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Christopher Heald Technology Director, Ashoka Changemakers

Contact

Address: 754 22nd Avenue East
Vancouver, BC Canada V5V 1V6
604-306-3287

Summary

Over twenty years of technology experience ranging from web development and infrastructure support to product development and delivery and team management. Very flexible, rapidly adapt to new technologies and methodologies.


I design and develop digital products that support business models and - ideally - drive social impact at the same time. I work with partners, clients and organizations to develop technology products and services, and build the teams that deliver these projects. Most recently I helped deliver a modular and extensible platform that consolidates, automates and replaces several legacy platforms and processes. The project completed ahead of schedule and under budget. Prior to that, I was responsible for the design, extension and development of a multi-language competition and campaign platform that drives millions of visits per year, and that has channeled over $500 million in investment to innovators around the world.


I am a technology and social sector advocate and an agent of change. I love to create and I love to build: ideas, teams, projects, systems, sites, hardware, furniture, electronics, microcontrollers, applications, flying machines, bicycles, houses, art. I am passionate about this in work and in life.

Specialties

Product and project management. Technology advocacy and management. Automated and user software testing. Digital product design and development, showcasing organizational knowledge, team building, business continuity, big picture thinking, master of trivia.

Skills

  • Team leadership and management
  • Excellent written and spoken communicator
  • Product management, design and development
  • Global/distributed team management and team building
  • Wireframing, specification development, RFP design & management
  • Visual / Graphical / User interface design and development
  • Git, Git flow, Trac, Redmine, Jira, SVN, Agile, Kanban, rapid deployment, automated testing
  • Start-ups & social enterprises
  • HTML5, CSS, PHP, C, Javascript, mySQL, regular expressions
  • IT management
  • Developer management and QA
  • Google Analytics
  • Vendor management / outsourcing
  • Fluently bilingual (French/English)
  • Server / Infrastructure management
  • Drupal, Plone, Wordpress, Sitefininty content management systems

Experience

Founder & Project Consultant - www.collectivestep.com
09 / 2013 - Present

From design to definition to build to test to delivery, I work with clients to scope technology projects, define products, and create requirements, documentation, and requests for proposals. I work closely with clients and partners to get to the heart of desired goals and end products, and I set in motion and manage the processes to get them there.

 

  • Product and service design
  • Product and project managmenet
  • Project discovery, scoping and design
  • Current and desired process documentation
  • Market research
  • Project budgeting
  • Internal and external communications
  • Change management
  • RFP design and vendor evaluation, shortlisting and selection
Ashoka Changemakers - www.changemakers.com
09 / 2013 - 11 / 2013
Technology Director

Co-director of a Washington, DC-based global platform and program that connects investor partners to innovators around the world. Responsible for making sure that Changemakers.com is running smoothly. Worked with my team of technologists and our developers to design and create new products to add to Changemakers’ and Ashoka’s suite of online tools for sourcing and growing innovations. Changemakers has helped innovators source over $500 million in support for their projects.

Charged with extending and replicating the business and product models to drive change and impact at the largest scale possible. To that end, along with my team, we designed and built products that provided value to an ever-broader range of audiences. We replicated our platform for partners in Minnesota, Israel, Continental Europe, and for internal Ashoka programs.

 

  • Responsible for thriving customized Drupal-based Changemakers.com online social change platform with multi-million dollar per year product model, managing work produced by internal team and two separate external development firms
  • Management of a global technology and developer team
  • Oversaw two major releases of the platform, with significant-to-complete architectural, feature, and visual redesigns. Provided initial research, developing requirements and specifications, writing RFP, selecting vendors, managing internal team and contractors (designers, interactive firms, developers, other specialists)
  • Coordinated release of platform from English-only to English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish (localized and translated)
  • Oversaw design and development of API to allow off-site interactions and applications hosted by clients and partners
  • Designed service level agreements (SLAs) for white label/turnkey/SaaS services
  • Designed user data privacy policies and practices for developers and staff
  • Closed multiple 6-figure deals with partners and clients
  • Oversaw scaling of software and hardware from single shared sever to production and staging environments, Git repository, weekly code deployment, server optimization, caching, content distribution networks, virtualization (and de-virtualization :) )
  • Designed service level agreement, systems and procedures to ensure maximum uptime and disaster recovery, including database redundancy and time-delayed replication
  • Oversaw Drupal-to-Salesforce integration of user data and activity, using Jitterbit ETL middleware platform
  • Lead weekly multistakeholder product development group meetings
  • Quality assurance, review and testing of developer code
Independent IT Consultant
1999 - 2008
Proprietor

Strategic technology guidance and IT support specializing in small businesses and not-for-profit organizations. I focused on helping organizations grow their IT infrastructures when growing from startup phase. I designed and built systems to facilitate and support organizations at pivot points as they reached their next stage of growth (5 or more years since inception, growth from less than 10 to 10-20 or more staff.)

