Tech 25 winner Anita Donnelly innovates product support through process-driven project management
As Indiana’s tech community continues to grow and mature, it’s getting harder and harder to narrow down the winners for our annual Tech 25 Awards program. Clearly there is a wealth of tech talent in the Hoosier state, and they are making incredible moves. Join us in celebrating the Tech 25 class of 2020 through this profile series and learn a bit more about each winner.
Anita Donnelly is the Director of Technical Services at SmarterHQ, A Wunderkind Company. Before joining in 2017, she held various roles with Dominion Dealer Solutions and taught Special Education for seven years. At SmarterHQ, Anita is a vibrant, highly collaborative, and strategic leader who has played a pivotal role in defining and expanding the company’s product support, as well as implementation teams and processes. Her innovative approach to project management has been formally recognized by Salesforce and TaskRay. Anita is a mentor for several Xterns, volunteers with EmployIndy, and as a long-time dog lover, she helps pups find their forever home through Kindred Hearts Transport.
Anita exudes the patience and care you would come to expect from a teacher, mentor, and volunteer. She is a born problem solver and strategic leader who spearheaded efforts to reduce SmarterHQ’s implementation times by 50%. Additionally, she is well-known for making work fun!
What led you to get into tech and this occupation? What was your first job in tech?
I have always had an aptitude and curiosity for tech. I initially wanted to pursue education in the technical field, but had a calling to start my career in Special Education instead. Although I was the go-to person for computer issues in the schools where I taught, my first job in tech was installing ESL software at schools in California. I decided to return to tech for good after becoming a software trainer in Ohio after I left teaching.
When you think of a day in your life, what are the main work activities you do or responsibilities you have?
There is never a dull day. A typical day consists of a morning stand up with the entire team to get ready for the day. Throughout the day, I’ll help with complex support issues and possibly escalating those to the Engineering Team if needed. I will most likely have to schedule or reschedule a few projects for the Implementation Team – we call that “playing Tetris”. I also help the implementation team with any blockers to onboarding customers as quickly as possible. I’m constantly rethinking processes to see if they can be “tweaked” to be even better.
Which resources, people, books, websites, etc. would you recommend to those who want to learn more or advance their skills in this occupation?
I truly believe there’s a difference between a leader and a manager. One of the books I have read that helped instill that in me was Semper Fi: Business Leadership the Marine Corps Way. I’m a firm believer in process and constantly evaluating it to find room for improvement. I would recommend it to anyone starting out to learn the processes behind six sigma, as they can be applied to those of us in the tech field as well.
Anita Donnelly is a Tech 25 winner who is helping to grow and improve the tech landscape of Indiana. She was nominated by her VP of Client Services, Kara Holthaus. To learn more about the Tech 25 Awards, click here.
Visit the Indianapolis Business Journal website to see the full listing and celebration of the 2020 Tech 25 honorees in the joint CTO of the Year and Tech 25 Awards supplement. You can also watch a video of the livestream from the CTO of the Year and Tech 25 Awards virtual event.