Here are the influential voices leading the conversations where nonprofits and technology overlap.
Quo Vadis Property Management converts industrial-use warehouses into high-end loft-style office space. Given the distributed nature of the construction business, Natalie Voland, the Quebec company’s president, needed a way to make sure her staff of 22 full-time employees could communicate quickly and easily.
Voland began using a BlackBerry smartphone about six years ago to keep tabs on company doings while she was on maternity leave. Voland became such a believer that she bought Research in Motion smartphones for her entire staff, and the devices are the first things she issues to new employees.
The Quo Vadis team uses the BlackBerry Torch 9800, a slider phone that includes both a touch screen and a keypad. But it’s the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) feature that’s critical to Quo Vadis’ workflow. Voland keeps multiple BBM groups on her phone — including administration, accounting and construction — and can send mass messages quickly. It also enables instant problem solving, she says.
“A pipe burst during a new construction project while I happened to have been in Germany,” Voland says. “My construction person has a BlackBerry, took a picture of the pipe and where it broke. I got the picture and knew exactly what needed to be done, and I sent back an e-mail immediately, giving him instructions. I think that took all of about 15 minutes, and that saved me money.”