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Category Archives: KAI Partners Staff Profile

KAI Partners Staff Profile: The Human Resources Generalist and SHRM-CP

General Life/Work, Human Resources, KAI Partners, KAI Partners Staff Profile, KAIP Academy, Learning, Managing/Leadership, Onboarding, Sacramento, SHRM, Small Business

There are many paths to success and while not everyone takes the same path, we often manage to arrive at the same destination. In our KAI Partners Staff Profile series, we share interviews and insight from some of our own employees here at KAI Partners. Our staff brings a diversity in education, professional, and life experience, all of which demonstrate that the traditional route is not necessarily the one that must be traveled in order to achieve success.

Today, we bring you an update on the professional journey of Melissa McManus, Ed.D. When we last spoke, Melissa was KAI Partners’ Research Analyst and is now our Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Certified Professional.

 KAI Partners, Inc.: Melissa, tell us about the transition from Research Analyst to Human Resources Generalist and SHRM-CP.

Melissa McManus: As the Research Analyst, I was doing multiple work tasks, including human resources. Since I was already doing bits and pieces of HR, you could say that I grew into my current role as HR Generalist and SHRM-CP. It was the logical next step and a seamless transition.

KAIP: What is your favorite thing about being in HR?

MM: The variety is absolutely one of my favorite things about being in HR. There is always something different and new, and that is exciting to me. Most people are afraid of change or afraid of doing different things; on the other hand, I enjoy it and I am more afraid of monotony—doing the exact same thing day in and day out.

My new position allows for this constant change and variety. While the tasks may be the same or similar they are also new and different. Some examples of this are getting to work with different people and personalities and the constantly-changing HR and employment laws. This guarantees that I stay a life-long learner because I need to stay current on all laws and what is happening in HR. In that same vein, my HR certification will also keep me current in all things HR as I have professional development credits I must earn each year to keep my SHRM-CP current.

KAIP: From your recent blog post on career development and your self-appointed title of Lifelong Learner, we know these things are important to you. How does getting the SHRM-CP highlight that?

MM: Getting my SHRM-CP was important to me not only for my career development but also personally, as well. I take great pride in being a knowledge-seeker and staying current in my profession. I think that it says a lot about the type of person I am and it also communicates that I want to be the best at my job and how far I am willing to go to do that.

KAIP: We also know you love research. Have you found an opportunity to get back to your roots as a Research Analyst?

MM: I still get to do research as part of my work. Research is part of the territory for me and inhabits all areas of my life! In my current role, there are many instances where I get to put my research guru hat on. While my focus is in the daily tasks surrounding human resource management, this includes a variety of tasks, even research.

Thank you, Melissa, for sharing your journey! How have you made transitions in your career? Share your story with us in the comments!

About Melissa: Dr. Melissa McManus is a human resources professional and research guru. One of her greatest strengths is her resolute ability to soak in new information and her never-ending thirst for knowledge. Melissa has a Master’s degree in Counseling, and a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership with a focus in Human Resource Development. Melissa’s professional interests include human behavior, career development, research, writing, training, and knowledge transfer. She is passionate about life and describes herself as an avid bookworm. In her free time, when she is not running her kids to gymnastics or karate, Melissa enjoys reading (a lot), wine tasting, being with friends/family, and spending time with her husband and two children.

Quick Q&A with Melissa:
Daily, must-visit website: SHRM.org
Preferred genre of music to listen to at work: Country, always!
Best professional advice received: Never stop learning and don’t let anyone tell you what you are worth—only you can make that determination!
Top productivity hack: Changing up location/scenery. Because I work from home, every now and again I need a different view, which helps to recharge. Also, making sure to take breaks or walk around is a good alternative if you work in an office or specific location.
Book you can read over and over again: If I have to pick just one…Pride and Prejudice and the entire Harry Potter series. There are so many more, but these are the ones came to mind.
Most-recent binge-watched show: Tiny House Hunters

KAI Partners Staff Profile: The PMP

Agile, Business Analysis, Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), General Life/Work, KAI Partners, KAI Partners Staff Profile, Managing/Leadership, Project Management, Project Management Professional (PMP), Sacramento, Scrum, Small Business, Technical Writing

staff-profile

There are many paths to success and while not everyone takes the same path, we often manage to arrive at the same destination. In our KAI Partners Staff Profile series, we share interviews and insight from some of our own employees here at KAI Partners. Our staff brings a diversity in education, professional, and life experience, all of which demonstrate that the traditional route is not necessarily the one that must be traveled in order to achieve success. Today, we bring you the journey of one of our Project Managers, Jamie Spagner, Project Management Professional (PMP)® and Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM).

KAI Partners, Inc.: Jamie, how did you get into project management work?

Jamie Spagner: I got into Project Management by default. In college, I wanted to be a lobbyist. I wanted to influence the actions, policies, or decisions of elected officials. But, life had a different plan. I was blessed with a beautiful little boy my last semester in college. Because of this new addition to my life, I was unable to attend The Washington Center program I was slated for in Washington D.C. Being a mother forced me to explore other career options that would allow me to provide a decent life for my son as a single mom. At the time, the IT industry had higher-paying jobs out of college, so I looked for a ways to get into that field.

In college, I worked part-time for the Money Store, which later became First Union, then Wachovia, and is now Well Fargo. I held many positions, but I always watched the job boards to see the various positions being offered and the qualifications needed. One day I stumbled on a Senior Technical Writer position.

While I ultimately didn’t have the experience for the Senior Technical Writer role at the time, I did establish a relationship and mentorship with the hiring manager. She told me the books I should read for learning, encouraged me to join the Society for Technical Communication (STC), and invited me to different events with her team. Within 6-8 months of establishing that relationship, she hired me as a Technical Writer.

