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.
KAI: 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.
KAI: 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.
KAI: 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.
Now that we’ve learned more about Jamie’s PM work, here’s a little more about her!
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!
About 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.
3 thoughts on “KAI Partners Staff Profile: The PMP”
Love having the opportunity to work with Jamie. She is such a motivated, business oriented, Project Management Professional, and it’s refreshing to see the younger generations approach to the industry.
Thank you–we love to hear that, Jennifer!
Jamie represents the next generation of PMs and we are very lucky to have her as part of our team. Keep up the great work Jamie!