Mentoring, Teaching, and Training

My love of all things tech has led me to adopt the roles of mentor and trainer in many situations. I enjoy taking-on what frustrates people most, and devising ways for them to arrive at the solution on their own terms. Instead of simply giving the correct answers, this process encourages personal growth and independence. When there isn’t time to teach in-the-moment, I take care of the problem to the best of my ability, and work with colleagues to find a time for them to learn at their own pace.

Testimonial

“Rare, in my experience, among IT professionals, Alex has the ability to listen carefully and to quickly discern the needs of his non-technical colleagues. He is a patient trainer, an excellent researcher, and a flexible trouble-shooter, able to set appropriate priorities in a fast-paced environment.”

— David Eisner, President and CEO, Repair the World

Not everyone requires (nor wants) a helping hand, so with those friends, colleagues, and peers, I find it’s most useful to be straightforward about what works and what doesn’t so others can learn from my mistakes.

Presenting at 2014 Nonprofit Technology Conference

Clicking on the screen-shot above will take you to a copy of the slides.

In 2014 I presented at the 2014 Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) Conference in Washington, DC about Repair the World’s launch of our volunteer management database. I candidly discussed my peers about the ongoing struggle of user-adoption by our full-time volunteers, and the techniques we found that succeeded (mandated daily usage), and failed (attempting to make data entry fun).

Organizing Nouns (People, Places, Things, Ideas)

When it comes down to it, my knack is for organizing nouns - I find inefficiencies in how systems work and don’t stop brainstorming until I find a solution. I’m always exhilarated when I find the right product fit for a team.

A lot of my previous work has revolved around learning from a team about what they need and want to succeed at their work, searching for the best product (database, email platform, content management system, etc.) adapting it to a team’s needs, working out the kinks, training the team, and then ensuring that they can run the system independently.

Testimonial

Alex was able to approach the broadly defined position and quickly focus on those areas where the impact of new systems and processes would be most immediately felt… His friendly and easy-going demeanor enabled him to successfully navigate even those sensitive situations where staff felt challenged by the limits of complexities of technology.

— David Eisner, President and CEO, Repair the World

Zoho Database Errors

Working out the kinks with Zoho CRM

I’ve personally administered multiple databases (including Salesforce.com, Zoho CRM, and Digital Cheetah), and independently consulted on the launch of data-systems at my peers’ organizations in the nonprofit technology community.

In my earlier work, I organized the entire operations for 12 yearly events ranging from 40 to 2,000 attendees. Every attendee had to apply, then register, have a place to stay, know where to go (and when!), and have programs ready for them when they arrived. Together with my team, we made the process seem seamless.

Success Despite Limited Resources

If there is one thing I’ve learned from the nonprofit world, it’s how to Get Stuff Done when resources are scarce - I have found ways to stretch a dollar and an hour efficiently and effectively.

Success in every project and product is driven by stakeholders’ requirements and desires. I often have to strike a balance between competing and even incompatible project needs, while keeping all members of a team satisfied with their involvement and working towards our common goals.

Testimonial

[Alex] was extremely resourceful in researching and recommending solutions for a broad range of computing needs from network architecture to remote meeting participation. He cultivated useful external relationships that greatly increased our access to expert advice.

— Sharon Pollack, CFO and VP of Operations, Repair the World

Prioritizing Database Needs

Prioritizing Database Needs. Sorry for the blur, but most of the information on the chart is proprietary.

Writing and Editing

In college I wrote for my University newspaper about the social inequalities I saw in the world around me. Since then, I have been blogging, and editing my friends’, coworkers’, and family’s resumes, speeches, and papers. As someone once told me, I’m the rare geek who not only can write, but enjoys writing. I often find that the largest obstacle in any task is proper communication, and I emphasize communicating clearly, accurately, and concisely in all of my efforts.

Launching Ventures

Over the past five years I have volunteered with PresenTense, an incubator for Jewish social-startups. I have advised dozens of entrepreneurs on their business plans and technology behind their ventures.

Taking Computers and Software Apart

As a kid, my favorite hobby was taking apart computers, printers, anything I could get my hands on. It wasn’t until a few years later that I figured out how to put them back together again.