Student Spotlight with Héc Maldonado-Reis

Mandisa Thomas
June 14, 2023
Executive Programs

Héc Maldonado-Reis, AM, MPH is a current student in our Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy. Héc is the director of research development & analytics at Tech Impact, a nonprofit that leverages data and technology for social good.

Héc describes their social impact journey

Arriving at social impact and policy work has been my life journey. I’ve spent long years moving through different fields and domains, gathering knowledge and bridging gaps to collectively define the difference between data-centric and data-driven. It has been one of the most gratifying experiences to serve as an agent of change in our space. I value definitions deeply because they help ground the collective and create room for common values to arise.

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Héc Maldonado-Reis

Today, I share with folx that my work is data-centric but impact-driven. As Director of Research Development and Analytics at Tech Impact’s Data Lab, I bridge the efforts between government agencies and non-profit organizations across the social good sector. Data is often only thought of as quantitative (numbers). In my social impact work, my vision is to support the development of a data and technology-driven culture within the non-profit and philanthropy sectors that embraces all facets of information. Qualitative data are just as important!

As part of my SIS enrollment, I’ve been developing and implementing a framework/product that aims to consolidate efforts to 1) evaluate, 2) help define organizational target metrics, and 3) translate data findings into insights… all in one package. Because we are deeply embedded in state agencies, our expertise is significantly valuable to agencies and those non-profits and foundations that relate to them. We build solutions thinking of their beneficiaries and their consumption of information first.

Tech Impact has supported non-profit organizations nationwide on their technology needs for many years. With the addition of my data group, we can now provide profound services that range from consultative data services to technology deployment of data-centric solutions.

As a public & population health data scientist, I care deeply about the value of our work as it relates to implications… my team does not build predictive models on a whim. We rely deeply on the subject matter experts we partner with for inferencing. This is one of the many reasons I believe my approach to social impact enables organizations to honor and embed relevant technology and data strategies within their organizations, aiming to redefine how we best evaluate (reactively/cross-sectionally) the influence of non-profits among the communities they serve.

Takeaways from Convening

I am impressed by my SIS cohort’s depth and breadth of expertise! Whether it is DEI&B or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) work, I have had the privilege of being in the presence and relation to experts all around. If I had to choose, I’d highlight conversations we had during our in-person event at Penn around board membership.

As a board member of several non-profit organizations, I valued the discussions around social impact, accountability, and presence I experienced in person with my cohort mates. Concepts such as proportional parity, equity, and workforce development are core to my professional work, and while being in SIS, they became pillars of success to believe in. My colleagues energized me and helped me accept that in our current time, it behooves all aspects of an organization to lean into a data-centric culture.

They share advice for future applicants

Believe in your work! Oftentimes in academia, justice and advocacy work are viewed as lower tier research levels… when in reality, they have completely reshaped how we see, understand, and act on science. If you’re used to being or feeling like an island of 1… CSIS will provide you with the appropriate resources to scale the value of your local work. More importantly, it will provide you with a network of “believers” in your work.

We are thankful Héc shared their story! Follow them on LinkedIn and Instagram. And follow our page to hear from more brilliant Changemakers. Looking to learn more about our Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy(SIS)? Sign up for our information sessions or watch previous recordings from last year.

SIS graduates are eligible to apply to the Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership (NPL) in an accelerated, on-campus, or online format. The NPL program is a ten-credit master’s program; SIS Alumni must complete six credits to graduate.

Applications for the 2024 Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy will go live this summer. Follow our page for the official launch and other important information!