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Leadership

Advice and Whiskey with Sherry Coker

Sherry Coker, co-founder of Mid-America Technology Alliance, met us at The Rock to talk business.

By Jeff Houghton

Sep 2019

Sherry Coker on black background
Photo by Brandon AlmsSherry Coker talks IT skill development Purchase Photo

Mid-American Technology Alliance (MATA) was formed to promote the community and to educate. We tell teenagers about becoming doctors, how do we talk about becoming a UX developer?”

“Talk to a business owner, and all of them say the biggest challenge is, ‘Where is my workforce [coming] from?’”

“If you’re a small business owner, chances are you’re selling [something] online. But you might not understand how software works for your system.”

“There is really strong IT talent out there. What are we doing to attract them to Springfield? What are you doing as a business owner to provide the type of environment to lure someone to Springfield to work for you?”

“If you’re an entrepreneur and you’ve managed to be successful, you’ve done so because you’re constantly looking at your business model and pivoting. In tech spaces you can do more than that, anything is possible. You’re only limited by how risk averse you are.”

“Ignorance doesn’t work. As Dr. Phil would say, ‘Recognize you have a problem, make efforts to fix it and educate yourself.’”

“Ask people, ‘Who did you use?’ When talking about IT services you can buy Cadillacs or you can buy a Ford Focus.”

“It’s a simple formula: If you’re a place where people want to work, guess what? You’re not going to have a problem attracting people.”