Overcoming Financial Obstacles With Kelenda James

This week on IAW’s podcast Unlimited HERizons our host and president, Megan Bozzuto, chatted with a member, Kelenda James, about overcoming financial obstacles. She currently serves as the Director of InformationTechnology at Commonpoint Queens. “My specialty is making sure nonprofits have the technology to go after their mission without interfering with the operating budget,” said Kelenda. 

Her expertise in the tech industry and her work with nonprofits make her a wealth of information. Here are some of the things she shared with Megan:

Listen to all the Stakeholders

Technology can be expensive. Making sure that you’re not overspending on your budget can get tricky. “We invest in tech with only the high-level participation of the stakeholders. We sometimes forget the quarterly stakeholder whose input would save us from falling down the rabbit hole. That is where the waste is coming from, not having all the stakeholders in the beginning,” explains Kelenda. “Many times it’s the loudest stakeholder that drives the project, but the client you want to serve ends up getting separated from the conversation. So, we are buying the tech with a limited view of the mission.” 

Resources are available 

Not every company or organization has a wealth of resources and finances. It costs money to go to school, buy the equipment needed to learn, buy textbooks, and pass certification exams. With a limited budget, you might not have the money to support your professional growth. Yet, if you are resourceful and open-minded, you can find the resources you need. 

Kelenda mentioned public libraries as a considerable resource for education, space to study, computers, and sometimes internet access. Certifications are a large portion of costs in the tech industry. “Research the company issuing the certification. Join their newsletter and, generally quarterly to yearly, there will be a special. If you use their self-taught materials and complete their self-taught courses in a short time, they will give you the voucher to take the exam,” said Kelenda.  

Everyone has a different way to support

Building a community of support also means understanding to what extent each person can support you. Someone might be able to cook dinner once a week, while another person can take your kid on an hour-long playdate.“You have to know what you need and break it down in small enough pieces so everyone has an access point to support you,” said Kelenda. Even if it is for a half-hour, find the support to get the time you need to invest in your professional development.

Want to listen to Kelenda‘s full story and get more advice? Listen to Unlimited HERizons updated weekly with different amazing professional women telling their stories. All IAW members can connect with Kelenda James in the IAW Community!

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