Data – The Game Changer

At TechBridge, we believe technology is a game changer. Marva Bailer thinks so too. Today on TechBridge Talks, we speak with Splunk Strategic Advisor and TechBridge Board of Directors member Marva Bailer about TechBridge’s service evolution from designing websites for nonprofits to using data to create predictable pathways out of poverty. Marva shares her passion for TechBridge’s Workforce Development pillar and what keeps bringing her back to our organization.


[00:00:00] Marva Bailer: Learning so much with data, um, around generational poverty. And there was a couple of studies that have been brought to my attention. They're able to really map out. The success of adulthood and having a job in the middle class with third grade reading really data has been the game changing technology because it's telling you where you need to spend your time and focus.

What keeps me coming back to tech bridge is where they're evolving. Tech bridge has now evolved into a cloud. Provider. And that is really been game changing

[00:00:43] Adam Walker: at Techbridge. We want to live in a world where we can use data to create predictable pathways out of poverty. Data helps us understand trends, identify needs, and create solutions.

So we work with nonprofits all over the country to assist with their data collection analysis and management, helping them use. To better serve their communities.

In today's episode, I've talked a long time supporter, Marva, Baylor about why she supports tech bridge, the importance of data in our work, and so much more Marva. Welcome to

[00:01:19] Marva Bailer: the show. Thank you, Adam. Awesome to be here.

[00:01:22] Adam Walker: Um, excited. Cause I know you've been involved with tech bridge for a bit. And I know you've got an amazing perspective on the organization.

So why don't we start with that story? How did you come to be involved with tech?

[00:01:35] Marva Bailer: Well, as all good stories start, they sometimes start and a bar is involved, but yes that's. So in this, in this story, a bar and a ball was involved. So, uh, I was one of the 6,000 employees of IBM and in the Atlanta region and one of the flags.

Uh, community events that tech bridge has is a ball. And it's a, um, and I'm from the Mallee DC area. So I never was in cotillion or debutant or anything. So this was really a big deal for me. So I had never been to a ball before, or even heard of one in a professional setting. So it was called the digital ball and I got an invitation from one of them.

Large account teams to attend the digital ball. So I was very honored because the 6,000 employees we only had, I think we had 12 tickets. So that was a pretty big deal to go. So I went to the ball. It was amazing experience. I can tell you so much more about it. And then our board member, um, got a new role where he was moving outside of the area and they had an opening.

They stand, we were at the bar and they said, Marvin, You know what it was the sea levels at the time. And then that's how I got involved with tech bridge and the board. Wow.

[00:02:47] Adam Walker: That's fantastic. I love that bar, a bar and a ball that is a lot of good stories do start that way. I totally agree with you. So, so I do, I might want to circle back to the digital ball in a minute, but, but first I'd like to dive in, you know, you mentioned.

Uh, you were at IBM and now I know you moved on, but you're, you know, you're a busy professional, right? You've, you've done a lot of stuff. You're doing a lot of stuff. Um, and you're taking your time to also spend time supporting tech bridge. So, so tell me about that. Like why, why do you want to take time to support tech bridge?

[00:03:17] Marva Bailer: Well, I got involved with tech bridge, you know, as I mentioned, kind of joking around, um, via IBM, but you know, when I worked at IBM, we did spend a lot of time with some of the larger nonprofits, um, the Atlanta mission, um, Hosana feed the hungry. Uh, United way, some of the larger, um, groups and foundations, and it really gave me a perspective different than I had had before.

So obviously I had had a good experience around volunteering and doing things with my family and, um, walks and car washes and all the fun hands-on, um, opportunities. But I really didn't understand nonprofits at scale. And so being part of that at IBM, I really got to understand what you can do as a collective community at scale.

[00:04:02] Adam Walker: Hmm. Okay. Okay. That's cool. That's cool. And so you've stayed involved over however many years. Uh, you can disclose that if you'd like, uh, but so tell me what keeps you coming back? What keeps you

[00:04:15] Marva Bailer: involved? What keeps me coming back to tech bridge is where they're evolving. So tech bridge, when I joined the board, really what they were doing is they were doing websites for nonprofits.

