MPS Fosters Project Management Professionals

Posted in Professional Development / Project Management on March 24, 2017

PMPMPS is proud to announce the recent certification of four new Project Management Professionals (PMPs): Brian Wenzler, Lee Levy, Ashley Rezai and Allison Primack. That makes twelve PMPs at MPS, and more to come. At MPS, we actively encourage our consultants to avail themselves of the tools of Project Management and to master the rigorous skills and knowledge areas required to attain PMP certification.

Kendall Lott, President of M Powered Strategies, has been a PMP for over a decade. He was President of the Washington DC Project Management Institute (PMIWDC) in 2015, where he was recognized for excellence in leadership for a large chapter.  He also teaches a series of Project Management classes for the MPS Professional Apprenticeship for Consulting Excellence (PACE) program, and hosts monthly audio podcasts, “PM Point of View”, which are available for download on iTunes. According to Kendall, “The PMBOK [Project Management Book of Knowledge] offers hardcore practical tools and systems for real life consultants. But it’s not set in stone; it’s updated on a yearly basis. And swirling around that is a cadre of thinkers and professionals, writing books and blogs, delving deeply into the key areas of Project Management – Risk, Stakeholder Management, Scope, etc. They keep coming up with fascinating and radical new approaches. That’s the stuff I enjoy hashing out in my podcasts.”

Lee, who has always had an interest in project management, learned about Project Management shortly after coming into the company as a PACE apprentice. “I asked about it during my coaching sessions and asked other colleagues about their experience with the PMP. That sparked my interest …” One thing she likes about Project Management is that, besides the tools, “it provides a common language across the consulting sphere with colleagues and clients.”

According to Brian, “Project Management principles help me break down broad, ambitious initiatives that clients talk about into discrete milestones and objectives. This is key in translating ideas into action and eventually results.”

Allison is appreciative of MPS’ support. “I think it is great that MPS encourages us as professionals to engage in PMI/project management, since it is something that is relevant to any professional career, not just consulting.”

Kendall is proud of his staff’s push to certification, “Project Management is how we drive change, it’s an act of transformation and so it’s in the very DNA of MPS. We are happy that our team sees the need to develop these skills. Whether we are formal project managers or not, this way of thinking helps us get more done for our clients and for our company.”

Consultants Learn From The Bard

Posted in Professional Development on February 08, 2017
William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Last week four intrepid MPS staffers – Zully Barrientos, Ira Casteel, Davin Hattaway, and Sarah Miles – took part in an unusual class at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in DC.  “Acting for Business Professionals,” taught by Dan Crane, the Resident Teaching Artist, is designed to help participants articulate and deliver their message with maximum effectiveness.

Pauses, gestures, eye contact, physical presence in the room, intonation, and word choice are just some of the elements they dissected and practiced. Ira’s big takeaway was the presentation preparation. “Breaking up the text in logical beats and practicing out loud while walking around the room will be my new go-to method. Each punctuation mark warrants a physical turn, which forces you to slow down and truly notice pauses in your text.” For Davin, it was the realization that consultants and actors are essentially striving for the same thing. “Both professions need to faithfully represent complex information in a way that’s meaningful and impactful. The tools they provided will give me a new perspective as I consider my own presentations.”

MPS has been a proud sponsor of the Shakespeare Theatre Company since 2009.

Congratulations, PACE Cohort 10!

Posted in PACE Program / Professional Development on November 17, 2016
Jeremy, Ben, Mariana, Rob, Josh

Jeremy Faircloth, Ben Eden, Mariana Enriquez, Rob Denaburg and Josh Forgét

The lights in the glass lobby of the Shakespeare Theatre’s Harman Hall shone bright last Monday night as MPS staff, PACE alums, and members of the PREP Oversight Group gathered to honor the five graduating members of PACE Cohort 10: Rob Denaburg, Ben Eden, Mariana Enriquez, Jeremy Faircloth and Josh Forgét. PACE, which stands for Professional Apprenticeship for Consulting Excellence, now counts 41 certificate holders, who have successfully completed the 25-week program. Designed to bring transitioning professionals and entry-level consultants up to career-ready caliber, PACErs undergo a rigorous training, which includes paid client delivery, weekly professional trainings, career mentoring, and a business case presentation. The winner of this group’s business case presentation was Rob Denaburg. His topic was the Department of Homeland Security, specifically providing program development and support to the Infrastructure Security Compliance Division (ISCD). Rob’s solution outlined a three-phase approach over five years to meet the goals of maturing ISCD’s programs, increasing efficiency, and securing America’s chemical facilities.

