronyms and concepts foreign to the average user. It takes a strong leader to feel comfortable demonstrating their ignorance by asking questions. Why is this particularly challenging for the nonprofit sector?

In our experience, we have seen less “permeability” between the nonprofit world and the government and commercial sectors – with many nonprofit staff having spent their whole careers in the nonprofit sector, reducing the transference of knowledge of commercial best practices in. There are other exacerbating circumstances – the generational divide, with younger staff bringing different expectations to the job, smaller capital budgets, and the ever-present focus on keeping overhead low – all increase the challenges for appropriate technology use in nonprofits.

Yet the basic skills that great leaders apply to other parts of their jobs apply to the management of technology. Basic skills:

  • An ability to get things done and get them done well – if you’re a “can do” person, you can do this
  • Create a long-range technology plan that keeps mission as the focus
  • Finding good people and trusting them while holding them accountable for performance
  • Due diligence – getting multiple quotes for any large purchase or project, checking references and performing peer benchmarking
  • Budgeting and tracking spending, performance and schedules, and evaluate your performance
  • Ensuring there is clarity in your organization in terms of role and responsibilities and overall reporting structure
  • Supporting your staff – with communication, training, and elicitation of feedback from all levels
  • An eagerness to learn what you don’t know

Technology decisions are hard. The material is complex and unfamiliar, benefits are hard to quantify and the often significant costs can run beyond initial estimates. And while we hate stereotypes, the network or database engineer explaining a new system or problem may not be good at explaining the issues in layman’s terms. There can also be great variation in prices between one project and another.

So what does a nonprofit leader really need to know about and do in information technology? Our list includes just a few key items:

  • Understand the scope: Your nonprofit’s technology environment includes your domain name, website, social media accounts, hosting services, technology contractors, hardware, software, network, software systems (both desktop and enterprise), services, and elements related to risk management (backups, viruses, security). You should start with a good and complete understanding of what you have.
  • Get people you trust: We don’t expect nonprofit leaders to become technology experts, any more than they should be expected to understand accounting like a CPA or the law like their counsel. What leaders must do is find and form long-term relationships with technology experts they trust – whether as in-house staff or outside contractors.
  • Plan: While none of us can predict the future, you can be sure your website will look old after a few years, software will need to be upgraded, and technology opportunities will come up that may be of real benefit to your organization. If you have a strategic plan, you should have a technology plan, updated every year and with an associated budget.
  • Protect: While reserves can cushion that unexpected expense, a theft of donor credit cards, website hack or catastrophic server failure with an unusable backup can cripple an organization. Technology plays an instrumental part in protection.
  • Manage the FUD: Especially within the context of a new system deployment, Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (yes, this is a real “thing”) can kill the best. The people part of technology is as important as the technology part.
  • Choose IBM: No, we don’t mean that literally. We mean that you should favor industry standard approaches to “future proof” your investments.
  • Do the Math: Most technology investments should pay for themselves (otherwise, why do them?) Take the time to prepare a real cost / benefit analysis of your options.

Along the way, we have seen our nonprofit leaders’ blind spots. Take care to:

  • Keep your software up-to-date. You know what you get for your maintenance and support fees. New versions include new features, as well as security updates and bug fixes.
  • Avoid the “do it yourself” mentality. While your staff may not cost as much as a contractor, they probably have better things to do and it will take far less time to leave it to the experts.
  • Pay what it costs. Too often we have seen nonprofits take the lowest bidders or worse, only consider the hourly rate and not the total project cost. Combined with due diligence to ensure the price is fair and reasonable, you will get what you pay for.
  • Negotiate: Contractors expect negotiations. Read contracts thoroughly and negotiate terms.
  • Don’t Cede Control: While having experts and vendors you trust is important, that doesn’t mean you can cede control to them. You have to stay involved throughout any significant engagement.

There is no magic bullet in technology. Many times, small improvements come from small actions. Most nonprofits are advised to build on their existing base – of software, of internal capacity and staff skills and familiarity, and of basic business processes.

The benefits in technology are significant. Some of the benefits different kinds of technology initiatives have include:

  • Saving money by increasing staff efficiency and effectiveness
  • The ability to scale. Perhaps you can manage 100 constituents on a spreadsheet, but when you get to 1,000 and more, you need a new way
  • Increased reliability in infrastructure
  • Creating new opportunities for your program
  • The ability to focus on key performance indicators
  • Less reliance on contractors by implementing systems that can be maintained by in-house staff or that require less support

You don’t have to be a technology person to manage technology. You have to believe it is important – as nothing gets done until and unless you prioritize it. Then apply the same excellent leadership skills you bring to your job to technology.

November is Member Appreciation Month at NTEN. Our staff interacts with our community in different ways; here’s why Amy Sample Ward, CEO, loves our community!

In preparation for today’s blog post, I tried to make a list of all the technologies and tools I use each day in support of my work. It was a long list – so long that I didn’t actually finish it – but what I thought was most telling was that the NTEN community was a part of the list. Whether it’s a tool that we heard about through the Discuss list and adopted ourselves, or new strategies for thinking about our work shared on a webinar, or even the opportunity to reflect and share with you on the blog, the NTEN community is critical to our success as an organization, not just a community.

This is especially true when thinking about the technology we use to support leadership positions – which isn’t limited to my job! Did you read Julie’s post last week (it’s okay if you didn’t, you can read it now)? Using all of the tools available to us (our blog, myNTEN groups, social media, webinars, events, conferences, evaluations, etc.), all staff are able to listen and learn along with the community to be the best leaders they can be. Delivering programs, events, and services to a community as diverse as the NTEN community requires that all of us regularly be connected, sharing ideas and asking for feedback, and really using technology to help us serve you better.

I would love to hear how you and your organization use different tools to support your leadership – both your leadership staff as well as your leadership in your fields. Are there specific tools or processes that you can’t do without? Are there tools you wish existed? 

Thank you for being part of NTEN – #ntenthanks for all you’ve brought to this community in 2013!