Viewpoint of the Volunteer
An interview with Jeff Carey
1. When did you start volunteering for COMMON and what volunteer
positions have you held so far?
I started as a speaker at the Spring Conference in Chicago in 2005. I’ve been a
speaker ever since then and was elected to the Board of Directors in 2006.
3. Tell us about your current and past volunteer experiences outside of COMMON.
I was very involved with community theatre back in the 90’s. I was on the Board and served a term as
Chairman for a well-established community theatre near my home. After that, I founded a community
theatre group with some of the people I had worked with.
4. What enjoyment do you gain most out of volunteering for COMMON and other organizations?
It is great meeting others with similar interests. I also really enjoy the contacts I’ve been able to make
that have really helped me progress in my career, not necessarily in terms of job opportunities, but
more in getting me the information I need to succeed in my job.
5. What would you call challenging about the role as a COMMON volunteer?
The time and money commitment is not trivial, especially when I’ve been with companies who decided
not to cover my expenses related to my work for COMMON.
6. What keeps you motivated in the role as a volunteer and helps you overcome these challenges?
I know that the knowledge I gain and the contacts I maintain will continue to be valuable, so I work as
best I can to continue to fulfill my commitment to COMMON.
7. What kind of people did you enjoy working with most?
People who are interested in what they are doing and enjoy sharing their knowledge.
8. What are the benefits of volunteering in your personal opinion?
It reminds you that some things, while they may offer you benefits in the long run, are worth doing not
because they directly benefit you but because they benefit a larger community.
9. What, in your opinion, makes a good COMMON volunteer?
Passion for the organization and a strong belief that commitments should be honored.
10. Can you give us a short bio about yourself and anything personal you want to share?
I’ve been involved with the platform on the IBM i side as an administrator since 1992 and as technical
support since 2009. I enjoy hands on work but also like the challenge of managing people and projects
when I have the chance. Nothing satisfies me more than putting in place a system that works – be that
a physical hardware/software implementation or a procedure or project. I enjoy public speaking both
at COMMON events and as a member of Toastmasters. I currently am also on the board of Omni User, a
Chicago area IBM i user group, where I am the Immediate Past President and Technical Conference Chair.