How does Workday Financial Management support your growth plans?
As a geographically distributed organization, we needed a financial system that could give us insight into all operations. Our executive directors can now see real-time financial results for their geographies without having to depend on the finance department. They are able to make decisions more quickly with accurate data on costs and resources, and can focus more of their time on service excellence, recruiting and development, fundraising, and relationship building with schools, the community, and the private sector.
Workday has also made it possible to use natural language for business transactions through the use of Worktags. There is no jargon or need to reference “account number 5330”—spend categories have actual names, and that’s reflected in the reports. It simplifies and demystifies accounting and finance for the whole organization.
As CIO, how do you and your team work with the rest of the organization?
At City Year, my team and I position ourselves as professional enablers. We collaborate closely with the business to anticipate issues—in particular around growth—and offer ways that technology can help solve business problems.
We identify patterns and trends in the organization, such as a business requirement for data analysis surfacing in one area that might also be relevant to others, and develop an enterprise-wide solution to the problem. I work to ensure my team provides the highest level of service, and I evangelize that the way we work is more important than the tools we use.
What do you look for in IT talent?
I look for people with a business background; those who have spent time on the operational side of the business. Many members of my team are business systems managers, and those roles consist of 50 percent the ability to listen and interpret business requirements, and 50 percent domain expertise.
While technical skills are helpful, I want people who can adapt to changing circumstances, are problem solvers, have business analysis skills, and can develop the proclivity for working with systems. For example, we had a contractor on the learning development team who was creating training for our employees on how to use Workday. She was so curious and interested in Workday that we brought her on to our team, and she has been doing an amazing job.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice as a young professional, what would it be?
My advice would be to develop an attitude of ownership around problems and solutions early on in your career. Go into conversations expecting to contribute to the solution—that’s when people notice and want you in meetings.