It’s the 5th installment of highlighting awesome nonprofits, their leaders, and their use of technology. Today, we get to hear from Elana Ford, Founder and Executive Director at Starting Blocks (Facebook), an organization that is focused on preparing students for life. Beyond reading this highlight, be sure to check out her story. Her quest to help students is a great one… enjoy!
Self – Tweet
Laid back Corporate Warrior in Recovery seeks fellow intellectually curious people for conversation and toddler play dates.
Organization – Tweet
Starting Blocks teaches teens to get hired for jobs and internships that further their career goals. Be Prepared, Connected and Confident!
Best Book Ever
Elie Wiesel. Night. (Sorry, not for the lighthearted)
Favorite Mobile App
Does Fruit Ninja Count? No, seriously…Pandora is my answer. Now that I’m a mom, I have no time to make playlists or even hear new music. My perfectly culled Pandora stations can be accessed from anywhere and totally satisfy my music related cravings.
Biggest Work-Related Challenge
Not enough hours in the day. We are a 100% volunteer-run organization. Even I don’t expect a stipend this year and now that my day job is Stay at Home Mama, I have to pay to put Baby Girl in day care every time I want to work on Starting Blocks. I have a million ideas I want to pursue and I am trying to learn how to focus on the actions that will have the most bang and not take on too much.
I have two and because I have survived a wild animal attack and had a lot of time to think about life lessons, I’m giving myself permission to share them both. 1) Prioritize spending quality time with the people who are precious to you. Spend time just being together and don’t schedule yourself so tightly that you can’t build meaningful relationships with the people around you. 2) Take time every day to be thankful for the good things in your life. Don’t take even the smallest thing for granted. It will make you a happier person and more able to deal with life ebbs and flows.
Favorite 90′s Show or Movie
How are you harnessing technology to simplify work
Technology helps me stay organized and allows me to easily share information with my dispersed/virtual volunteer base. If used correctly technology can eliminate issues of version control, which could be fatal to an organization like ours.
What problems exist (if any) with the blending of technology and your work
Having grown up with a computer in the home (any one else remember DOS and Word Perfect?), I have always used technology to do things like manage workflows, store and organize data, etc in addition to more mundane tasks such as word processing. The biggest problem that Starting Blocks has right now is that we have too many different technologies which volunteers must contend with. Right now, on a regular basis, we must manage: A contact tracking system (Donor Tools), A mass email system, a document management system and an accounting system in addition to the home made spreadsheets we have to manage workflows. All of these talk to each other to some extent but its not automatic. Small Business is yearning for the App to rule them all or at least much more advanced integration.
Honestly, Fruit Ninja is a fantastic productivity app… meaning, if you are looking to be anti-productive, you should get it! Can you relate to Elana’s Work-Related Challenge? How do you determine what to do in your organization so that you get the most bang for your buck?
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