MPS is pleased to have one of our former Business Development Associates back on the team. Ira Casteel has an MA in International Development from American University’s School of International Service, and earned her MBA from American University’s Kogod School of Business earlier this year. She has consulted with startups in Israel and interned at American Councils, an international education nonprofit.
Prior to grad school, Ira worked at Apple and AT&T. She spent two years as an AmeriCorps volunteer, working first with the Red Cross in Oregon and then at a Conflict Resolution Center in Maryland.
Originally from Ukraine, Ira (pron. “EAR-ah”) speaks Russian, Ukrainian and Polish. She enjoys hiking, biking, camping and traveling.
A world traveler and published writer, Collin Furth recently joined MPS’ PACE Cohort 11 to begin his career in consulting. He hails from an eclectic background in literature, law and sales, that has coalesced into a love of client-facing work in the federal IT space. After earning a B.A. in English and Writing from Gettysburg College in 2014, Collin worked at a real estate law firm in New Jersey. More recently, he was an account representative at Carahsoft, an IT firm for the Federal Government.
In his spare time he pursues a number of artistic and athletic endeavors, including playing the guitar (mostly blues), doing gymnastics, and traveling to places such as Greece and New Zealand. Collin looks forward to working with the MPS team, to serve, change, and empower.
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.
For 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.
Earlier 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.”
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.
Eddie Lee joins us as a career consultant with experience in both the private and public sectors. His expertise is in strategic planning with a focus on technology integration and shared services migrations. Eddie served as a project manager for BP during the post oil spill remediation efforts. Additionally during his career he has provided advisory services to technology offices within the Department of Commerce, Department of Transportation, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, and the Department of Justice.
Eddie enjoys an array of hobbies, including cooking, eating, and being outdoors.
Davin Hattaway has 15 years executive leadership experience managing all aspects of operations for 43 regional, national, and international nonprofit organizations. His professional background includes 12 years at Potomac Management Resources (PMR), a Virginia-based nonprofit consulting firm, where he served as a senior SME and Chief Operations Officer. Under Davin’s leadership, PMR became the top-ranked event planning firm in the Washington DC area as ranked by the Washington Business Journal.
Prior to PMR, he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Cape Verde, West Africa and later continued his work with OASIS supporting rural nonprofits there. Davin is a Certified Association Executive (CAE), and holds a degree in History from the University of Central Florida. Outside of work he enjoys hiking, caving, kayaking, and outdoor activities of all kinds; as well as practicing four martial arts.
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.
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.