Angela Romeo

ROCs are learning to love technology

By Angela Romeo

Embracing video conferencing has enabled the ROC-NH team to give its resident-owned communities more-effective and more-timely assistance.

I am often caught between embracing technology and staying clear of it.

I didn’t buy my first “smart phone” until after my college graduation. I was old enough to be apprehensive. What would happen if I lost my phone? Would someone be able to access my bank account information? Were all of my apps really secure?

I was also young enough to enjoy the convenience, efficiency, and timeliness that technology offers.

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ROC-NH staffers Kelli Cicirelli and Ian West meet online with Jo Ann Paradise, president of Woodbury Cooperative.

But everyone, no matter what your age, can appreciate the value of time.

A few years back, as the ROC-NH team started to dig deep and analyze how we could better serve new and existing cooperatives, it became abundantly clear that we spent an overwhelming amount of time driving to and from meetings.

About a third of my week, pretty much every week, was spent in a car. Even worse, the driving time was completely unproductive. I couldn’t use my computer, phone, or even communicate with my colleagues.

So as a team, we decided to step out of our comfort zones and embrace technology in ways that both save and gain time. Of course technology can’t replace the need for the in-person meetings and relationship-building that occur between a co-op’s board of directors and its ROC-NH coach, but we hoped it could supplement our ability to coach and advise.

Colebrook Homeowners Cooperative is a community we work with regularly. We used to drive three hours each way to the co-op’s monthly meeting. That was a full work day.

Now with the use of Ring Central, a video conferencing tool (it’s free to co-ops), we can be more helpful and more timely. If an urgent situation arises, rather than waiting for the next month’s meeting, we just jump on video with one or more board members and talk through the issue.  The board now meets twice a month and the finance committee monthly.

Our new, remote, coaching is improving the quality of coaching and technical assistance cooperatives receive, while freeing up time for more-personalized coaching and training for more co-ops.

Interested to see how this tool works? Contact your ROC-NH coach to set up a test session and see how it can benefit your board and your community!

Former ROC-NH cooperative conversion specialist Angela Romeo now works for ROC USA.

ROC-NH™ is a program of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, Inc. and a ROC USA® Certified Technical Assistance Provider.
ROC-NH is a registered service mark of ROC USA, LLC.