Patti McMullen, the director of the PACE program (and also an alumnus of Cohort 6) had nothing but praise for the group. “This cohort was an exceptional group to work with, providing impressive energy, time, and effort to both the PACE program and their client delivery. I look forward to seeing what they all accomplish.”

For more information about the ANSI-accredited PACE Program, please email Patti McMullen.

Reasons for Success: The 2016 PMIWDC Volunteer Fair

Boasting over ten thousand members, the DC Chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMIWDC) is more than the largest PMI chapter, it is also one of the most active. Thanks to the support of local businesses and universities, along with a commitment to community outreach – exemplifying their newly coined core value of “High Impact Community Leaders” – PMIWDC is able to galvanize its membership with meaningful events that support the community and promote Project Management as a way to cause change and deliver real results.

Most recently, the second annual Volunteer Fair brought together one hundred chapter members, plus all twelve chapter board members, twenty-five Project Management students from nearby universities, and representatives from fourteen local nonprofits. Attendees were able to meet with nonprofits to sign up for skills-based or other volunteering opportunities. Students mingled with PMs, networking and learning about Project Management from experts. A delicious dinner was served. And to top it off,  over 250 volunteer positions were filled – all in the course of precisely two hours.

“That’s what happens when PMs run an event,” said MPS President, Kendall Lott. “I have to commend VP of Programs Uma Hiremagalur and her Programs Team. This was not just a fun event that actually delivered some real outputs, but they built a PMO, took lessons learned from last year’s event, and developed a playbook to implement innovations to make the 2016 Volunteer Fair a resounding success. It’s what this chapter does at its best, piloting programs, then improving them for full implementation.”

We at MPS are proud to have been a key sponsor of the Volunteer Fair, donating the funds to offset the cost of attendance for all the nonprofits. We also sent a team of PMs from our staff to meet with the nonprofits as well as to recruit. As a recognized Employer of National Service, MPS is always looking for PMs who are community-focused and actively involved in making the world a better place.

MPS Sponsors 2016 Volunteer Fair at PMIWDC


PMIWDC Volunteer Fair 2016

PMIWDC Volunteer Fair 2016

The Washington, DC Chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMIWDC) held its second annual Volunteer Fair on October 17, driving home its core value, promoting Project Managers as “High Impact Community Leaders.” PMs, local nonprofits, and the chapter leadership came together to recruit and place volunteers with organizations in need.

The event was designed and implemented by Uma Hiremagalur, VP of Programs, along with her program team at PMIWDC, to encourage local Project Managers to meet other professionals in the DC network and learn about ways to give back. One hundred PMs gathered in a learning and sharing environment, with fourteen nonprofits and all twelve of the Operational Areas of the chapter board.  M Powered Strategies was proud to be the primary corporate sponsor, funding registration costs for all the nonprofits. Also sponsoring the event were several universities, which sent students of Project Management to expose them to a network and learning environment that is so important for enhancing PM skills.

For Project Managers at MPS, the opportunity to provide skills-based volunteering was a major attraction.  Skills-based volunteerism is deeply embedded in the company’s Community Engagement practice, and our consultants and managers were excited to participate in the fair and sign up for opportunities to provide our particular competencies to organizations seeking help.

The Volunteer Fair was a tremendous success, thanks to the hard work of PMIWDC’s volunteer leads who worked tirelessly to make this a fun, engaging, and impactful evening. Those with the skills to help were out in full force, and we were proud to sponsor the event and meet so many other mission-oriented Project Managers and volunteers.  We congratulate PMIWDC, its volunteers, and Uma for putting on an educational event, connecting professionals, and promoting service and leadership in our community and our chapter.

PM Point of View® Gets Trademarked

Posted in Professional Development / Project Management on April 19, 2016
Kendall Lott

Kendall Lott

PM Point of View® – the podcast that looks at Project Management from all the angles – is officially a registered and recognized trademark.

MPS President, Kendall Lott, started the monthly audio podcast series almost two years ago. The first podcast featured a 13-minute interview with the CIO of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. More than 25 podcasts and 30,000 downloads later, the series has a seriously devoted following. Kendall has interviewed cutting edge thinkers and practitioners in the field of Project Management, as well as professionals in a variety of fields that are not generally associated with Project Management. Past interviews include a Production Manager at the Shakespeare Theatre in DC, a campaign manager, a vintner, a wedding planner, and many more.

Available on the Project Management Institute of Washington DC (PMIWDC) website, as well as on iTunes and the MPS website, the podcasts are now one hour long, and are worth one Professional Development Unit (PDU) for Project Management Professionals (PMPs) maintaining their certifications. To use Kendall’s standard closing remark for each PM Point of View® podcast, Until next time, keep it in scope and get it done.

