An Interview with Jeff Jenson
Friday, February 22, 2013
Posted by: Mark Gilfand
Editor's Note:This interview is part of a series featuring AITP members. Check out Jim's story! If you or someone you know should be featured in an upcoming article, let us know. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff is an IT Support Manager and Business Analyst with All in 1, an international employment services company. Jeff is also the LA Chapter President for AITP.
Q: How long have you been part of AITP?
A: I have been involved with AITP since 2004. I was looking for ways to further my professional development and address some management challenges I was facing at the time, so I did some research into a few different organizations and found that AITP offered the best mix of networking opportunities, technical information, and soft skills. It also happened that an upcoming AITP meeting was being held right across the street from where I worked, so that made it easy.
Q: What can someone expect from a typical AITP meeting?
A: You would be struck by the caliber of people you encounter at a dinner meeting. From the impressive array of speakers and breadth of topics presented by industry-leading subject matter experts, to the amazing networking opportunities dining with CEOs, CIOs, business owners, IT managers, and technical experts, there is nothing quite like an AITP dinner meeting. These meetings provide an opportunity to discuss advanced technologies, project and management challenges, vendor experiences and lessons learned among peers and experts.
For those wishing to grow their leadership skills, AITP provides many opportunities for getting involved in chapter operations. Serving on committees, leading teams and practicing public speaking skills, all these develop both the personal and professional attributes of the well rounded IT professional, which happens to be the mission of AITP, "to empower its members to reach their true potential as an IT Business professional”.
Q: How has AITP helped you?
A: When I became a manager I quickly realized it was a totally different ballgame. In IT, it's a classic situation for a good technologist or programmer to get tapped to serve as a manager. However managing and leading versus developing technology come from separate sides of the brain. The requirements for a management role are completely different, and management training is not always high on the priority list. So I started looking for colleagues and potential mentors with whom I could talk to about the challenges of management. AITP gave me the opportunity to talk to members in similar roles, which has been a great resource.
Q: In your role as the Los Angeles chapter president, what are you expecting to see in AITP over the next several months?
A: I am really excited about 2013. We are seeing a lot of new interest, and our meeting attendance is up. We are moving ahead with developing new programs for supporting and developing professional IT managers. Using peer groups, we will bring in various coaches, executives, and successful managers to assist with addressing common IT management challenges faced in the IT workplace. Being a peer group, each can share experiences of what works and what doesn't.
Q: How do you use what you have learned to "pay it forward” to other IT leaders?
A: I manage a staff of eighteen people. I take what I have learned and share it extensively in my regular job, encouraging all my staff to "keep their knives sharp”. Each of us needs to consider his or her own career path, building both technical and soft skills as well as a professional network. It's important to have your own professional network up and "on-line” at all times. This provides an important safety net or network to call on when the need arises. You can't neglect that—a lot of people do and it becomes a crisis for them down the road. Make an investment in ongoing learning now, keep your skills and contacts current.
Q: How can a member get the most out of AITP?
A: It's an investment, you get out what you put in plus interest. If you get involved, participate, meet people, take opportunities to serve in the organization and help build it, you'll receive benefits many times more than what you initially invested.