Katie Wallace’s clients are mostly Baby Boomers (ages 59 to 74) and older adults who want to communicate with family members who often live out of town.
A year ago, few would have imagined so many of our personal and business interactions would be conducted online, using our computers, iPads and smartphones to “meet” and socialize safely during the pandemic. Various online platforms — Zoom, Skype, FaceTime and Microsoft Teams, to name a few of the most popular — are now a common way to celebrate family birthdays, have medical appointments and attend classes and concerts.
But not everyone was familiar with this technology before COVID-19, and the use of these platforms can be challenging. That’s where Katie Wallace comes in — she is a tech-savvy coach for using this technology at home.
Wallace, 31, was living in Royal Oak and working at a nonprofit in Eastern Market when the pandemic lockdown began. She temporarily moved back home with her parents in Huntington Woods. Soon they and their friends were asking for help with Zoom meetings. Often they didn’t know to mute their computers or adjust the cameras.
“Zoom wasn’t really for consumers. I want to empower people to use their technology,” she explains.
With some patient one-on-one instruction, she was able to “reduce their anger and irritation.” Through word of mouth, requests increased for technology help from two demographics — adult children and their parents. Wallace, who was laid off in May, officially launched her business, Boom Chicka Zoom, LLC, in November. She credits the clever name to Gilda Jacobs, her parents’ neighbor.
Wallace’s clients are mostly Baby Boomers (ages 59 to 74) and older adults who want to communicate with family members who often live out of town. Some have IT services available through their workplace but are grateful for her help.
Gregg Orley of Bloomfield Hills is one of Wallace’s satisfied clients. Orley thought it would be much more professional and easy to work with her than asking family members for help. “She is amazing. I write out questions and she makes it all clear for me. We meet over Zoom,” explains Orley.
He wanted to download a fitness app and by holding up his phone, Wallace was able to help him while communicating through Zoom. “I am so appreciative of her warmth and patience,” Orley says.
Wallace, who graduated from U-M, expects to receive an MBA with a co-major in management and entrepreneurship and innovation from Wayne State University this year. She has worked as an intern at Federation, at the American Diabetes Association and Yad Ezra.
A Natural Techie
While her academic background hasn’t focused on information technology, she was the “go-to tech person” at some of her workplaces. Boom Chicka Zoom combines what she is good at with what she likes, Wallace explains.
“I’m providing support for people, not trying to replace IT,” she explains. That support can mean helping people set up wireless printers, Alexa and smart TVs. If clients want, she will store their computer serial numbers and passwords, and often helps with iPhone, WordPress and electronic calendars.
Wallace works online with clients, sometimes using software that enables her to “take over” their computers and show them how to do things. Sometimes she works through Apple chat on their behalf.
Coaching/consulting can be for a few sessions or on an ongoing basis. Wallace’s hourly fee is $40; a package of three hours can be spread out over time and costs $100. Typically, the first half-hour of needs assessment is free. Visit boomchickazoom.com for more information.