In the third and final post for the Industry of the Month spotlight on Education (Read: post one and post two), we interviewed customers working with alumni. The continuing relationship between a student and its alma mater is essential to maintain a strong alumni network, but it is also the most sincere element of expanding the campus community to a global one. Those who work in alumni relations have a challenging job yet a rewarding one. Nurturing relationships with hundreds of thousands of alumni isn’t easy, and managing the projects (such as newsletters and reunions) and tasks (such as updating the school social media) shouldn’t take over from the work that connects you as a community. This makes Teamwork Projects an especially good fit for such departments and uses. We talked with Andre Zoldan, Director of Information Technology for the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan and Jayne Ronayne, Co-Founder, and CEO of KonnectAgain. Let’s read what Andre and Jayne said about how Teamwork Projects helps them do their jobs better.
Q: What do you love about your work?
Andre Zoldan: I love the challenge of building great solutions that improve productivity, workflow, and people’s lives.
Jayne Ronayne: I love what I do for many different reasons, but the one that’s most important is that I’m in the fortunate position of continually ensuring that KonnectAgain stays ahead of the curve, that we always think bigger and better, and to quote Mark Cuban, “Work like there is someone working 24 hours a day to take it away from you.” I love the market that we are in, as the alumni market is only getting bigger and institutions in so many sectors are realising the potential of their alumni from large banks, tech companies, aviation industry, and even venture capitalists so our market opportunity only gets bigger!
Q: What low-tech approach to tasks do you love?
Andre Zoldan: Doodles – my to-do lists often look like sketches and diagrams. I can capture a lot of thoughts and ideas this way.
Jayne Ronayne: You will never find me without my notebook and pen! I’ve tried everything from an iPad and Apple watch to Evernote, but nothing beats a good old-fashioned notebook!  Whiteboards are another thing that I really find are invaluable. Sometimes, the best ideas come from just throwing random ideas on your whiteboard!
Q: What are your biggest time management demands?
Andre Zoldan: Tracking teams, projects, activities, and all related follow-ups.
Jayne Ronayne: Emails! I’m sure I’m not the only one who has shares this burden, but emails really do take up the majority of my day. Sometimes people don’t understand what CEOs do, as there isn’t really a proper description of the day-to-day job, but really a CEO does everything! So, sometimes I can be travelling to San Francisco to meet some great customers, then the next day I could be spending hours doing VAT returns and accounts!
Q: What approach helps you achieve work-life balance?
Andre Zoldan: A well-organized schedule and task list along with a structured personal time management approach.
Jayne Ronayne: It’s difficult the stage we are at, so work-life balance isn’t really achievable right now. We have a team in San Francisco, so when our day in Ireland ends it only starts in San Francisco so I want to ensure that I’m still available for my team there too! One thing that does help is breaking the day up and going to the gym, even if it’s just for 20 minutes it just gives you a release and gets you ready for the rest of the day!
Q: When did you start using Teamwork Projects?
Andre Zoldan: We started about two years ago
Jayne Ronayne: We started using Teamwork Projects before we even registered the name KonnectAgain! Teamwork Projects is a pretty special platform it really has all the tools you need to organise your team, day, brainstorming sessions, and even your shopping lists! It plays an integral part of our technology team as our CTO Helen plans everything through the Teamwork Projects portal.
Q: Why did you choose Teamwork Projects to help run your business?
Andre Zoldan: Teamwork Projects is very intuitive and easy to use. It is web-based and hence easily accessible to an extended teams. It is capable and flexible in accommodating a wide range of project sizes and types.
Jayne Ronayne: It’s clean, easy to understand, works great with other platforms, and affordable!
Q: In what department or way do you use Teamwork Projects?
Andre Zoldan: We use Teamwork Projects across the organization in all departments. My daily use is focused on our Technology group, where I manage everything from simple task-lists to major projects across the organization, including external vendors.
Jayne Ronayne: We use it in all our departments!
Q: What you like about Teamwork Projects?
Andre Zoldan: Teamwork Projects is very intuitive and easy to use, it is a cloud-based solution, runs on all major platforms and web browsers, flexible of accommodating a wide range of projects.
Jayne Ronayne: It’s important for me to be able to check in on all the KonnectAgain team members to see what their daily/weekly tasks look like. Everything is on the one platform so it saves me time checking in on everyone individually. My job requires me to travel a lot especially back and forth to the United States, so its important to me that I can check in on the team instantly which I can with Teamwork Projects.
Q: What are your favorite features or elements in Teamwork Projects?
Andre Zoldan: Undoubtedly, tasks, and task lists along with all the features that accompany them, such as progress indication, comments, and reporting capabilities.
Jayne Ronayne: The tasks feature is super and something that I use every week for the team. It ensures that everyone is on the same page and understands who is responsible for various tasks.
Q: Would you recommend it to other businesses?
Andre Zoldan: Absolutely! Teamwork Projects is a very practical solution allowing project managers and teams to get off the ground and organized very quickly, and with very little effort. Be careful, once you try it, you’ll be hooked in no time (which is a great thing)!
Jayne Ronayne: Absolutely!
Q: If you could sum up your feelings about and happiness for Teamwork Projects in three sentences, what would you say?
Andre Zoldan: Teamwork Projects is a practical, accessible, easy and quick to adopt solution that can grow with your needs, and integrates with many common ancillary applications. It can easily handle a range of needs, from simple task lists to full-fledged complex, multidisciplinary projects, with a large number of parties involved. Teamwork Projects offers great support and an affordable price-point.
Jayne Ronayne: How about three words? Easy, effective & specific.
Thank you to Andre and Jayne for making this post possible and for helping us to learn all about Alumni Relations Departments!
When your work is community management and reaching out to people every day, it is essential that nothing and no one falls through the cracks. The tools and features within Teamwork Projects offer extensive options to build a custom framework to manage work, projects, and even the tiniest of tasks – because tiny tasks in enough volume can be overwhelming.
Don’t miss the first two parts in our special Industry of the Month series on Education:

Part 1: How Universities Use Teamwork Projects

Part 2: How Students Use Teamwork Projects

We also had other posts this month focused on the field of Education:

The Higher Education Paradigm is Shifting

Advice from Women Leaders in Higher Education

And check back next month when we shine the spotlight on the Marketing sector for the September Industry of the Month. In the meantime, to learn more about Teamwork Projects or jump straight in with our free 30-day trial, click here.