 

  • Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Windows Server
  • Microsoft Small Business Server
  • Linux administration (configuration, Sendmail, Apache, Nagios, VNC)
  • Networking, wifi, repeaters, VPN, remote desktop, VoIP
  • Salesforce.com
  • Microsoft Access development
West Coast Environmental Law - www.wcel.org
10 / 1993 - 02 / 2008
Systems Administrator

I joined West Coast Environmental Law in 1993 to help bring the West Coast library online, in the days before the Web. Thankfully, a lot has changed since then.

I was responsible for blending the physical and the digital, bringing collections of publications online, first through dial-up systems, and then via the web. Supporting this work, I was also responsible for West Coast's network and technology (from the days of server installs from stacks of floppy disks, Arcnet, Novell Netware and coaxial cable onwards), for creating and keeping the organization's website up to date, for creating and maintaining a ColdFusion-based dynamic web library, and for publishing West Coast's books, briefs, papers, and newsletter. Work included:

 

  • Web design and development
  • Pre-press and print design production, managing the process from raw text to final print, including copy editing, visual design, layout, image selection, prepress and press management
  • Publications distribution, via mail for books and newsletters, and via email for e-newsletter
  • Microsoft SQL, Exchange, Windows server
  • CRM support and custom development (Maximizer.com)
  • Remote access for staff and administration
  • ColdFusion dynamic content development
  • Network administration
  • Hardware procurement and Vendor management
  • Maximizer.com CRM
  • Folio Views
IMPACS - Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society (defunct)
08 / 2003 - 03 / 2007
Technology manager

I helped IMPACS transition its website from a proprietary content management system to Plone, inlcuding a visual and architectural redesign. Helped transition organization from a legacy CRM system to Salesforce. Managed, edited, contributed to and distributed IMPACS’ monthly e-newsletter, with a near-40% open rate. Provided infrastructure support, from file servers (Microsoft and Linux) and mail servers (Exchange) to phone systems and networks. Provided technical expertise on client communications projects via the IMPACS Communications Centre.

 

  • Website support, content and design, using HTML, custom content management systems, Plone
  • CRM support, conversion from desktop CRM to Salesforce.com
  • Editorial, writing
  • Microsoft Windows and Exchange Server
  • E-newsletter copywriting, design and distribution
  • Deployment of Salesforce.com CRM
  • Network and technology support
ONE/Northwest / Groundwire.org (defunct)
09 / 1998 - 01 / 1999
Network Trainer

Technology consultant for a multi-organization Vancouver networking project. Visited pre-selected environmental groups, surveyed existing software and hardware, wrote upgrade plans with budgets, and then performed upgrades and training.

 

  • Software & IT planning
  • Network and technology support
  • Hardware deployment
Communicopia - www.communicopia.com
02 / 1996 - 09 / 1998
Associate

Web site design, creation and maintenance at a leading Vancouver web design shop; graphic design; online database development using Microsoft Access and Allaire’s Cold Fusion.

 

  • Coldfusion dynamic site development
  • Website support, content and design
  • Copywriting
  • Graphic prep, Photoshop
Comtext International - www.gn.com
10 / 1991 - 08 / 1994
Sales Agent, Representative and Technician

Sales, service and customer support for North American clients of a worldwide PC based text-to-fax and text-to-telex network. On call for hardware, network and software assistance, and telephone support. Installation and training service for new customers. Responsible for western Canadian and American clients.

 

  • Text-to-fax
  • Text-to-telex
  • Satellite protocols
Jaykin Technologies Inc.
07 / 1991 - 12 / 1992
Technical Writer and Editor

Writing, editing and layout of documentation for an X-Windows terminal emulator for the PC (Hummingbird eXceed/DOS). OEM conversion of documentation for a line of PC-based oscilloscope cards. Translation of French documentation and technical reports into English. General computer and software upkeep and maintenance.

 

Education

Concordia University, Montreal
1988 - 1991
BA, Journalism, Political Science (dual majors)

Student press:

  • the Link - news reporter
  • the Concordian - entertainment reporter

Photography club - founder.

Vanier College, Montreal
1986 - 1998
DEC: Social Science, Science, Math & Computer Science

Fortran, C, Pascal, Calculus, Algebra.

Affiliations & Community

Member, Emerging Leaders Working Group, Thrive Project; Board member, Jules Verne High School PAC (2012-2014); Board member, Service de Garde les Copains (2005-2009); Advisory board member, ONE/Northwest (Groundwire) (1999-2001)

Interests

Technology, hardware hacking (Arduino, Internet of things, data capture, social behavior incentives), travel, tennis, avid passion for outdoor activities: cross country mountain biking, road biking, hiking, climbing, snowboarding.

Languages

  • French ( Native/bilingual proficiency )
  • English ( Native/bilingual proficiency )


Working