PMI Atlanta Chapter

PMI Atlanta Chapter - Forums Summaries

Written by Neil Rivenburgh

On August 15th, the attendees at the PMI Healthcare forum was informed and entertained by Dr. Jerrica Dodd, founder and CEO of Your Pharmacy Advocate, LLC. Your Pharmacy Advocate is a personalized pharmacy consulting service company. Her presentation “How to Leverage Your Project Manager Strengths in an Unfamiliar Role” addressed how a Project Managers can support a startup founder or a new business owner in driving multiple projects and initiatives forward.

Dr. Dodd has 20 years of experience in the pharmacy industry. Over the past year she has dedicated herself to growing a startup company called Your Pharmacy Advocate. She believes “everyone needs a pharmacist advocate in their life”. Her desire to pursue this opportunity spun from a series of medical situations with herself and her parents where she had to advocate for the best possible care. The average person would not been equipped to do so.

Dr. Dodd asked the audience, “Have you ever found yourself in an unfamiliar situation?” This is where she found herself when trying to grow and develop a start-up company. After some hesitation, she decided, “you just have to move!” And move she did.

As she started her new endeavor, Dr. Dodd realized she would need capable individuals in order to reach her goal. She enlisted a good Project Manager and other key roles to drive her vision forward. She considered her own role to be one of building future leaders and executives who would continue to grow the company.

Dr. Dodd’s suggestions for career success and development were outlined as:

  • Understand the mission and vision of the organization you are joining      
  • Learn the company culture and how to add to it
  • Do your research – study the company’s social media posts and website
  • Learn about the industry segment
  • Understand the governing bodies
  • Be Flexible
  • Be coachable
  • Commit to something bigger than yourself
  • Commit to grow others around you
  • Never stop learning

Please join us Wednesday, September 19th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Healthcare Forum for the:

Keynote Presentation: “Population Health and U.S. Healthcare System: Opportunities for Project Management Applications” presented by Dr. Imoh Okon, Georgia State University/ Assistant Professor, Clinical Research PhD. MSc, MPH (c), PMP

Location: Philips Healthcare

PHA Academy
One Deerfield Centre
13560 Morris Road
Alpharetta, GA 30004

About PMI

Atlanta Chapter serves Project Management Community in Metro Atlanta, and we're an active resource to corporations, community and government agencies throughout north Georgia. With over 5,000 members, PMI Atlanta is among the top 5 chapters in the world. Our professional expertise span across industries; we’re the professionals building healthcare information technology systems, the engineers developing smarter public transportation, and the planners growing our communities more efficiently.

The PMI Atlanta Special Interest Team met in July in their Quarterly Retrospective Meeting to review best practices and lessons learned for our Q2 Industry Forum events. During the meeting, Kashif Choudry, VP of Special Interest, and Nevella Paul, AVP of Industry Forums, recognized Gray Terry and Nelly Eziashi, both volunteering for our Healthcare Forum.  Please read about our volunteers below:

Terry-GrayGray has been an integral part of the  Healthcare Forum success for the past 4 years. In 2014 he began as a volunteer with the Healthcare forum and transition to the Healthcare Forum Program Manager in 2016 -2017 term. Under his leadership, Gray did a phenomenal job leading the forum. As the current Logistics lead, he continues to be a huge contributor to the Healthcare Forum. He ensures the meeting room is set up appropriately and the environment is pleasantly appealing to our speaker and attendees. Gray is always ready to assist his peer volunteers with any task. No matter how big or small the task, Gray will get it done! His displays an unwavering commitment to the forum through his team work, high level of engagement and dedication.

Eziashi-NellyNelly has volunteered for the Healthcare Forum for 2 years. She has done an outstanding job managing the pre-forum logistics. She ensures all volunteer roles, responsibilities and registrations supplies/needs are covered for every forum. Nelly proactively takes on additional duties to ensure the team is equipped to provide a professional environment for our attendees.

