Careers for Change Profile: Zachery Tapp

“I really fell in love with Salesforce….It clicked that this was a viable career path.”

This post is part of a series called Careers for Change, where each week we profile social sector rockstars who share wisdom about launching careers in the social sector.

After starting his career with Americorps, Zachery was hired by Cradles to Crayons. He now serves as the Director of Information Technology, where he supports the mission of supporting underserved children through creative problem solving and optimizing technology systems. With a focus on relationships and networks, Zachery uses his IT role to learn from and support the entire organization.

CRADLES TO CRAYONS

Title: Director of IT

Age: 30

College: Beloit College

Major: Sociology

First Job: Answering phones at a call center

Current Salary: $75,000-$85,000

What do you love about your current job?

I get to do something I love, which is moving the levers of technology to move the organization forward. Technology is a hobby of mine. I get to apply something I really care about, to an organization I care about, to a cause I really care about.

What’s the best advice you ever got from a work mentor?

A mantra that I feel I use here, as well as in others roles, is to ask for forgiveness and not for permission… I give myself room to try new things and innovate, and if you fail, fail quickly and be able to communicate mistakes and failures so they can be quickly rectified. A lot of my job is flipping a switch and seeing what happens, a learning process that is facilitated by having strong relationships in an organization.

What is hard about your work?

We’re a resource-constrained organization. For someone who’s a problem junkie like I am, I find it is a fun challenge trying to work within the small budget we have. We have great solutions on a small budget.

What’s a potential next step in your career?

One of the great things about working in technology is that my work touches almost every part of the organization. A new role that I’m taking on is looking at our business model and honing some of our processes. It’s an interesting potential move because technology still plays a huge role but it also allows me to get out of that comfort zone a little.

What advice would you give to a college student looking to build a career as a problem solver?

I think relationships are key. One of the things stressed in this sector is cultivating relationships. In technology there is really a portion of it that is about building a network within whatever your domain is. Learning from the big guys but also honing in on building a network of similarly minded folks. Finding my passion here has helped me build that network which in turn has helped me in my practice.

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