MPS Helps Project Management For Change Prepare for PMDoS

Posted in Pro Bono Program on May 17, 2017

pm4changeProject Management For Change (PM4Change) is the engine behind Project Management Day of Service (PMDoS), a Martin Luther King Day tradition in the DC Metro Area. The one-day event is designed to align nonprofit organizations (NPOs) with project managers who have the expertise and experience to help NPOs assess and plan projects. M Powered Strategies provided pro bono support to PM4Change for the third annual PMDoS, which took place in January of this year. For two months leading up to the event, MPS staffers Davin Hattaway and Patti McMullen provided communications and associations management support in the form of governance consultation, logistics support, and outreach to NPOs.

“The experience of supporting PMDoS was incredibly rewarding,” noted Patti. “Nonprofit leaders were genuinely excited to participate in this event and receive much-needed support for their projects that do so much to help our communities. It is empowering to see project managers in turn raise their hands to help these leaders through project management.”

If you would like to learn more about how your organization can benefit from M Powered Strategies’ pro bono services, please contact Kat McDonald.


MPS Helps ServiceWorks with Curriculum Design

Posted in Pro Bono Program / Project Management on May 10, 2017

ServiceWorks-Vertical-FinalServiceWorks is a program run by Points of Light to help disenfranchised youth – many of them raised in the foster care system – to develop the skills needed for college and a career. They were interested in incorporating a Project Management component to their curriculum that met the standards of the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation (PMIEF), so last December, Points of Light came to M Powered Strategies requesting a feasibility study.

MPS consultants Jeremy Faircloth and Tyler Sycamore spent two months, working closely with the Points of Light/ServiceWorks team, reviewing the current curriculum, and comparing it to the standards of PMIEF, which offers a digital badge for students aged 12 – 19 years who have demonstrated project management skills and knowledge. The result was a gap analysis, along with recommendations for specific adjustments ServiceWorks could make in their curriculum to meet the PMIEF standards. MPS also provided a step-by-step roadmap of the steps they would need to take to establish a partnership with PMIEF.

“Points of Light is an amazing organization to work with!” noted Jeremy. “As a Project management Professional (PMP) myself, this was a great opportunity to give back to the community and empower disenfranchised youth to make a difference in their community. I’m excited to see the impact of our work.”

MPS Assists Local Nonprofit

Posted in Pro Bono Program on March 27, 2017

pearls-logoM Powered Strategies recently finished a pro bono engagement with The P.E.A.R.L.S. Inc. (Purposefully Empowering and Reaching Little Sisters), a nonprofit based at a school in Prince George’s County, Maryland, which serves girls in grades 3 through 6. In existence since 2011, P.E.A.R.L.S. was experiencing some common nonprofit growing pains, so they came to MPS for help.

Arezu Hadjialiloo, Mariana Enriquez, and Karli Kloss of MPS all share a passion for empowering young women. “I wanted to work on this project because I was very excited about their mission,” said Arezu Hadjialiloo, the team’s Project Lead. “They perform work that I am passionate about, and as a former teacher it was wonderful to reconnect with educators and see the great work they do on the ground.”

The MPS team provided strategic communications, graphic design, and messaging support for P.E.A.R.L.S. According to MPS Communications Manager Karli Kloss, “The project was just plain fun. I was able to play around with some graphic design and branding work that I don’t usually do with my government clients. We provided ready-to-use communications tools for an organization in need, with a fantastic mission that I was proud to support.”

Over the course of three months, our consultants performed stakeholder interviews, created a stakeholder register, and redrafted the organization’s vision, mission, and long-term goals. This all rolled into a strategic communications plan that will help P.E.A.R.L.S. communicate effectively and consistently with its audiences as it continues to grow and expand.

“This project reminded me how under-resourced most nonprofits are,” Arezu added. “The will is there, the drive to achieve their mission is there, but the resources aren’t. Our deliverables might not seem like a lot, but hopefully we have given them just a little edge, for reaching out to donors and volunteers and other nonprofits.”