Please take a moment to thank them for their efforts when you are at the next Healthcare Forum!  If you would like to become a volunteer to bring dynamic events and support our chapter, please visit and create a profile!

By Neil Rivenbaugh

The Healthcare and Technology Forum conducted a joint forum to present the annual Career Night Recruiter Panel.  The event brought together three experienced recruiters and a corporate HR expert to provide insight and advice to help attendees improve their resume and assist in their job search.

The Recruiter Panel included the following recruiters:

  • Brittney Schelich, Business Development Manager from the Rezult Group
  • David Sheehan, Branch Manager for the Atlanta Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group
  • Holly Bail, Talent Manager for OneSpring
  • Ebonee Younger, HR Employment Practices consultant for Cox Communications
  • David Baba of the Intersect Group was also available to answer questions and offer adviceTech-HC-Forum-July181

A large and eager audience brought a high degree of interest to the Forum and there was an extended networking session to begin the activities. Nancy Berlin, Program Manager for the Technology Forum, asked questions to the panel and each panelist shared many nuggets of wisdom around the subjects of current hiring trends, compensation, how to be an effective networker, creating a resume that gets attention, and other topics to help candidates land the job they want.

One of the points made by Ebonee was that a company is empowered by its people. Ebonee stated that an employee should put their best foot forward at work by “owning their happiness”. Ebonee and Holly both emphasized that a job hunter should perform research and have a solid understanding of what they are worth and what is wanted from the employer. The recruiters recommended thinking outside the box on what the company can provide, beyond just salary. Examples of this include looking for more intrinsic benefits such as paying for certificates and additional vacation days. Ebonee highly recommended the book “Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team” by Simon Sinek. It is important to know what makes you happy.

One of the recruiting challenges mentioned by David Sheehan is that the current climate makes it very difficult for finding qualified candidates. According to David, there are about 5 openings for project managers in Atlanta for each qualified candidate. Due to this shortage, companies have been raising the salaries they are offering and adding new perks. It was suggested that if an employee desires a pay raise or more responsibilities, have the conversation with the employer now instead of waiting for when a new offer in in hand to leverage. Holly added that most people quit because of poor experiences with bosses and not because of the company per se. Brittany mentioned that career choices are often family decisions.Tech-HC-Forum-July182Each recruiter highlighted the importance of networking for career growth. They stressed that it is important to make networking an intentional and regular activity. The key to building a sound network is to build relationships by finding ways to help others. It is critical to build a strong and supportive network before you actually need it.

Another trend that was discussed was the growth of contingency workers. Many young workers now want a series of short gigs, allowing them to feel more in control over their own career paths. The “Temp to Perm” model is perceived as slowly going away.

Another popular topic was how to have an effective resume. Some general recommendations included: trying to keep it to 2 or 3 pages, Show your certifications, and focus on last 3 to 5 years of experience with the number of bullets getting smaller as it goes back in time. There is no need to really go back more than 10 or 15 years. List accomplishments that evoke the most pride such as how much money a project saved for the company or how a project was delivered ahead of schedule.

Please join us Wednesday, August 15th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Healthcare Forum for the Keynote Presentation:

"How to Leverage Your PM Strengths in an Unfamiliar Role"
Presented Dr. Jerrica Dodds, Your Pharmacy Advocate, LLC/ CEO and Principal Pharmacist Advocate

Location: Philips Healthcare
PHA Academy
One Deerfield Centre

Written by Neil Rivenburgh

The Healthcare Forum presented a polished presentation from Anjella Johnson-Hooker, MS., FAC P/PM III from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Anjella told the audience about leading a major project at the CDC and being the executive sponsor in modernizing the center’s three fragmented, antiquated systems in managing how vaccines are managed.

June-2018-HealthcareThere had been 8 years of efforts and a lot of money was spent to update the systems, but there was a “0% ROI” to show for all the activity. Anjella took the lead role and said it would be done within the year. And after overcoming many obstacles, she did deliver the Vaccine Tracking System (known as VTrckS) within the timeline. There were many benefits that came from doing the project; from the original 64 distribution systems and more than 400 depots, the new process reduced this to 2 national distribution centers. This reduced the risks of storage and lowered distribution costs.

