Personal and Professional Development through Giving Back

Since joining the ATLIS staff last April, I have been impressed by the tremendous spirit of giving back that runs through our community of technology leaders and educators. At ATLIS, we are certainly thankful for how the members of our community are eager to inform and share with colleagues, to connect around shared concerns and ideas, and to reflect on professional practice as we ponder how deeply technology is embedded in nearly every aspect of independent schools.

But what has struck me most lately is that giving back in the context of ATLIS’s programs, whether it is done to expand the knowledge base for all, or to create relationships through shared stories, or just because because it feels like the good and right thing to do, giving back also plays a huge role in personal growth and professional development. It stretches us as we create learning pathways with cherished colleagues and challenges us through friendly competition. By giving back to the larger tech community, we learn together and grow the profession. -- SD

(15-minute read)

Members on Giving Back

Late last week I reached out on very short notice to a few ATLIS members who have given of themselves to our community in recent months. In typical style, they responded to my request for comments immediately, sharing their thoughts generously for this post.

"Giving back to the tech community is really an opportunity to reflect on my own practice. Inevitably, the conversations lead me to a better understanding and new insights. There is incredible power in discovering you are not alone, face the same challenges as others, and can work together to find solutions."

-- Shandor Simon, Latin School of Chicago (IL)

When I was a mid-level manager, my supervisor (a seasoned IT professional) recognized that there were certain skills I needed to move to the next level of leadership. Over the next year, he took it upon himself to provide comprehensive mentoring in board relations, strategic planning, vision articulation, and budget management. I was able to move into my current leadership position because of his commitment to foster and encourage a professional early in her career. I volunteer because I literally wouldn't be where I am today if he hadn't taken it upon himself to volunteer, and I want to honor his work by doing the same for others.” 

-- Jeannie Crowley, Ethical Culture Fieldston School (NY)

It has always been important to me to give back to the tech community. I will chime in whenever I can on a post to the ISED Listserv or to [the ATLIS] Slack. Although I am always busy, it is important to share expertise with others. You never know when you may need to post a question and need a response back yourself!”

-- Barry Kallmeyer, Hathaway Brown School (OH)

Call for Volunteers

There are, of course, as many ways to give back to our community as there are people in it. Shandor Simon actively mentors for our Early Career and Aspiring Technology Directors (ECATD) program. Jeannie Crowley recently offered her wealth of observations on conducting a SIS review in meticulous detail for our Leadership webinar series. Barry Kallmeyer regularly shares his know-how insightfully on the ISED-L listserv..

We hope you will find the best way to share your talents and expertise with the ATLIS community -- and to expand your personal and professional growth in the process. Opportunities to make a difference include nominating yourself or someone else to our Board, joining task forces and review panels on accreditation and cybersecurity, sharing your expertise through webinars, journal articles and blog posts, moderating discussions on Slack or hosting one of our User Groups, mentoring, and collaborating on our annual conference. (See our Call for Volunteers here.)

You can start now by completing this form. If you don’t see something that speaks to you, write to us directly. I would be happy to hear your thoughts at [email protected] .

Let us give thanks then for the richness of our community and for all we have to share and to learn from each other.

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