Spotlight On: Alex Donn

Sep 18, 2014 2:05 PM ET

Spotlight On: Alex Donn

What is your typical day like on the job?

Lots of phone calls! I’m always looking for opportunities to amplify AT&T’s key messages, including ways we can help spread our corporate social responsibility and Application-Programming Interface (API) messages. For example, I identify and capture opportunities to work with schools and nonprofits that can work with us to help build applications that integrate our API offerings to solve some of their everyday problems.

Much of my day also is focused on identifying quality sponsors and partners, and meeting unique startups. Even when I am at a hackathon, I am talking with startups and networking with an eye for cross-promotional and hackathon opportunities. These cross-marketing opportunities enable the AT&T Developer Program to dip into new communities as well as explore new engagement models that build a developer community for our future products.

How does your role support AT&T’s efforts to improve environmental and social performance and impact?

Developers in general love supporting causes and events that focus on advancing social good, whether it’s helping the environment and/or helping people. Any time we put a request like that out there, the response is pretty immediate and strong. Being able to rally such in-demand and valuable brain power and talent for the good of the community is pretty significant.

For example, on the environmental side, we ran a hackathon last year in conjunction with the AT&T Sustainability Operations team. AT&T had been working with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to build an app called WaterMAPP that helped facility managers estimate and take action on water efficiency. The Hackathon resulted in two additional water conservation apps. The first takes inputs about faucets, toilets and any equipment that uses water throughout the building and then estimates water consumption per hour, per week, etc. The second is an app that creates a building water scorecard similar to what is found in the WaterMAPP toolkit.

We also ran a number of hackathons focused on education. We partnered with educational institutions to bring in students to build apps that directly impact and advance learning in the classroom.

Why do you think corporate social responsibility is important to business?

CSR is important to business because it places the focus on the right place: the customer. By helping communities host hackathons, attendees gain the skills necessary to advance their careers, ideas and startup ventures. Hackathons are a meaningful and direct way of investing in the community while evangelizing sponsor messaging – these events create a positive environment where everyone wins!

It’s also about investment in the long term. Investing in the community reaps long-term positive benefits for our company and our communities.

What keeps you busy outside of work?

Cooking, traveling, socializing and life hacking. I have a number of food sensitivities, so cooking has become a necessity. I make an awesome “Fallen Angel” chocolate cake that is easy to construct and is gluten-free to boot. Besides, who can say no to chocolate? Email me if you’d like the recipe!