Pantheon Community

Ask me about how I took a leap from the nonprofit world into tech with no technical background and how approaching a sinkful of dirty dishes it just like project managing a technical project

:wave: Hello! I’m Hallie Newman, a Philly-based Project Manager, certified Scrum Master and Product Owner, avid cook & baker, knitter, and mom. I’ve been with Pantheon for almost four months, where I work with the Professional Services team to support and project manage our bigger engagements to ensure our customers are set up for success on the platform.

In a previous life, I lived in Brooklyn and worked in the nonprofit world, focusing on marketing and administration. Several years ago, when I burnt out on both the hustle of NYC-living and nonprofit work, I took a leap to the middle of the country where I started working in St. Louis as a Project Manager at a software development shop called Lelander, with exactly zero technical experience. A trusting manager and a dose of self-confidence propelled me into the tech world, where I proved to myself that good project management is often no different than dealing with a sinkful of dirty dishes: Process is crucial, and when you approach it piece-by-piece, it’s actually quite manageable. Also relationships are key. Okay… so my dirty dishes analogy doesn’t quite hold up, but you see where I’m going with this, yes? :grin:

When I’m not managing projects with my wonderful Pantheon team, I am probably watching my omg-how-is-she-almost-1-year-old? daughter grab her 50 lb pitbull brother, Frankly #like&subscribe, by the jowls; knitting a new hat or shawl; baking bread, or cooking up a feast from my food-stained Modern Jewish Cooking, or my new favorite cookbook: Falastin.

Go ahead, ask me, and Frankly in a Pantheon t-shirt, anything!

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How is Frankly the cutest ever dog? And why does he look so good in a Pantheon shirt? (Sorry, I’m already an IG subscriber to his account, so more of a longtime / first time thing here. :grinning: )

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Hey Ryan! So glad you asked. According to Science™, the 50:50 ratio of Frankly’s head to body makes him especially cute. In addition, his expressive eyebrows, and inability to understand personal space bump him to the coveted position of Cutest Ever Dog.

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That sounds exactly right. Frankly is a good boy.

Also appreciated hearing more about your background (Philly is my favorite NYC suburb :grinning:) and your approach to Project Management.

You have any tips on how folks who are maybe not as especially gifted at Project Management can steal from your learnings, and maybe the optimal way for team members to interact with a Project Manager to make sure everybody is working in unison?

Ooo, now you’re getting into deep cuts… a New York suburb, Ryan? Pshhh

As for your question, project management is an interesting role, as it’s a lot of making sure other people are doing their jobs, which, on a well-functioning team, should just happen. Most of the time it (it = everyone’s work) is happening, but the communication about it happening is not. Setting up automated communication processes (i.e. Jira automatically notifying me when my teammates move a ticket to In Progress) helps a lot. Recognizing why PMs need information is also key. Especially on a mostly-remote team like Pantheon’s, over-communication is the way to go, as it empowers PMs to communicate with the stakeholders, while the rest of the team can implement their work!

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Frankly IS the cutest pupper ever :heart_eyes: I mean it’s almost not even fair. But then again Goose is pretty stinking adorable too so :wink:

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I also agree with that Frankly is pretty much the cutest dog on the planet. I am pretty sure we should get him on the homepage of Pantheon :dog: I am hopeful that one day Chubs & Frankly can meet :crossed_fingers:

I would love to hear more about your experience drifting into technical project management. I also come from a non-technical background & yet found myself here at Pantheon [woooohooo, best decision ever!]. I would also love to hear what you have found most challenging in the project management world :world_map: Any scrum tips you can share with us newbies?

Okay also I cannot stop looking at that precious little face–FRANKLY! :heart_eyes:

Two equally-important questions:

  1. How does Frankly feel about wearing clothes? He looks pretty comfortable
  2. Do you have a daily systems or patterns in place that you use to kick off each work day? The work of Project Management can be pretty varied day-to-day - which constants do you find most important?

Bonus question: Why is Frankly so smushy?

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One day, somehow, some way, Frankly and Chubs will meet. After a year like 2020, the universe owes us little wins like this!

About 7 years ago, when I was burnt out on early morning packed subway rides and paying $35 for brunch, I decided I needed a change. I wanted more space, slower pace of life, and a different career focus… I loved working for mission-based organizations in the non-profit world, but was having trouble finding my footing and figuring out my path. A friend of a friend was visiting NYC from St. Louis, and told me about all the awesome things popping up in the St. Louis tech world, what she was paying in rent, and all the other innovative and exciting ways that young people were making St. Louis great (did I mention her rent was less than half of what I was paying in Brooklyn?). This friend connected me to some folks in the St. Louis tech world, one of whom would eventually hire me to be a PM in his software development shop, with no technical experience, but a huge desire to learn (and the tenaciousness and organization needed to succeed in the role).

I will use your question about PM challenges, to actually celebrate my current colleagues at Pantheon. I find that having the strong support of a team and manager has been the difference for me between plowing through hard things and cracking at the seams. My fellow Pantheors have been invaluable in helping me navigate the wild world of project management and have empowered me to lead! It makes all the difference!

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Hi Jessie! So glad you asked :slight_smile:

  1. Frankly does not like wearing clothing, however, this photo was during a thunderstorm, and we were hoping that the t-shirt would feel like a little hug to calm his nerves. Poor bubba. It did not.
  2. Project management is all about building relationships to me. Working on a remote team means the usual morning pleasantries are missed and there’s no water cooler to gather around to organically catch up with colleagues. I like starting my day by checking in with my team. 2020 has pushed us all to our limits in numerous ways, but knowing we are all looking out for each other makes the rest of my job feel like a piece of cake (most of the time).

Bonus question: No idea, but as I was typing this, he joined me on my kitchen table chair and rested his head on my shoulder.

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Thanks for the tips, Hallie!

Yes, the universe does owe us at least a puppy play date! :dog::dog:

That is such an awesome story! I also lived in Brooklyn for a short period of time–in Park Slope off of 1st & 7th. I loved that little spot but dear lord was it priceyyyy. So I absolutely understand why you made that shift to a city a little more slow paced but also still a great hub for all things business/tech! I feel like our stories are very similar. I also did not have a technical background, but yet Pantheon took a risk on me and has provided me with so many great opportunities. It only takes one person to change someone’s life for good! I am hoping I can be that person for someone else in the future :slight_smile:

“I find that having the strong support of a team and manager has been the difference for me between plowing through hard things and cracking at the seams.”

:arrow_up: THIS. I could not agree more! I came from a toxic work environment previous to Pantheon. But my leader here is absolutely my back bone & biggest cheerleader! I feel so fortunate to say the least. It makes all the difference!

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