So that was, you know, at the time that was the technology of the day, email and website. And believe it or not, some of these nonprofits did not even have email. So they were fielding the requests from their constituents and their clients and the grants all over the phone. They didn't even have email systems.

So at the time, email websites, websites for donors, that's what was really popular. Tech bridge has now evolved into a cloud. Provider. And that is really been game changing for these nonprofits because they don't have it departments. So to be able to put all of the giving and the grants, and then all of now with all the HIPAA regulations and PCI regulations, all that information of their clients.

Um, and a lot of them do have IP. That's very significant to their, you know, charity or nonprofit area they're trying to serve in the cloud that has been game changing. And so that's why like tech bridge, because we change. With the needs of our clients and the needs of the technology world.

[00:05:26] Adam Walker: Mm. Yeah. I love that.

I love that. So, so let's talk about technology as a game changer, which, which you mentioned earlier and you know, that. Tech Bridge's mission is to end generational poverty through the innovative use of technology. So can you talk a little bit about why you see technology as that game changer in how it affects that whole conversation?


[00:05:48] Marva Bailer: So Adam, what's so interesting about technology. So we just talked about applying technology to, you know, donor databases, sorting clients, but technology is also a way. To figure out where to put the focus, because all of these nonprofits we're dealing with, they don't have unlimited resources and they all want to do so much.

So using data. And now I work at Splunk and that's all we do is flag data data. And that data is used obviously for security and, and other, other parts of the business. But really data has been. The game changing technology, because it's telling you where you need to spend your time and focus. Um, and, and then for me personally, um, as well as for even tech bridge, we're learning so much with data, um, around generational poverty.

And there was a couple of studies that have been brought to my attention on some were done as early as 2012 and United way even continues to do on where they're even attaching. Third grade. And we were just talking about your kids. You have a lot of kids five. Now I'm a six kids and they're going to school and that's a gift, but that's also a privilege that your children have.

And there's so many connections. And again, using data they're able to really map out. The success of adulthood and having a job in the middle class with third grade reading. Um, so they're able to take all this data. So, so to me, having technology and that intersection of social economic is really going to help really all of us figure out we're going to, where we're going to put our collective action.

And to answer your question, Adam, our time, talent and treasure.

[00:07:34] Adam Walker: That's right. That's right. And, you know, I love that you touched on data because you know, one of our visions at tech bridge is to use data, to create predictable pathways out of poverty. And once we can gather enough data, we can begin to understand what are those pathways and how do we help everyone get out of poverty within ideally within our lifetimes.

So, so, all right. So as you know, Techbridge works across four pillars, hunger relief, homeless support, social justice and workforce development. I know it's hard to choose if you, but if you had to choose one, tell me what your favorite one is and why

[00:08:07] Marva Bailer: workforce development. That dignity of work to me. Um, it really, if you said, like, what's my gift and what, what do I want to give back the dignity at work?

Um, I mean, it's, it's a biblical. Value. Um, and so the daily work is really important. And back to the day of there's so much data around, you know, if you have this, um, type of education or, um, $10,000 in the bank, you're going to get out of poverty. And then if you get out of poverty, it goes on and on. But it's just that whole dignity factor.

Like really, you know, what gets you up in the morning? Not what keeps you up at night, but what gets you up in the morning? What are you excited about? How can you contribute to society and this whole idea. Of not being able to work because you don't have, the access is crazy. And I've gotten to see it firsthand through it's at tech bridge.

We have a program called TCP technology career program, and there's so many other similar to this. And the great news is there's no competition because there's not enough people graduating. Just alone. Um, my personal experience, um, relevant experience is in the security cybersecurity, and the AI area cybersecurity in the us alone has over 1 million jobs been fulfilled and we're able to take the talent of.

