Every day we deal with a highly competitive sales environment, but it is important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. How can we give back to those that need our help?
Tasked with delivering new IT solutions and learning opportunities on tight budgets, our schools and public institutions are put in a difficult position. NetApp is thrilled to be able to provide guidance and solutions to help State and Local Government and Higher Education (SLED) organizations achieve their goals by giving back through programs that make a difference. As a result, we have established the NetApp Education Donation Program, supported the NYC STEPS program, and taken on activities to encourage women students in technology.
Education Donation Program:
In the aftermath of the downturn in the economy, NetApp began a donation program targeted at schools hardest hit by budget declines and teacher layoffs. Since that time, NetApp has donated more than $14 million in technology products and services to nearly 100 schools across the U.S., including K-12 school districts, colleges and universities. The Education Donation Program provides NetApp with a mechanism to support our education customers in their efforts to thrive under challenging conditions. For example, when the University of South Florida (USF) needed a new solution to virtualize its storage for its Blackboard learning platform, it turned to NetApp for help. Through the Donation program, USF was able to host the Blackboard platform for every student on campus, and deliver more flexibility by permitting multiple protocol access. Since that time, USF had added units dedicated to research gathered on the Gulf Oil Spill.
One of Mayor Bloomberg’s major initiatives is to combat domestic violence. The NYC STEPS Program (Supported Training and Employment Preparation Services) empowers these students to work toward self-sufficiency, employment, and financial independence. The vision of STEPS is that by learning office technology skills such as email, word processing and spreadsheets, graduates will be able to land full- time jobs to help improve their lives. NetApp is honored to be able to team with New York City by providing technology training to those affected by domestic violence. The most recent round of graduates had to overcome great personal obstacles as well, in the aftermath of the Hurricane Sandy, in the hopes of a better life.
Women in Technology:
I spend a large portion of my time and energy coaching, mentoring, teaching, and helping others find their passion, particularly encouraging careers in IT. I recently spoke at the University of New Hampshire on transitioning from college to careers, and the exciting careers available in IT. I work with major colleges and universities all over the country to create events that feature professional women in technology (WIT) as role models who speak enthusiastically, candidly, and personally about the wide range of careers in IT and related fields.
Each of these programs is important to us as individuals and as a company. Whether it is in our schools or cities, when you position yourself in a company and make a meaningful contribution, it pays back both intellectually and emotionally. We need to engage our customers and partners in that effort and work together on the bigger opportunity – the betterment of our children, our students, our citizens, and our country. Together we make an impact.
Regina Kunkle, Vice President, State, Local, and Education, NetApp U.S. Public Sector