Crystal J. Richards
CELEBRATING WOMEN IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT SERIES
Location: Bowie, MD, USA
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Crystal is a dynamic trainer, results-oriented facilitator, and versatile project manager. Crystal is a certified project management professional, a Fellow of the Healthcare Financial Management Association, and serves as a mentor to her alumni, Georgetown University. Crystal is also a graduate of the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill Gillings School of Public Health.
An Army Brat, Crystal enjoys the simpler things in life like taking her senior black lab for a hike in Maryland’s state parks, tending to her vegetable garden, Dunkin’ Donuts® coffee, and mastering her latest obsession: learning how to play golf.
What I enjoy most about being a project manager is:
Client (stakeholder) engagement. Coming from a consulting background, our other job title included “engagement manager.” I enjoy working with people and convincing them the benefits of the project to them, to the organization, and in the case of health care projects, the benefits to the community. Even with resistant stakeholders, it was my mission to work with them on an ongoing basis to change them into supporters for the project.
The three most important skills I use to successfully deliver projects are:
Listening, negotiations, and a sense of humor.
I build and nurture my professional network by:
Being intentional with my connections with others. I get to know my stakeholders and I find out what motivates them. I try to make the relationship more than transactional. I’ve found the authentic relationships actually turn those folks into advocates for the project and they stand up for me and/or the merits of the project even when I’m not in the room.
At the start of my career, the one thing I wish I had known is:
Ask. The worst they can say is no. And no is information. I found by not asking (i.e. negotiating), I have left a lot of opportunities (money, resources, other job opportunities, etc) on the table.
Women who have inspired me so far in my career journey are:
Mary Buzas – my business travel advisor, plus she showed me it’s ok to have fun at work.
Carol Carnell – she showed me how to be respectfully nice-ty and still get positive results and like myself in the mirror.
Denise Hamilton – I recently learned from her at a conference to have a “J-Lo” list to be my best.
And always my Mom – I am humbled by her sacrificial love to make sure I was set up for success in life.
The most valuable advice I have ever been given is:
I have a light-hearted story: when packing my suitcase for business travel, decide on a brown week, a black week or blue week. Meaning, pick one pair of dress shoes for the week and match my outfits to that. My very first business travel (mind you, I was young), I literally had 4 pairs of shoes for each day, and of course tennis shoes for workouts and casual shoes for after work. I was the odd (wo)man out when the rest of my colleagues had carry-on luggage and I had to check my bag because it was too large–filled with shoes!
My advice for women on finding success as a project manager is:
Never stop learning, find balance in life–set expectations about your time, and stop saying sorry–don’t apologize for being awesome.
Hello amazing women of the project management world!
My observation after two decades of working in the project management industry is that our voices as women are simply not heard enough online in articles, podcasts, and across social media channels. Let’s change that!
- If you’re a woman working in project management, I want to hear from you! Submit your profile today to make sure to be included in this years event which has already begun.
- Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn to be inspired by daily posts as we celebrate all of these wonderful women in project management! Feel motivated by their stories, achievements and perspectives.
- Tell us how you feel and support other women by including #CelebratingWomenInProjectManagement in your social media posts.
- Join our FREE exclusive Celebrating Women in Project Management Facebook group – a new space for women in project management to come together and discuss ideas, give advice, provide support, and network with women from all over the globe.