I Made a Career Switch to Digital Project Management. Here's My Story.
I'm not 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 super nice 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 was a serious, let alone in-demand profession. Looking back at my years 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 digital products (and processes) to directly contribute to business growth and make end users happy, too. Serving as a former content producer, marketing specialist, publicist, and campaign manager allowed me to get a broad perspective on project delivery, budgeting and problem solving. Now, I get to bring my knack for organization, writing, teamwork and client education as a digital project manager.
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 tech know-how with an eye for UX and branding to showcase a new digital portfolio
- 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 June 2017, I finished studying master guides from TeamGantt, GatherContent, The Digital Project Manager among many others
- In October 2017, I developed programming (and participated) in a two-day bootcamp with the Cedar Rapids Scrum Alliance for Converge Consulting
- 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 digital media PM experience to carve my own path as a technical PM. 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 about website stuff. Running a digital marketing campaign requires project management just like a website redesign or product launch. Here's how I approach any project:
- Client Engagement: 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 more retention, too.
- Process & Documentation: Nothing makes me happier than creating color-coded on-boarding 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 visibility, and have been adopted department-wide (here are some examples). They become manuals for scaling operations. 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 collaboration and file sharing, and Asana and Basecamp for sprint planning.
- 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 or capacity issues from the start. 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. I put that to practice when I build websites (like this one!), design landing page wireframes or ebooks 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.
A few of my favorite moments working in project management:
- Designed an Agile implementation 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 digital products totaling $3.58M at Say Media
- Implemented an operations toolkit for sales and marketing teams at The Week and Mental Floss magazines
- Oversaw the launch of a new editorial microsite while running marketing at (now defunct) Sosauce.com
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 level with more than one PM on staff . . . aka not startups).
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.
Got a job lead for me? Get in touch.
Job leads 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 (not content or marketing). Wish me luck!