Being in service to others is a founding principle of MPS, and our staffers put substantial time and energy into pro bono projects for nonprofits. If you are interested in learning more about MPS Assists, contact our Community Engagement Manager, Kat McDonald, at

MPS Team Assists Partnerships for Parks

Posted in Pro Bono Program on December 08, 2016
Patti McMullen, Brian Wenzler, Mara Goldberg, Kat McDonald

Patti McMullen, Brian Wenzler, Mara Goldberg, Kat McDonald (Jimmy Church behind camera)

M Powered Strategies’ pro bono contributions continue to mount. Over the last couple months Kat McDonald, Community Engagement Manager at MPS, along with Jimmy Church, Mara Goldberg, Patti McMullen, and Brian Wenzler, worked on a project with Partnerships for Parks (PfP), a public-private program that supports community leaders who care and advocate for neighborhood parks and green spaces in New York City. The team conducted stakeholder interviews, designed four skills workshops, and planned and facilitated a two-day retreat for the entire organization.

At the beginning of December, the MPS team traveled to Brooklyn for the facilitation. The sincere appreciation PfP staff expressed for MPS’ services was overwhelming, refreshing, and energizing. According to Brian, “What made this project particularly rewarding was the fact that we were helping to empower a group of dedicated, public service-oriented change-makers, with successes and challenges not unlike those we have experienced (and are experiencing) ourselves.”

At MPS we encourage all our staff to raise their hands for pro bono projects. Opportunities come in all shapes and sizes, and allow us to stretch our “consultant wings” in new ways. If you would like to learn more about how your organization can benefit from M Powered Strategies’ pro bono services, please contact Kat McDonald.


MPS Facilitates Second MBTI Workshop for Public Allies

Posted in Community Involvement / Facilitation / Pro Bono Program on December 01, 2016

puballiesFor the second time this year, M Powered Strategies was called on to support Public Allies, a national nonprofit dedicated to leadership development, with core values focused on diversity and inclusion, integrity, collaboration, continuous learning, and innovation. In November, certified ​practitioners Jimmy Church and Patti McMullen facilitated a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) workshop for a group of 25 allies. The aim was three-fold: to acquaint these young up-and-coming leaders with MBTI theory; increase their awareness of individual preferences; and help them understand how people with disparate preferences interact with each other.

Both Jimmy and Patti were excited about the workshop and MPS’ continued partnership with Public Allies. According to Patti, “The participants brought positive energy and enthusiasm to the workshop. They were engaged and excited to apply the MBTI concepts to better understand themselves and their colleagues.”

If you would like to learn more about how your organization can benefit from M Powered Strategies’ pro bono services, please contact Kat McDonald.


Making Real Impact through Skills-Based Volunteering

Posted in Community Involvement / Pro Bono Program on November 30, 2016

kind2Earlier this month, MPS employees Zully Barrientos, Paul Dolmon, Mariana Enriquez, Mary Flannery, Isaac Garon, Mara Goldberg, and Allison Primack  volunteered at a local law firm for KIND (Kids in Need of Defense), a nonprofit that partners with attorneys and law firms to provide pro bono representation to unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children. We were there to conduct intake interviews with Central American children for their lawyers. KIND provided a brief training to familiarize us with the interview process, best practices in communicating with the children, and legal terminology that otherwise would have gone over our heads.

KIND paired up groups of two volunteers with one child and his or her caretaker, and we spent the morning interviewing them (in Spanish) about the child’s life in their home country, their journey to the U.S., and their current living situation. These children have experienced trauma and hardship, so it was important to gain their trust and make sure they felt understood. To this end, we engaged them in conversation about their interests and tried to lighten the mood when topics got too heavy. The final step was to write up a detailed memo, providing recommendations to the lawyers on how to move forward with the case.

Without volunteers to help out, the backlog of intakes would be overwhelming. Besides being genuinely impactful and important, the work further developed professional skills that we, as MPSers, are passionate about. We were able to use our experience conducting stakeholder interviews with government and pro bono clients. Also, some of us have previously worked on or feel connected to immigration issues in Latin America, so the interviews gave us an opportunity to use this knowledge along with our Spanish language skills. It was clear that we were needed and that we were making meaningful change in a few children’s lives. As author Clarissa Pinkola Estes said, “Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.”

