Tag Archives: fun at work

Keith Mangold: A Technical Leader’s Dream Job

Keith Mangold is a Senior Manager of IT Applications at Make-A-Wish Foundation. His passion is finding the right technology for organizations and helping improve their processes through innovative and new ideas. He loves playing with new tech, but his specialty is making the tech work for the organization’s needs. In this episode, Keith talks about his IT management journey, how he landed his dream job at Make-A-Wish Foundation (and why), and how he is able to be both an IT manager and a Jazzercise fitness instructor.


Q: Tell us about your passion for technology and when you first knew you wanted to go into IT.

Keith tells how he has had a lifelong passion for playing with the latest technology and he tells what his latest gadget is. Hint: it’s bigger than a bread box.

What do you do at Make-A-Wish Foundation and why is it your dream job?

Keith describes how he gets to use the latest tech but, more importantly, at the end of the day, he gets to help make the world a better place. The mission of Make-A-Wish is what enabled them to retain his talent.

Q: Can you tell us about the mission of Make-A-Wish Foundation?

Make-A-Wish’s mission is to create life changing wishes for children with critical illness. Keith describes how everything he does at Make-A-Wish is to help grant as many wishes as possible in as short a time as possible to spread that joy to every single eligible child. Their product, if you will, is granting wishes.

Q: You say that your least favorite words are “That’s the way we’ve always done it!” and you aspire to look at things from different viewpoints.  How do you bring others on board with you when you do this?

To get people to have open eyes, Keith says he has to have equally, if not more, open eyes. He says he wants to understand why people have always done it that way. That allows him to determine if there really is a need to change. Often there is a really good reason why people are doing things a certain way. Having an open mind himself allows him to ask the questions to get others to think about the way they are doing it.

Listen to the episode to learn Keith’s approach to managing teams by taking the work aspect out of it, how he builds connection in the team, how he shows up both as a senior tech manager and a Jazzercise instructor, and what his tips are for nerds to stay fit.

Words of Wisdom:

I have found I can’t change other people.

As a manager, I have grown more heavily by asking questions than by providing direction.

Learn and understand how someone likes to communicate.

To stay fit, don’t stop moving.

Shout Outs:

Help make the world a better place by making a donation to Make-A-Wish Foundation (Wish.org).

Stay fit while having fun. Join a Jazzercise class.

Contact Keith Mangold:

Email Keith: kman@blargo.net

Manish Bhardia: Habits for Healthy Teams

Joanie has a conversation with Manish Bhardia.  Manish is a principal at Think AI, a software development and consulting firm, author of the book Teamwork and Collaboration: How to Select and Use Right Productivity Environment for You and Your Team, and co-host of True Stories in Tech podcast. Manish specializes in AI and cloud consulting and has more than 17 years of experience leading complex technical projects.


Q: How did you move from being an engineer to a project manager?

Manish was told he was good at communicating with the clients and business users and that got him thinking about becoming a business analyst or project manager.  Also learning about the bad things that project managers do, such as working their teams too hard, made him want to do better with his team.

Q: How did you come to start your company, Think AI?

Because he worked well with clients, Manish decided he wanted to work with multiple clients as a cloud consultant and business owner.  He tells us how he learned how to build his sales skills too.

Q: How did you come to write your book, Teamwork and Collaboration?

A lot of Manish’s work at Think AI has been focused on teamwork.  They conducted a user-group survey to find out what their challenges were, and he wrote the book on the top ten items that centered on teamwork and collaboration.

Q: What are some of the unhealthy habits that remote workers have adopted and how can they get back to or start new healthier ones?

Manish said there are easy answers, but they are hard to implement.  He gives many tips both in his book and on the episode.  He also talks about how to add fun to a remote work environment, how to add clarity as a leader.  He also talks about how people adapting to interacting with AI.

Words of Wisdom, especially for Remote Work:

Keep your body active.

Keep calendar slots open for fun.

Create your ideal calendar and try to fit your schedule to that.

Be clear to your team on what to ignore.

Shout Out:

IAMCP, the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners.

Contact Manish Bhardia:

Website: Think AI

Book: Teamwork and Collaboration: How to Select and Use Right Productivity Environment for You and Your Team

Podcast: True Stories in Tech