CELEBRATING WOMEN IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT SERIES
Location: Chicago, IL, USA
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Elizabeth led project management groups in a diverse variety of industries for companies both large and small. Over the course of her career she has proven her effectiveness for speed and efficiency with several Fortune 50 companies as well as creating project management ecosystems for startups both in the US and overseas.
Throughout her career, Elizabeth managed a variety of projects, portfolios, and PMOs, with some in excess of $40 million. She has also managed Agile transformations at companies large and small. Elizabeth has an eye for innovation when it comes to balancing formal PMO structure and pure-play Project Management with organizational standards, which has made her expertise a commodity in the project management world.
Elizabeth has an undergraduate degree in MIS from the University of Illinois, and an MBA from Villanova University. She has a number of Project Management certifications including PMP and CSM and SAFe. Elizabeth also has travelled the world as a Hydroplane boat racing as Team Manager and driver for Johnson~Wolfe Racing. She resides in Chicago with her family.
What I enjoy most about being a project manager is:
Other than my daily family life, and 4 year old, I don’t get the chance to manage projects directly at present. I lead Portfolio Leads and PMs that manage projects. In fact, my teams manage a large diverse IT portfolio of 250 projects. I love helping to solve problems. Whether it is a PM asking for advice for how to navigate a tricky project situation or a PMO trying to navigate through a new process rollout. I love working through and figuring out the right solution for everyone. I enjoy working with teams and helping them to grow and establish their own PM capabilities, competencies, and success!
The three most important skills I use to successfully deliver projects are:
I am not afraid to ask questions. I work in IT Project Management, and I find so many people just nod and smile when someone brings up a new acronym or technology. I don’t do that. I certainly don’t need to know the details about every technology but having a high level understanding is critical to PM success.
I try to wear my stakeholders shoes. Empathy and understanding of end users is a critical skill for PMs to be able to navigate and predict issues that may impact their project.
I chip in. If there is an area that I can contribute (without stepping on anyone’s toes) that makes sense I do it. I once helped clean crash carts in the middle of the night in a data center because it needed to be done… successful PMs should look for opportunities like this to build successful projects and lead project teams.
I build and nurture my professional network by:
Networks need to be nourished. Things like connecting people that you don’t know, checking in with people that you do, suggesting professional organizations, books, or thoughts to your networks. Being active and engaged in your networks. The best networking story I have is a random LinkedIn InMail that came to me from someone that did a ton of research. He said, I know you don’t know me or have a job right now, but we are connected through this person and this person, and I am really interested in your industry and this is why….he was the best PM I ever hired. It might not feel like you are making progress and might feel fruitless, but in the end these are the things that make a difference in professional networking.
At the start of my career, the one thing I wish I had known is:
At the start of my career I wish I had had a better perspective of the balance between aggressive drive and experience necessary to success. That I had more patience with myself and others. Inexperienced, ambitious, and energetic needs to be maintained and nourished for a long career. Early on, there were too many disappointments when I didn’t get what I felt I deserved (but actually didn’t deserve in reality).
Women who have inspired me so far in my career journey are:
I haven’t had a lot of women mentors in my career. I have a wonderful friend from Grad School who told me to “stop being ridiculous, you will be fine.” I have a wonderful friend from a former job who told me to “understand that my feelings are valid, even if its not the best thing for me to take action on them.” And I have a wonderful friend who I have worked with who constantly shares her mantra “it will work out in the end.”
The most valuable advice I have ever been given is:
Trust my instincts, but don’t always speak them out loud.
My advice for women on finding success as a project manager is:
Project Managers need to be strategic in all things. From career planning, to self and team management, to working out issues and plans in projects. It is easy to get caught up in a single detail, personality, or issue; but the role of the PM is to work through all of these things to help the overall be successful.
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.