I Made a Career Switch to Digital Project Management. Here's My Story.
As many of you know, in the summer of 2015 I left New York to find new career opportunities in Philadelphia. As a cross-functional learner, I study the local tech and media ecosystem, nurture new relationships and join diverse professional communities. In spring of 2017 I decided to take that journey one step further.
When you unexpectedly become a free agent, the time to recharge becomes necessary and valuable in order to truly think about your next power move. For me, that meant diving deeper into the world of project management with help from local experts. Taking a hard look at the last decade of my career I realized I had been trying to make project management happen, yet didn't know it was a profession that existed. Further research proved my love for organization, structure, process and writing could set me up as a kickass DPM. So I dove right in.
- 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 tech know-how with an eye for UX and branding to showcase a new digital experience
- In April 2017, I taught a digital project management workshop at the Millennial Leadership Summit
- In May 2017, I received on-site training at local e-commerce shop WebLinc on Agile / Scrum styles
- In June 2017, I finished studying master guides from TeamGantt, GatherContent, The Digital Project Manager among many others
- Soon after I launched this Squarespace website as a portfolio tool
I learned I already knew more than I thought and was able to bridge technical know-how to carve my own path as a DPM with a unique background. It's exciting to find the encouragement to make a career change just by rediscovering what you already excel at. Now it's about bringing all of those best assets to the right company.
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
I work at the intersection of media and tech. I’ve spent nearly a decade providing client services for digital marketing and advertising clients, playing a key role in project management, product development and business growth.
- Client Communications: I’m a people person who is passionate about growing relationships and being a thought leader that offers best practices. I constantly seek out better ways to work with clients, paying special attention to their operations and team structure, personalities and preferences. I've been lucky to call dozens of former clients good friends. At the end of the day, I want to contribute to retention, too.
- Process & Documentation: Nothing makes me happier than creating color-coded onboarding and workflow documents – 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 productivity and transparency, and have been adopted department-wide (here are some examples). They become operations manuals capturing incremental change and continuous improvement, and usually the first thing I implement in a new role. I can't live without Evernote for extensive note-taking and bookmarking or GoogleDrive for documentation and templates. I have grown to love Slack for team communication and file sharing and Asana to track checklists during sprints.
- Resource Planning: No matter the role, I step up to be team lead. I have a knack for seeing how the pieces of a project should come together and can forecast possible blockers. I find assembling and growing teams is the most fun part of being shared services.
- Content Strategy: I can write, edit, strategize, and produce digital content that directly contributes to revenue. I spent a large chunk of my early career as a consultant helping companies gain new customers by improving content products and digital experiences that engage audiences across platforms, including mobile and experiential. I love working alongside creatives, product owners and marketers to achieve a business goal.
- 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, allowing me to build websites (like this one!) alongside UX designers and front-end developers. I’m also a big fan of data analytics platforms like Google Analytics and comScore for web performance. Most recently, Salesforce and HubSpot have become my favorite customer success tools.
For two years I was Technical.ly's first Client Success Manager. There I built a brand new customer service and project management function that operated cross-functionally. My proudest moments were seeing large-scale projects from start to finish, finding a more efficient and collaborative workflow and making clients' lives easier (and happier!) in the process.
- Led stakeholder interviews, analyzed business needs and designed content wireframes that became 12 case studies
- Led resource planning, scope development, content production and launch support for 1 ebook derived from a year-long editorial and events campaign later scaled as a content marketing initiative
- Designed custom client portals for managing digital assets for digital campaigns and event sponsorships on WordPress using GravityForms, Zapier and HubSpot integrations
- Led content strategy and product development to inform the launch of a brand new advertising page
- Developed roadmaps, interviewed stakeholders, managed freelance talent, edited content and supported launch of 8 employer branding profiles
I believe in transparency as a communications tool. I’m not afraid of trouble shooting and enjoy learning from others, and I can pass that enthusiasm on to those around me. The diversity in my skill set has allowed me to stay nimble and ahead of the curve while also bringing a holistic business perspective to the table.
I'm best suited to work at a mid-size company within the city of Philadelphia (commuting outside the city is not an option for me) that has a well-defined and supported Project Management operation or growth structure that I can improve upon (see: PMO maturity levels with more than one PM on staff . . . aka not startups). I specialize in large-scale media campaigns though I am eager to bring that speciality to a tech/dev shop. In my last three sales support roles, I managed over $1M in business revenue, with the average campaign lasting three to six months. I practice using a mix of waterfall and agile to steer projects dependent on client preferences and project needs. After playing the role of a one-woman department for several years, I am most interested in adapting my background in digital content strategy, integrated marketing and product development to a digital/web project (websites, apps and TV) with an on-site team that can teach me new skills.
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 or mentorship and value companies that equally invest in these professional development activities. Most importantly, I'm someone that looks forward to staying put long-term here in Philly and gaining institutional knowledge from smart people.
Thanks to the amazing guidance and encouragement of the communities on Slack, Girl Develop It, Ela Conf, Digital Project Managers Philly Meetup and others, I landed a new job in digital content project management at Converge Consulting starting July 2017. Looking forward to entering this new chapter in my career.