Despite the relatively small team here at Apps for Good, the roles within our organisation are very diverse and allow people who work for us to grow and develop their professional skill set. It’s a difficult task to single out one particular role, but we wanted to give an insight into one of the most exciting positions at Apps for Good: the role of the Expert Community Manager.
So, when she wasn’t too busy number crunching, we spent some time with former Expert Community Manager, Myrian, who now splits her time across two roles at Apps for Good: Data & Analysis Manager and Fellows Community Manager.
Tell us about the role of the Expert Community Manager, and what does it involve?
The Expert Community Manager is responsible for managing our community of Experts, tech professionals and entrepreneurs who volunteer to give sessions to our students who are taking the Apps for Good course. Within the community there is a great talent pool with people having expertise in everything from public speaking to idea generation – this allows for students to get some fantastic advice from those working within the industry.
Tell us about an average day in the role
Well, no one day was the same and that’s what I loved about the role! It also really varied depending on the time of year: for example, in the run up to the Apps for Good Awards in June, a focus of the role is to organise the tech start-ups that host the Finalist teams on their big day.
Each day I would monitor new session requests on our platform – it was always really exciting seeing all these requests uploaded by our educators and get to share these opportunities with our Expert volunteers. It’s a really fulfilling feeling once a match has been made, and then hear about the session afterwards from the Expert.
There are also lots of other exciting aspects to the role: producing communications materials, arranging meet-ups/events and getting to meet lots of new people. It’s a perfect role for someone interested in the UK tech-scene because you get to know a lot of really cool, smart and interesting people who want to help us on our mission to change education
What was one of the most rewarding aspects of the role?
It’s not just working on the Experts delivering sessions in schools – it’s so much more. In the past Experts have helped us tweak our course content, shortlist Apps for Good Awards entries, and provide internships and training for students beyond the course. Our 2014 Expert of the Year, Paul, came with me to an Expert recruitment event and ran an amazing workshop on idea generation with a group of young people – there are so many people in the community who go this extra mile and are really involved with us.
It’s also great that it’s a real global community. We started recruiting Experts in London, expanded across the UK, and now we hear back from educators and students who have had a session with Experts from places such as Uganda and Brazil! The educator who hosted the Expert from Uganda told me that her students had never heard of Uganda – they were from a primary school and they had the session via Skype – and so the Expert ended the session talking about his country because the kids were so fascinated about where he lives. In the Expert sessions, it’s not just about the students getting help to develop their project; it’s also about the students meeting people from around the world and inspiring educators.
We now have over 800 Experts, where is next for our community and what are the priorities?
For this year, the aim is to grow the percentage of female Experts from 25% to at least 40% – to surpass the current IT industry make up of 17% women. I really hope we can push this, so more girls get to know successful role models working in tech to breakdown stereotypes and inspire our female students to enter this industry.
The other big push for recruitment is in Scotland, where we’re in over 10% of secondary schools. We want our students to not only be exposed to Experts from around the world, but also hear local voices so they can understand the opportunities available closer to home.
From a strategic point of view, I believe it’s not so much about expanding the Expert community, instead it’s about behavioural change within our community of educators. One of the biggest challenges within this role is helping communicate to educators the real benefits of using the Expert programme – of which there are many!
How did you get into your current role as Data & Analysis and Fellows Community Manager?
While developing the Expert Community, I really enjoyed making evidence-based decisions to inform my work. When we were looking for a new Data & Analysis Manager, I was given the opportunity to head up that area within our organisation and look at ways how we can improve our impact measurement and internal process efficiency. On top of this, I was asked if I would lead a pilot project with our former Apps for Good students (our Fellows). It’s been a great chance to continue to engage these young people and provide them with opportunities to enhance their interests and skills beyond the Apps for Good course.
Although I was sad to finish working with our Experts, I was really excited to take on-board this new challenge. That’s what is great about Apps for Good – you get to grow into your own role and are not restricted to trying new things and being creative!
Click here to find out what roles we have at Apps for Good and get to know our team a little more!