Career Corner: Information Technology
Position Title: Senior Director of Information Technology
Education: Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) – Computer Information Systems from Georgia State University
Master of Business Administration (MBA) – from Georgia Institute of Technology
Hometown: Decatur, Georgia
Length of time at Zoo Atlanta: 2 years
Tell us about your job and any projects you are working on.
I have the pleasure of supporting and contributing to the technology ecosystem at Zoo Atlanta. We have a great IT Team here at the Zoo, and we get to work on challenging problems together to support Zoo Atlanta’s mission. We maintain communication platforms and information systems that aid Zoo operations.
I love getting the chance to work with so many different people and personalities each day. I’m constantly learning something new from my peers, and it inspires me to be more creative. We have a lot of departments here at Zoo Atlanta, and it’s amazing to see how technology plays a major factor in people’s day-to-day jobs. We also have the benefit of serving guests each day (we’re only closed two days a year!), and it’s very rewarding to enhance their experience.
What attracted you to this field?
Access, opportunity, and flexibility.
From an early age, I was lucky enough to have access to a personal computer and was able to tinker around with the hardware. I learned quite a bit by being hands-on. By the time I was a teenager I learned about virtualization, which gave me an opportunity to create countless software environments. I was able to take risks and make mistakes without the fear of ruining my equipment. This helped me learn at a rapid pace and gain confidence.
When I started to think about possible careers, I had many friends and school counselors suggest the IT field to me. I learned that the experience I had gained from my personal hobby translated to skills companies needed.
Lastly, I really enjoyed that there were so many avenues that I could pursue within technology. At my university there were courses on hardware, software, network administration, information security, database administration, web development and much more. I knew I had options if I ever had a change of heart.
What do you consider to be the highlight of your career so far?
Being able to feed an elephant and configure a network switch for the elephant care team in the same day!
What prepared you for your job?
Nothing can truly prepare you for working at the Zoo! What’s helped, though, is having an open mind to work with diverse opinions and to not be afraid of daunting tasks.
What advice would you give to students interested in your career?
Be curious and explore, find a mentor who can help, and don’t be afraid to take risks.