People that are taking these classes through TCP and through the generous support of vendors and, um, all the volunteers and they're getting jobs 10 times what they were getting before, but it's not just about getting the jobs they are contributing to society. Think about it. Cybersecurity. We all need to keep our world, our country and our family safe.

So it it's a really dignified career people are entering into. Mm that's.

[00:09:49] Adam Walker: Right. I love that. I love that. I love you. And I love your focus on cybersecurity as well. That's fantastic. So I do want to, I do want to go back to something you mentioned earlier, you talked about the digital ball and I know there have been.

Some, some pretty epic digital balls and some pretty amazing things. I wonder if you'd just, is there one story or one thing that sticks out across all the digital balls you've been to that

[00:10:10] Marva Bailer: you'd like. Well, I did not go to the one that had the horses so that, um, apparently that one goes down in the history of the history.

Um, I am a huge ADT ADT. America's got talent, huge ADT fan. So. We had the quick change artists, which a lot of people didn't like, I thought it was cool because it was someone from ADT as well as the, um, illuminary same thing. I thought it was cool to me. The most memorable ones have been the comedians because.

Honestly, you know, technology is really, really hard and to be able to really connect with it technologists and actually like take a breath and have some fun. That was, um, to me where I thought it was is the most fun because people are like, ah, I got to wear a suit. I'll have to do this. But when people really understand, like, Hey, this is my role.

This is my life. And we can make a little bit of fun out of it. Um, that, that to me was the most memorable and really just seeing everyone dressed up. I know a lot of people don't like it, but I love doing it and it's, and it really is a great, great time we call it the mom prom. So it, it really, it really is worth it.

Um, and it, it makes it feel like it's something special outside of your normal realm of what you're normally doing for work. It really does make it a unique experience. Well,

[00:11:32] Adam Walker: Mara, this has been great. So I wonder if you have any final thoughts you'd like to share the audience either related to tech bridge or technology or whatever, any final thoughts you'd

[00:11:42] Marva Bailer: like to share?

Yeah. So tech bridge, if you said, what am I most proud of right now? Um, so actually we now have two generation of balers. Um, so there was a, a, a big technology event where. Accenture, who was one of the longest standing supporters of tech bridge was opening their new office. And I cannot attend as a board member or as a sponsor with Splunk and nobody from Splunk could attend or our business partners.

Cause we were all in Las Vegas for a company, all hands meeting. So instead of wasting my ticket, I said, Hmm, who can, who can go? So I asked a few friends, they couldn't go, or they already had tickets. And I was like, I'm sending my daughter. So my daughter was in grad school, um, at Emory for public health.

And I sent her and she networked and networked. And guess where she works now. Where Accenture and she is the Accenture, um, liaison with tech bridge for this TCP program, because you need all, you know, she's, she's probably better versed in how to navigate a new career and interviewing then, you know, someone like myself, who's, you know, 30 years into my career.

So yeah, but my point is, don't say no. You always want to say yes. And if you have to say no, which is okay, find somebody else to take your place, look at the next generation. So it could be a family member. It could be someone you mentor within your organization or outside your organization. And that's where the scale comes in.

So, so that, that's the advice I give to a lot of people on the left hands. They don't think about it. They're just like, sorry, Adam, just like this podcast. Sorry, Adam. I'm busy this week. Well, who else could have done it rather than you having to fill that spot? I should take that ownership and think of someone in my network and community that can help really add value.

And it really helps your political and social capital. So we all need to that. That's what, walking the walk and, and passing it on what that's, what that looks like. In practice, at least an idea. I

[00:13:39] Adam Walker: love that. I love that. Some really good, uh, parting advice. I really appreciate you sharing that. So Marva, this has been amazing.

Thanks for joining us on the show today.

[00:13:49] Marva Bailer: Thank you. Have a great day.

[00:13:51] Adam Walker: Thank you for listening to tech bridge talks a podcast about breaking the cycle of generational poverty through the innovative use of techniques. This podcast is produced by tech bridge to find out more about our work and how you can be a part visit tech that's tech

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