Director of Technology New York Cares
I’D LOVE TO BUILD AN APP FOR THAT
Fast fact: Tweet her @jjjlo
Jess Lopez, an alumna of Brown University, joined New York Cares in 2005 and has been the go-to technology person at the organization ever since, rising from online marketing manager to director of technology at the largest volunteer management organization in the city. Last year, New York Cares mobilized over 62,000 volunteers, including hundreds of corporate, civic and youth groups, to help improve the lives of over 400,000 struggling New Yorkers. As director, she is responsible for communications with over 1,400 participating agencies. Before joining New York Cares, she worked at her alma mater, providing tech support to students and faculty. In her spare time, Lopez, who attended a ski racing high school in Vermont, is an avid runner. She looks forward to competing in the 2017 New York marathon.
NYN: HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED IN YOUR FIELD?
JL: While studying art in college, I worked part-time on the computer help desk. I loved supporting the community and went full-time at the help desk after graduation. At that point web design and development became my passion and I left artwork behind. I’m completely self taught in web design. I love the nonprofit space because it’s important to me that what we do supports the community.
NYN: DESCRIBE AN ACCOMPLISHMENT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF.
JL: I spent the last year working on a major two-part infrastructure project, which improved our Salesforce interface with our donors and allows us a 360-degree view. After upgrading the old donor system, the second step entailed revamping our credit card collection process. We switched vendors and created an interface that talks to Salesforce and reduced costs. This new system has realized significant savings for the organization. It was a long process but well worth the effort.
NYN: WHAT CHANGE WOULD MOST HELP THE INDIVIDUALS YOUR ORGANIZATION SERVES?
JL: Currently New York Cares is focusing on a major education initiative with our partners. The programs range from reading aloud to preschoolers up to SAT prep for teenagers. Creating more programs like these to support education among the clients of our partners would yield the greatest benefit to the city.
NYN: WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU’D LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH BEFORE YOU RETIRE?
JL: In the long term, I’d love to build an app like an iPhone app. It would be great to create a tool for everyday use. Technology has the power to change the world. I recently designed a mobile responsive app for New York Cares that makes it easy for anyone to volunteer via phone if the spirit moves them. We want to make volunteering as accessible as possible.
NYN: WHAT DO YOU WISH PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT YOUR JOB?
JL: I wear 50 different hats! No two days are the same at a nonprofit, which keeps me from getting bored. I learn something new every day, and although the budget is restrictive, the limitation challenges my creativity to work within its parameters.