I am a co-founder of CTN which was established as a nonprofit in 2008. I volunteered for a year, worked part-time for two years and have been full time since 2011.
What does your organization do?
Community Technology Network (CTN) transforms lives through teaching digital literacy. The ability to use digital tools to find, analyze, create, and communicate information is a critical skill for the survival and quality of life of people everywhere. CTN works with a variety of underserved populations across the country to improve their digital literacy through training and education. We seek to improve the quality of life, the capacity, and the self-sufficiency of CTN's learners, trainers, and our partner organizations.
How did you become interested in this work?
I decided in 2003 to shift careers from graphic design to computer instructor. I started as a volunteer for the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and after a few months was hired to deliver basic and intermediate level computer skills classes. Over 3 years, I taught hundreds of adults and seniors how to use the computer, internet, and email. It was also during that time that I launched a volunteer computer trainer program and have since replicated and enhanced that model through CTN.
What drives your passion?
The internet is an amazing tool that has changed everything. Those of us with access and skills are at a great advantage that we take for granted. I feel passionate that everyone, regardless of age, income or education level, should be able to independently and safely interact with the internet. Without that access they are being left behind.
Did you have a mentor or role model?
I have had many mentors over the years who have helped me learn and grow. I highly recommend engaging this type of support to help keep your sanity!
What's the biggest challenge in your work?
Time management, prioritization and saying no. I get so excited about building partnerships and developing programs that I sometimes overextend myself. I have to remember to take time for planning and time for myself.
What's the best advice that you have ever received?
I had a coach help me tame that inner voice that was less than encouraging. It helped me get out of my own way.
What are your top tips for new Executive Directors?
- Build an amazing team (both board and staff) - Be thankful and appreciative of all the people who help make your mission happen - Track impact (to the best of your ability) as soon as possible