The crowd learned a lot about the process for ordering and distributing vaccines across the country. The ACIP committee approves which vaccines will be ordered for inventory. Funding was provided by the OMB and used a state match model and based decisions on demographics and area poverty levels. McKesson holds the national distribution contract. Before the upgrade, the end-to-end process too an average of 21 days. After the project was complete, that process was down to 3 days. The new system provides near real-time reporting on inventory and order status. The system manages the CDC’s purchase contracts, state budgets and spending plans.

Anjella stressed that the keys to success were getting buy-in from the right stakeholders, overcoming resistance to change, understanding that stakeholders would have a perceived loss of control, setting expectations, and “knowing what you don’t know.” She put a lot of effort into building and keeping trust with the stakeholders. She declared that an executive sponsor must be totally dedicated to the project. That meant delivering a clear message from the top that failure was not an option and the team must do what is required to succeed.

Please join us Wednesday, July 18th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the joint Healthcare/Technology Forum for the: Career Month. We will have several leading recruiters and Staffing companies present to provide career and job hunting tips and advice.

Location: Philips Healthcare
PHA Academy
One Deerfield Centre
13560 Morris Road
Alpharetta, GA 30004

Written By Alex Blench, PMP, MSA

The May Governance Forum hosted PMI Fellow and Managing Partner of Norman & Normal Consulting, LLC Eric Norman for an engaging discussion about how to create lasting value in a PMO. Eric is a management consultant with 25 years of extensive governance and business process design experience.


Norman-EricThe traditional PMO frequently seems to be in a position to justify its own existence. During this forum, Eric examined why so many PMOs seem to dissolve after just a few years of operating and took a close look at the keys to adding value to an enterprise.


Eric highlighted that the perception of senior leaders and decision makers is that the state of their organization is much better than it really is. He challenged this dynamic by insisting that the PMO should play a key role in the decision-making process by providing key information.

The role of the PMO

In many organizations, the PMO executes on the vision and instructions delivered by key leaders – after tough decisions about the work of the organization have already been reached. This arrangement can give the perception that a PMO is simply filling a functional, operational ‘overhead’ role rather than providing true value-add to the organization. Eric contends that PMO leaders should be the resources called upon to provide the decision-support information necessary to execute the vision.

Three Vital Functions of the PMO:

  1. Decision Support
    a. Provide information to support planning, sensing, responding, and adapting
    b. Consult with leaders and determine “what they need to know”
  2. Demand Management
    a. Resource analysis, resource allocation, and initiative scaling
    b. Understanding capacity vs incoming demand
  3. Governance
    a. Initiative selection, approval denial, monitoring, and adjusting
    b. Set criteria that initiatives must meet before being approved

2 Keys to Success:

  1. Strategic vision
    a. The effective PMO must generate business value by becoming the supplier of critical information for decision makers that are aligned with organizational strategy and objectives
  2. Tactical execution
    a. Adaptable initiative management competencies that effectively control the outcomes of efforts.
    b. Ability to apply the right Project Management tools in the right situations 

Special thanks to our presenter Eric Norman for leading this engaging conversation and providing our guests with tools and wisdom to help create lasting value in their organizations.

If you would like to learn more about Governance and the value it brings to projects, please join us at a future forum. The calendar can be found on the PMI Atlanta web site at

Thank you to our sponsors at Global Payments for making this event possible.


About PMI

Atlanta Chapter serves Project Management Community in Metro Atlanta, and we're an active resource to corporations, community and government agencies throughout north Georgia. With over 5,000 members, PMI Atlanta is among the top 5 chapters in the world. Our professional expertise span across industries; we’re the professionals building healthcare information technology systems, the engineers developing smarter public transportation, and the planners growing our communities more efficiently.