I Made a Career Switch to Digital Project Management. Here's My Story.
I'm not just that marketing gal anymore.
In spring 2017, I took a career sabbatical to recharge and truly think about my next power move. For me, that meant diving deeper into the world of project management (with help from generous local experts). Taking a hard look at the last decade of my career I realized I had been operating as a project manager, but didn't know that it was a formal or in-demand profession. Working across editorial products, digital strategy and client services, I realized project management was the glue to all of it. In those roles, I've always been most passionate about leveraging operational processes to directly contribute to product and business growth. The result left me with a set of knowledge, skills, experience, process and methods to oversee creative projects and wrangle creative teams.
Now, I want to bring all of that as a digital project manager to oversee the implementation of web design and development, product or software with a technical perspective.
After lots of research on what a PM does and what it takes to be a successful PM, I got my hands dirty. I put myself to the test:
In February 2017, I completed Girl Develop It project management and content strategy classes
At the same time I began building this Squarespace website, bridging front-end design and UX basics alongside content strategy, SEO and coding to showcase the breadth of my knowledge
In April 2017, I taught a digital project management workshop at the Millennial Leadership Summit
In May 2017, I received two weeks of on-site Scrum and agile training at local e-commerce shop WebLinc
In October 2017, I developed programming (and participated) in a two-day bootcamp with the Cedar Rapids Scrum Alliance for Converge Consulting, resulting in an agile playbook to be implemented across core service areas
In February 2018, I assisted the lead technical project manager at Jarvus Innovations on operational and administrative support for custom software projects
Throughout the year I received monthly mentorship from the Senior Director of Project Management at Think Company
The most exciting part: I learned I already knew more than I thought and was able to bridge my production background in digital media, events and editorial to start on the path towards more technical projects. To boost, I secured encouragement from peers to make the career change official.
CREATING A PM STYLE
I always have considered myself someone who works at the intersection of media and tech. I roll deep in the marketing and advertising world but can also speak to developers and designers with technical knowledge. As a former content producer and marketer, I tend to call marketing service agencies or being on the client side my home, where my expertise goes beyond advertising.
Here's how I approach any project:
Client Relationships: I’m a people person who is passionate about growing relationships and being a partner that listens and cares. I constantly seek out better ways to work with clients, paying special attention to their team structure, personalities and priorities. I've been lucky to call dozens of former clients good friends. At the end of the day, I want to contribute to more retention, too.
Process Improvement: Nothing makes me happier than creating color-coded project plans and timelines, especially with the right pen and paper (ask former colleagues). I never start a project without a thorough kickoff agenda and always insist on a retrospective (what I also call 'Pros and Grows'). I create wiki-like documents and templates that improve efficiencies long-term. I can't live without Evernote for extensive note-taking and bookmarking or GoogleDrive for working documents. I have grown to love Slack for team communication and file sharing, and Asana and Basecamp for task management.
Team Leadership: No matter the role, I step up to be team lead. I'm the first to lead resource allocation as I'm able to see how the pieces of a project should come together, identify and support talent and can forecast possible blockers or capacity issues from the start. I'm not afraid to admit when I don't know an answer but like my journo background, I'm quick to find the answers or solutions. I find assembling and growing teams can be really rewarding.
Technical Knowledge: I can also speak tech. I know my way around CMS platforms like WordPress, Tumblr and now Squarespace because I taught myself how to read and edit HTML code early on in my career. I put that to practice when I do website audits, design landing page wireframes or ebooks alongside designers and developers.
Data: I’m also a big fan of data analytics platforms like Google Analytics and comScore for monitoring and improving project performance on the web. Most recently, Salesforce and HubSpot have become my favorite customer data tools.
A few of my favorite moments working in project management:
Designed an Agile process playbook for Converge Consulting
Managed over $2M in year-over-year business as Technical.ly's first Client Success Manager
Supported project delivery efforts for interactive campaigns totaling $3.58M at Say Media
Implemented an operations toolkit for sales and marketing teams at The Week and Mental Floss magazines (owned by Dennis Publishing)
Oversaw the build and launch of a new editorial blog while running marketing at (now defunct) Sosauce.com
COMPANY CULTURE & WORK VALUES
I'm best suited to work at a mid-size company within the city of Philadelphia that is invested in growing and nurturing a PMO structure that I can contribute to.
Working at an inclusive and diverse company that contributes to positive culture and growth is a must. I’m a strong believer in thorough on-boarding, training and mentorship and value companies that equally invest in these professional development activities. I like working in small teams and perform best when surrounded by a supportive team of senior, like-minded individuals to gain institutional knowledge from and carve my own path.
Got a project for me? Get in touch.
Job leads and new connections are always appreciated. Before sending, please make sure the role, company and culture reflect my needs and expectations explained above. Think job titles like: Project Manager, Project Analyst, Operations Analyst or Program Manager that oversee the end-to-end implementation of website, product or software projects (not content or marketing roles). Wish me luck!