By: Katie Dietz

Our chapter wouldn't survive without our members! Every single one of you bring something unique to our group. Today, you get the pleasure of getting to know a little about Bridget Johnson. She graciously agreed to meet me for coffee and donuts and we had the following conversation:

{Katie} What is your personal project management story?

{Bridget} Recently accepted a new role at Principal. I was born to be a Project Manager, but my parents didn't know it. I was doing backwards scheduling since I was a kid so it comes naturally. My first PM job was not until I was 29, though. I knew the hiring manager at Rockwell Collins and the leader took a chance on me because of my soft skills so that I could get my foot in the door. I accepted a role I was very over-qualified for, so I could have the opportunity to transition into a Project Manager role when one became available. I was able to manage projects for a corporate university, and it gave me a chance to go through a lot of training. I spent 4 years there and loved it. After that I made a decision to move to Indianapolis. I worked remotely for Rockwell Collins for a bit, and ended up taking a contract role with Adidas for a digital asset management project. Unfortunately, it was short lived because the project didn't receive approval for funding. Then I spent time at Performance Assessment Network (PAN). However, my husband and I wanted to move back to Iowa. For the last year and a half I have been back in Iowa, most recently at Businessolver. Most of my project management experience has been in Information Technology projects with Human Resource customers, so I've really mastered the art of "geek speak" and how to make it relatable to who I'm working with.

{Katie} Tell us about project management in your current role.

{Bridget} At Principal I'll be an IT PM replacing audio and video components in conference rooms across all company locations. Right now it's 2 years worth of work. I've always had a desire to manage construction projects, and I think this will be a good way to experience some aspects of that.

{Katie} How have you been involved with our chapter over the years?

{Bridget} I'm a new member because it took some time to receive approval from Businessolver for membership expenses. This year I have attended most chapter meetings and was at PDD last October. I hope to get more involved in a volunteer capacity once I complete graduate school next summer.

{Katie} What is one thing you're excited about in the field of project management?

{Bridget} Continuous evolution – there is always something new and exciting to work on. Agile has been a major topic the last few years but now it's artificial intelligence – doing things smarter instead of harder.

{Katie} Tell us 3 random facts about you!

{Bridget}

1.I'm a scrapbooker – old school style with paper! Started on books for my kids 15 years ago and for consistency sake I will finish their stuff the same way I started.

2.I'm a constant competitor! I even consider the GPS a challenge to see if I can beat the estimated time to arrival.

3.I grew up on a farm. I drove tractors and showed cows at the county fair.

{Katie} What is your greatest project accomplishment to-date?

{Bridget} A million dollar savings. At Rockwell Collins, the corporate compliance department required everyone to take 30 minutes of ethics training annually. Our project team worked with the General Counsel to reduce the requirement to 20 minutes. The savings were calculated by the total of employee salaries in those ten minutes. after the next year, they reduced it to 15 minutes.

{Katie} Tell me the first thoughts that come to mind when I say the following words:

{Katie} Project Sponsor

{Bridget} Champion

{Katie} Waterfall

{Bridget} Traditional

{Katie} Agile

{Bridget} Quick

{Katie} Scope creep

{Bridget} Scope court

{Katie} Change

{Bridget} Excitement

{Katie} Wow that's not a typical response to change! Why do you think you see it in a positive light?

{Bridget} I grew up with a mom who moved furniture in our house weekly. I've always had the same mindset as her because I believe there can always be a better way to do things.However, I don't rearrange my furniture as often!

{Katie} When you tell someone you are a Project Manager, how do you explain your role or duties?

{Bridget} I use the "super hero problem-solver" reference. We are constantly asked to do things that nobody has done before, and nobody knows if it will work. There are constant fires, things to solve, and we have an eye for all the moving parts. We see how the change will cause impacts downstream and the relationships between all the tasks and people.

{Katie} I love the super hero correlation! What would your super power be?

{Bridget} Strength. I've unfortunately never been a home run hitter.

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