University at Albany

Q & A with David Nero, MPA '93

If you had to condense your job description into an elevator pitch, how would it read?

David: My job as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Perkins is one that requires me to constantly pivot from strategic to operational. In a medium-sized non-profit like Perkins (800 employees), the CIO must be able to handle the daily operations of the technology department as well as work strategically across a diverse set of programs.

What about your job inspires/excites you every day?

David: The mission of the organization and the opportunity for technology to improve the operation of the organization and improve the lives of those Perkins serves inspires me every day. In my role as CIO, I work across all programs and can feel like I am making a small contribution to the great work happening every day.

How did Rockefeller College prepare you for your career?

David: I attended Rockefeller College almost immediately after earning my undergraduate degree and I did not have much practical work experience in the public sector.  Rockefeller College provided me with an excellent classroom experience as well as an internship that provided a springboard to future career opportunities.  Specifically, in the classroom, I learned critical aspects of finance, human resources, and management which I carried forward into management positions within the public and now non-profit sectors.  I was also exposed to technology which gave me an important skill in the workforce.  As I reflect back on Rockefeller College, I feel like the diversity of experiences provided the greatest benefit to me.

What is one piece of advice you would share with a current Rockefeller student?

David: One piece of advice to a current Rockefeller student wishing to pursue a similar path is to not underestimate the value of strong interpersonal and communication skills.  I feel like my ability to effectively communicate and relate to others has been my greatest asset and has provided me opportunities that may have not otherwise been offered.  For a current student, my advice is to work on this every day with fellow students, professors, employers and friends.  Don't underestimate the value of a personal phone call or informal conversation, and don't rely only on texts, email, and social media. 

When you're not on the job, where can you be found?

David: Home or out and about with my wife and two children or family and friends. My kids are school-aged (9 and 14) and involved in many activities, so my schedule is really their schedule which is the only way I would have it. Oh, and every once in a while I might be on the golf course.