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Higher Ground Reliably Saves Time and Allows for Innovation at the YWCA in Central Alabama

Pam Matthews worked as the IT director at Shades Mountain Baptist Church for several years. Pam had a heavy background in technology and IT services, which gave her confidence in thinking she could manage their IT independently. However, she was encouraged

to stick with Higher Ground and is glad she did. She started working with Thomas Guffin, who, in the year 2000, founded Higher Ground, and they quickly developed a great friendship and working relationship. Having Higher Ground at Shades Mountain gave her the freedom to travel and take part in many mission trips and other outreach ministries that, running things herself, she wouldn’t have been able to do.

Pam is now the Innovation and Technology Director at the YWCA, serving for the past five years. Because of her previous relationship with the staff at Higher Ground, having Higher Ground follow her there was a straightforward decision. 

“I immediately said I want to use a different managed services provider, and it’s going to be Higher Ground, and this is how I want it to work.”

– Pam Matthews, Innovation and Technology Director, YWCA, Central Alabama

At her branch of the YWCA, they focus on three primary social justice areas. One of their heavy-duty areas is domestic violence. They run several shelters and have a 24-hour crisis line. As the principal crisis line for the middle of the state and much of Alabama, their phone system remaining up at all times is extremely important. 

They also do housing; they are a large leasing agent for lower-income families. They are in an older 10-story building with complicated infrastructure. Seven floors are dedicated to housing, while the other three are administrative. They also have a little boutique where their clients can come and get what they need, including clothing for interviews. Their boutique is open to the public, and the money from the public sales comes back as a fundraiser to help keep things running. Pam says many clients come in with nothing but the clothing on their backs, and the boutique allows them to get what they need for themselves and their children. 

Their community is one of the lowest economic zip codes in the Birmingham area. They provide a resource center and do classes, allowing clients to get back into the workforce and on their feet. The third component is an NAEYC Accredited Child Development Center. Their center is top of the line; over half of their clients are non-paying, lower-income families from the shelter. 

Higher Ground aids her in keeping all of that running smoothly. They helped fill not only urgent needs but also long-term model planning, which supported them through COVID-19. 

“We had just finished moving into using Microsoft Teams from working off a shared drive. some people had to be here in the building to work because of what they do and who they serve. Others of us were all over the middle of Alabama working and could work together because of the planning and the foresight that I was able to have with Higher Ground’s help.”

– Pam Matthews, Innovation and Technology Director, YWCA, Central Alabama

At the YWCA, they use Switchvox, one of the Voiceover IP phone solutions offered by Higher Ground, and the backup services, data center, and firewall/security features of Higher Ground. Pam is a one-person shop in the office, so she must have a team she can trust. She doesn’t have to take the time to look up a local service and have them come out and then explain their system and the problem each time. 

“Higher Ground already knows as well as I do what our network looks like, and they have access to it. They often know before I do if we have some kind of issue. It allows me the time to be innovative, which, as the Director of Innovation and Technology, is important.”

– Pam Matthews, Innovation and Technology Director, YWCA, Central Alabama

Pam refers to the Higher Ground team as the right side of her brain. She can identify a problem and a solution, but talking it through with one of the Higher Ground team members helps her redirect if necessary and forecast what might happen if she does it that way. The one thing that Pam wants everyone to know is that the people of Higher Ground have honesty and integrity. 

“They may not always be right, but they’re going to be honest, and the integrity and the intent is going to be there so that I know they have the best interest of me and my organization at heart.”

Pam Matthews, Innovation and Technology Director, YWCA, Central Alabama

She knows that to be true because she has been on the cutting edge of different things with Higher Ground. They looked at her problem and said, “This could be the answer. Do you want to try it?” She trusts them enough that she will answer yes every time. She knows that even if it doesn’t work how they want, they will be honest with her and keep working to find a solution.

With Higher Ground, Pam is confident that her data is secure, her phone system will stay up, and she can fully trust the Higher Ground team. Higher Ground saves her time and allows her to be innovative and do what is best for the people they impact at the YWCA. 

To find out more about the YWCA Central Alabama, click Here

To find out more about Higher Ground, click Here

About Stacey Smith

Stacey joined the ACST team in 1998 in the support department and joined the marketing team in 2021 as an Associate Marketing Coordinator. Today she runs the ACST Ministry Champions program, which involves all references, reviews, and testimonials for all of our products and services. When she isn’t at work, she is spending time with her husband, two teenage daughters and furbaby Copper.

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