Through natural progression, I worked as a Technical Writer, then transitioned to a Business Analyst. From Business Analyst, I advanced into Project Management.

KAIP: Some people may not realize the difference between being a Project Manager and being a Project Manager with a Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification. Can you explain why you decided to pursue your PMP®? How has it helped you?

JS: I decided to pursue my PMP because it’s a respected certification in the field. The test is not an easy test, so it shows a level of dedication to employers to see a potential candidates who has gone the extra step to obtain those three letters.

It also opens doors professionally. Many employers require a PMP certification for Project Management positions; the project I am currently working on requires it.

KAIP: What is your favorite part about your line of work and why?

JS: My favorite part about my job is collaborating with people to deliver a product or service. Ninety percent of a Project Manager’s job is communication. What I enjoy most is building relationships,

collaborating, influencing directions and decisions, and successfully delivering products and services to the client’s satisfaction.

KAIP: What is one of the most common project management questions you receive from clients and what counsel or advice do you give them?

JS: “What is project management?” is the most common question I get from people. The advice I give to clients is to be transparent and always be able to defend their “Why.” In this profession, you have to make quick decisions and sometimes they are not always the right decisions. However, it’s important to always be able defend why you made the decision you made.

JamieAbout Jamie: Jamie Spagner is an Executive Consultant for KAI Partners, where she works as a Project Manager for a public sector health care client. She graduated from California State University, Sacramento with the Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies/Public Relation. She is a loving mother of a teenage son named Wyatt. In her spare time, she enjoys shopping, spending time with family/close friends, and working out.


Quick Q&A with Jamie:
Daily, must-visit website: Pinterest
Preferred genre of music or podcast to listen to: Hip-hop and R&B
Best professional advice received: Be courageous; do not be afraid to fail
Book you can read over and over again: “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle
Most-recent binge-watched show: New Edition Movie. This was a movie about the pop group New Edition that aired on BET…I loved it!

KAI Partners Staff Profile: The Research Analyst

Communications, General Life/Work, Human Resources, KAI Partners, KAI Partners Staff Profile, Managing/Leadership, Sacramento, Small Business

staff-profile

There are many paths to success and while not everyone takes the same path, we often manage to arrive at the same destination. In our KAI Partners Staff Profile series, we share interviews and insight from some of our own employees here at KAI Partners. Our staff brings a diversity in education, professional, and life experience, all of which demonstrate that the traditional route is not necessarily the one that must be traveled in order to achieve success. Today, we bring you the journey of our Research Analyst Melissa McManus, Ed.D.

KAI Partners, Inc.: Melissa, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Melissa McManus: When I was a little girl what I really wanted to be was an actress. But I grew up and realized that was not realistic for me. If you ask anyone who knows me however, they will tell you that I love learning. So education seemed to be a great fit at the time and so I planned on being a teacher and working in education.

KAIP: And as our fearless Research Analyst, we know you’re not doing that! How did you get into this profession?

MM: The combination really of all of my degrees has led me to being KAI Partners Fearless Research Analyst. I have been referred to as a professional student, but I prefer the term “lifelong learner.” To give you an idea of my educational background, I have a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies (I call it the ‘Jack of all Trades’ degree), a Master’s degree in Counseling, and a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership and Management with a concentration in Human Resource Development.

KAIP: So, how does all of that add up to you becoming a Research Analyst?

MM: My path to my current position as a Research Analyst is not what one would call typical. Then again, I do not go through life in a typical fashion; I make my own way. I am one of those people who believes that everything happens for a reason. While my original plan of being a teacher did not pan out, what I did achieve was better for me in the long run. Luckily, all of the education I received has assisted me in my current career.

KAIP: Tell us how your years as a “lifelong learner” have informed the work you do today.

MM: My ‘Jack of All Trades’ degree in Liberal Studies laid the foundation for not only my educational journey, but my career as well. I learned what my writing style was and I got my first real taste and appreciation for research. My Master’s degree in Counseling taught me how to communication with and relate to other people. It provided a new perspective on how to communicate effectively with others, including both verbal and nonverbal communication. Having the ability to read people has come in handy in many situations.

My Doctorate degree was the most intense. It taught me leadership skills, rekindled my passion for research, and provided me with a concrete knowledge of human resource development—including talent management, career development, knowledge transfer, and coaching/mentoring. Mostly, my Doctoral degree taught me a lot about myself. I learned my propensity for procrastination and how to manage it, I learned what my leadership style is and how best to implement that with others, and I learned how I can use my personality type (INTJ) to my advantage.

All of my degrees had a specific purpose. Now, I apply them in my current role by taking components from each of my specialties and building my knowledge base. Depending on what I’m researching at any given time, I tap into the education I’ve received to help build upon more skills. Always going back to my true passion—learning—is what has allowed me to be successful in my current position as a Research Analyst.

melissa mcmanusAbout Melissa: Melissa McManus has six years of research experience, as well as over a decade of experience working in the educational sector. Melissa received her Master’s in counseling from California State University, Fresno and her Doctorate degree from Drexel University. Melissa’s professional interests include human behavior, research, writing, career development, training, and knowledge transfer. Outside of work, Melissa is involved in various community service efforts, including serving in the library of her local church.

 

Quick Q&A with Melissa:
Daily, must-visit website: Google
Preferred genre of music to listen to at work: Country music
Best professional advice received: Never stop learning
Top productivity hack: Take time to get up and walk around away from the computer
Book you can read over and over again: Harry Potter
Most-recent binge-watched show: Homeland