Copyright 2024 SPARK
Guest post by Nigel Berry, People Operations Manager at DocNetwork

The small, bright green leaves have appeared on the trees.  Neighbors, unseen since last fall’s leaf raking, are emerging from their homes.  And the gardening community’s anxiety about the dreaded frost date is melting away. It would appear indeed that summer is nearing the Ann Arbor community and this is good news!  As the temperatures begin to rise, so does the social scene of the city and one event promises a boost to the talent network this May.

On Thursday, May 18th, a collaborative event organized by Ann Arbor SPARK and a local network of human resources professionals (the Greater Ann Arbor Society for Human Resources Management, aka ‘GAASHRM’) will spotlight Ann Arbor’s growing technology hub and some of the people that make the tech sector so extraordinary.

Talent & Opportunity for All

Ann Arbor consistently ranks highly in categories including “Most Educated Cities in America”, “Best Places to Live in America”, “Best Cities to Raise a Family” and more!  With these boasts in mind, it is not surprising that some of the region’s best entrepreneurs, thought-leaders, and innovators call Ann Arbor their home.  However, such gifts are only valuable in proportion to their accessibility.  

Unleashing the stories, learned wisdom, novel ideas, and the shared resources of our community is a powerful way we can support the growth and success of our neighbors.  To put these resources with reach, the HR TECH TOUR event will feature a walking tour through the Ann Arbor Social District to visit and learn from some of the talent innovators working the Ann Arbor tech scene.  

One example of local innovation is DocNetwork’s approach to hiring.  In many industries, the most attractive resumes for traditional recruiters align neatly with the vacant job.  Former Business Development Representatives are hired to function as new Business Development Representatives.  Computer Science majors get slotted to become Software Engineers.  Marketers do  marketing, admins are hired to be admins, and so on.  Experience and education certainly matter but do they matter so narrowly?  That is the question that the people managers and hiring teams at DocNetwork ask themselves with every job opening. 

This approach doesn’t feel all that novel to the DocNetwork team, however.  Perhaps it is because the Founder/CEO of this teenage tech company is a board licensed & actively practicing doctor in pediatrics?  If we’re being completely honest, Dr. Michael Ambrose might not make it past the recruiters who look for a traditional education pedigree for a CEO role.  But that’s the “secret sauce” of DocNetwork.  

The background of DocNetwork’s team is incredibly diverse and, in addition to pedatric doctors, this growing software company is utilizing talent from so many different industries including K-12 education, real estate, publishing, community services, youth camps, religious organizations, construction, and more!  

DocNetwork operates under the belief that they can teach team members all they need to know about their product, industry, and the functions of their jobs. But there are skills that are harder to teach like shared values, integrity, patience, courage, and initiative.  Hiring managers at DocNetwork take a “fit-first” mentality to filling the ranks and, for that reason, DocNetwork not only has been a foot-in-the-door for many of our community members that actively work in the technology industry but they have also maintained high levels of employee engagement as team members are eager to apply the skills they have learned in alternative industries to the software industry. 

Event Information

So come learn from companies like DocNetwork, SkySpecs, Torrent, and more at the upcoming HR Tech Tour!
Meet us on Thursday, May 18th from 4:00pm – 7:00pm at Cahoots, a local tech coworking hub, at 206 E. Huron in downtown Ann Arbor.  Participants will begin the evening networking over drinks ahead of the formal welcome and introduction to the evenings’ offerings.  From there, groups will traverse stages set up through the Cahoots space and between local tech offices to discover each organization’s unique takes on attracting, developing, retaining and releasing talent.  The groups will reconvene back at Cahoots to share takeaways from the evening and learn more about upcoming summer and fall events where they may continue expanding their networks.

This event is limited to the first seventy (70) registered attendees so we recommend moving as fast as a UofM wide receiver to secure your spot!  Register and learn more about the event at GAASHRM’s event.


Nigel Berry (he/him) is the People Operations Manager at DocNetwork, a local software company supporting the health and safety of kids all across the country.   A 3-year member of GAASHRM, , Nigel is an accomplished recruiter, an office culture champion, a growing DEI specialist, and a recovering company-league soccer player (only one broken ankle!).  Outside of work, Nigel can be found at home in Ypsilanti,  running on trails, sipping coffee at Hyperion, or on Eastern Michigan’s campus in pursuit of his Master’s degree in Public Administration.