MPS Brings High Impact MBTI Workshop to Public Allies, DC

Posted in Community Involvement / Pro Bono Program on June 30, 2016

MBTIPublic Allies is a national nonprofit on a mission to create a just and equitable society and the diverse leadership to sustain it. Earlier this year, their DC chapter reached out to M Powered Strategies in search of qualified experts to deliver a high impact Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) group leadership workshop. MPS staffers Andrew MacDonald and Jimmy Church, both professionally certified MBTI practitioners, were quick to volunteer. In early May they conducted an intense four-hour workshop for nearly thirty aspiring leaders. The energy in the room was high and the participants were so engaged they skipped the regularly scheduled recess, choosing instead to hunker down with the material. The aim of MBTI workshops is to increase awareness about each individual’s personality type, as well as the full range and variety of types, which in turn fosters patience and understanding.

Public Allies’ Program Manager/Training Lead thrilled with the way the session went.

“The wonderful balance between content and process in your workshop design was engaging and effective. Your knowledge and competency pushed our understanding of ourselves and our group… There wasn’t a question that you were not prepared to answer. I wasn’t sure if our group this year would have an opportunity to participate in such a beneficial workshop. I am thankful [for] your willingness to volunteer your time for our group.”

Jimmy and Andrew were equally enthusiastic about the experience. According to Jimmy, the Public Allies participants were “smart, fun, capable and eager to bring about positive change.”

For more information about how your organization can benefit from M Powered Strategies’ pro bono services, contact Kat McDonald.

Brian Wenzler Provides Project Management Expertise to ServiceWorks Summer Boot Camps

Posted in Community Involvement / Pro Bono Program on June 24, 2016

brian-wenzlerAs part of M Powered Strategies’ Pro Bono Consulting Program, staff consultant Brian Wenzler is working with Points of Light ServiceWorks to lend his project management expertise in the planning and execution of boot camps, scheduled to take place in cities across the country this summer.

Run by volunteers from the AmeriCorps VISTA Program, along with local leaders, the boot camps provide a day of intense training for 16-24 year-olds. There are workshops and panels focused on critical workforce skills, such as effective communication, resume building, project management, and networking, along with a service project, where participants can put their skills to work for the benefit of the local community.

Brian is working closely with the ServiceWorks team as it prepares for the opening boot camp later this month, helping to develop adaptable project management tools, as well as a guide VISTA volunteers can use to organize and host additional boot camps. “This is a great cause and a great opportunity for me to apply my project management skills in a new context.  I feel privileged to be able to help Points of Light ServiceWorks more effectively support underserved youth and young adults.”

MPS helps Points of Light Launch Skills-Based Volunteer Program

Posted in Community Involvement / Pro Bono Program on June 21, 2016
Coach2Action Milestone Completion Rate

Coach2Action Milestone Completion Rate

In June of last year, Points of Light (POL) approached M Powered Strategies about putting together a volunteer recruitment program that would connect nonprofit organizations across the nation with Project Management Professionals (PMPs). MPS President, Kendall Lott, along with fellow M Powered Strategies PMPs, Janet Schwartz, and Jessica Gilles, designed and implemented a pilot program, Coach2Action. They established a volunteer recruitment method with the Project Management Institute (PMI), designed a project management maturity framework, coordinated the training and engagement of the project coaches, and even provided Project Management training to POL staff so they could conduct the pilot.

Thirty nonprofits were paired with sixty Project Management coaches from the PMI community. All the coaches were trained in the project management maturity framework, and received guidance from MPS throughout the process. Each nonprofit received twenty  hours of personalized two-on-one virtual (Skype) consulting.

To learn more, go to

M Powered Strategies Joins the Corporate Service Council

Posted in Community Involvement / Pro Bono Program on June 13, 2016

MPS has been invited to join the Corporate Service Council (CSC) run by Points of Light’s Corporate Institute. This is in recognition of over $100K of pro bono service provided directly to Points of Light, in addition to hundreds of volunteer hours MPS staff spent working with other non-profit organizations this year.

The CSC is an elite group of Senior Executives from some of the world’s most prominent companies, working together to advance corporate volunteerism and create change in our communities. We are excited to join the CSC and look forward to leveraging industry knowledge to expand our Community Engagement Portfolio and the impact we have on those we serve.

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