MPS Maintains ANSI Accreditation

Posted in PREP / Professional Development on April 14, 2016

ansiM Powered Strategies is proud to announce that our Professional Readiness and Effectiveness Program (PREP) has been recertified under the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for the third consecutive year. ANSI is a governing body that issues accreditation to organizations for outstanding programmatic performance across a variety of industries.

MPS cares deeply about professionally developing our staff, and over the years internal trainings have evolved into several formal professional development programs. The ANSI accreditation is a great achievement for MPS as it demonstrates the quality of PREP’s programs, ensuring participants a structured and standardized learning experience. Foremost among them is the Professional Apprenticeship for Consulting Excellence (PACE) program. PACE provides recent graduates and transitioning professionals a structured introduction to the world of federal consulting, with trainings, individualized coaching, and business development practice.

The PREP Management Team devotes a significant number of hours each year in preparation for the ANSI audit. Given how rigorous and extensive the audits are, it is an impressive achievement for MPS to continue to maintain this accreditation and we thank our Management Team for their continued excellence and dedication to our company’s professional development.

 More PMPs at MPS

Posted in Human Resources / Professional Development / Project Management on February 05, 2016
Portrait of

Tim Garvey and Brianna McCullough

M Powered Strategies is proud to announce that two more staff members (bringing the grand total to seven!) have successfully attained PMP status. Tim Garvey and Brianna McCullough are now certified Project Management Professionals, and possess the internationally recognized tools and skills to manage any type of project.

Even just to qualify for PMP certification, candidates must have 36 months of project management experience. They must also pass a four-hour exam that tests their understanding of the Project Management Body of Knowledge. (PMBOK). That means hours of studying and, for Brianna, a PMP Boot Camp! As the engagement manager of the largest contract at MPS, Brianna noted that her project management expertise will be useful in client delivery as well as in the actual management of the contract.

When asked what being a PMP means to him, Tim took a more visionary approach. “The idea is to bring the skills beyond myself and help build the management capacity of everyone, making the world a better place.”

Congratulations to both Tim and Brianna!

MPS President Gets Certified as StrengthsFinder Coach

Posted in Human Resources / Professional Development / Training Services on December 18, 2015
Portrait of

Kendall Lott

Congratulations are in order for our President and CEO, Kendall Lott, who is now a certified StrengthsFinder coach. StrengthsFinder is a personal development approach to help individuals determine their personal set of talents so they can optimize their performance in every aspect of their lives. The certification process from the Gallup organization (yes, the people who conduct the polls) consists of a one-week intensive course, a 90-minute exam, and practice coaching sessions, which must receive high recommendations from at least six coaching clients.

When asked, “Why StrengthsFinder?” Kendall was quick to answer. ”What I like about StrengthsFinder is that, unlike many psychometric instruments that indicate ‘you are a certain way,’ or other coaching methods that ask ‘what’s not working?’ this focuses on what you do well.  We don’t want to just avoid failure, we want to be excellent, and we want to achieve excellence in ways that each of us finds comfortable and personally exciting.” With his keen interest in organizational change and individual empowerment (professional development), Kendall hopes to use the precepts of StrengthsFinder to boost his own team.  He also plans to offer management coaching for groups that want to improve their organizations.

By the way – according to StrengthsFinder, Kendall’s signature strengths are:  Input, Strategic, Futuristic, Ideation, and Intellection.

Nicole Baillis and Patti McMullen: Certified DiSC® Trainers

Posted in Human Resources / Professional Development / Training Services on December 18, 2015
Portrait of

Nicole Baillis & Patti McMullen

Nicole Baillis, PREP Director, and Patti McMullen, Analyst and PACE alumna, spent two days in snowy Minneapolis earlier this month earning training certifications in DiSC behavioral assessment. Nicole and Patti share a common interest in professional development and human capital, and becoming DiSC®-certified is an important component to developing individuals and improving the workplace.

DiSC® is a valuable, personal assessment tool designed to improve productivity and help professionals engage more effectively with one another. A majority of MPS staff have completed the DiSC® assessment, which evaluates the emphasis individuals place on accomplishing results (Dominance), persuading others (Influence), cooperation (Steadiness), and accuracy (Contentiousness).

With understanding gained through DiSC® assessments, our organization and staff are able to improve interpersonal communication, develop dynamic teams, reduce conflict, and increase overall effectiveness. Through DiSC®, people gain insight and knowledge about their own communication and work style preferences, and how to engage with others, recognizing their personal strengthens and challenge areas.

To receive DiSC® certification, Nicole and Patti completed pre-session assessments, attended classroom trainings, and passed a practical exam. We congratulate them on this accomplishment, and look forward to seeing their new and improved DiSC® staff trainings in the future!

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