American Cancer Society CIO entices job applicants with meaningful work and other perks

American Cancer Society CIO entices job applicants with meaningful work and other perks

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September 02, 2015
desk IT talent help wanted

Finding and keeping top technical talent is becoming one of the biggest challenges facing IT leaders today. It’s not enough to offer a competitive salary and solid benefits. These days, tech stars are shopping around for more.

We asked Jay Ferro, chief information officer for American Cancer Society, how he helps recruit and retain top IT talent in the nonprofit world. 

The Enterprisers Project (TEP): In such a white-hot IT hiring market, how does a not-for-profit like the American Cancer Society stand out?

Jay FerroFerro: You know, we don’t have some of the levers that other organizations might have when you talk about variable compensation or stock options.  Although we pay very fairly from a salary perspective, I think where we can make it up is meaningful work.

TEP: I’m sure there is no shortage of interesting work.

Ferro: Although I came into this role with a very personal connection to cancer, I think even I underestimated how meaningful the work is, how infectious it is, and how much people love what we do. And we bust our humps. We work harder than just about any other IT organization. I’ve never worked harder in my life. But there’s something about doing what you love in IT and doing it for an organization that is dedicated to ending cancer and making the world a better place by ending cancer as a world health problem that motivates people. 

TEP: What’s the pitch you make to someone who might have multiple offers?

Ferro: Well, we’re able to get a little creative with flexible work arrangements. We have a robust BYOD program. And we have a transparent and flat IT organization. So if you’re considering working with the American Cancer Society, I know you’ll feel very connected to the mission because we’re very open and transparent without a lot of silos. Of course, if you just want hard dollars, we might not be the place for you. But if you want to apply your trade and make a great living and be part of saving lives, it’s a great place to be.

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Jay Ferro is currently Chief Information Officer for the American Cancer Society (ACS), a nationwide,community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the American Cancer Society has hundreds of local offices nationwide and presence in more than 5,000 communities. Jay is responsible for the people, strategy and operations of the Global Information Technology organization. Additionally, Jay has been a leader in ACS’s historic transformation, which includes the consolidation of 12 independent divisions into one agile and focused global entity dedicated to saving more lives and curing cancer.

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Jay Ferro is the Chief Customer Officer at Rackspace. Prior to joining Rackspace, Ferro served as Acting Chief Information and Technology Officer for Transperfect, Inc. Previously, Ferro served as Executive Vice President, Chief Information and Product Officer at EarthLink where he provided leadership and oversight of EarthLink’s technology operations including R&D, product and customer services offerings, acquisitions and investments.

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