At EdVenture Partners, the partnerships we have between our stakeholders —our clients on one side, and the universities, professors and students on the education side — are so pivotal to our organization, we based our name on it. And, if partnerships are at the core of our DNA, then our Project Specialist (PS) role is the glue that holds it all together. Our PS team members are in the trenches with our faculty/student teams from Day One of a program through the final awards. Their duties include driving deadlines, answering questions via daily communication with numerous teams and individuals, and ensuring high-quality final products.
We thought it would be revealing to get a peek into the lives, professional accomplishments and colorful personalities of our valued PS employees with this blog series. Because even though EVP works hard to bring serious learning opportunities to our student teams, we are also a pretty fun bunch!
All About… EVP Project Specialist, Brittany
Brittany brings experience and leadership to her student teams, having managed PR campaigns for several high-profile clients
Tell us about your educational and professional background before EVP.
I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a B.S in Marketing and minors in Economics and African American Studies. EdVenture Partners was actually my first job out of college. This is my second go-round with the company. So after the first few years, I took some time and worked on marketing and PR campaigns for start-ups, entrepreneurs and celebrities.
Did you participate in an EVP program as a student? And if so, what’s the difference being on this side?
I did! I was the Public Relations Coordinator for the Chevrolet Campus Promotions program while I was in school. It was right before the Chevy Cruze was released. The vehicle was brought to campus, and my team got to have a sneak peek before it really hit the market. It was an exciting project and my first internship-like experience.
It’s exciting to see how engaged students are on different projects. The clientele is always changing, but there are always some really world-changing, albeit challenging, objectives. I love seeing college kids go from regular students sitting in a class to full-fledged experts on various subjects. Because our projects are so hands-on, I think that participants are inspired to pursue certain industries or roles based on what they were able to do and experience.
How do you spend your coffee or lunch breaks? How do you spend your free time?
My lunch breaks are never the same. Sometimes I hit the gym for a midday pick-me-up, or I’ll whip up a meal after perusing new recipes on Pinterest. There are plenty of days where I spend my lunch hour cleaning up my surrounding office space (also known as my apartment), or sometimes I’ll just lounge around scrolling through my favorite blogs.
Have you had any winning teams? What were their biggest strengths, or what do you feel put them over the top
As the only Project Specialist currently on the API account, I can confidently say that I always have winning teams. It’s pretty easy to identify a strong team, but you never know where the pieces will fall when it comes to judging. Typically, characteristics that strong teams have in common include an involved/engaged faculty, strong leadership team and a willingness to push boundaries. Many groups like to stick with traditional and more common tactics, so if your ideas are truly innovative, you’ll stand out.
What’s been the most rewarding part of your job?
For me, the most rewarding part of my job is being able to work with amazing people. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the most brilliant people in my career life, both internally and externally. I personally can’t imagine working with a more supportive team. I think I hit the jackpot!
How far away, and in what time zones have you had teams, and how do you stay connected with them? How do you manage calls or Skype sessions in all of the various international time zones?
I’ve worked with teams in Afghanistan and Azerbaijan. Both are roughly 7,000 miles away. Conducting business with people in different time zones is always tricky. But with these particular countries, we’re essentially starting our business day at the time theirs is ending, and I should be in bed fast asleep by the time they’re opening for business. I personally prefer to make calls via Skype’s platform in the morning of my contact’s day, so I don’t mind staying up a bit later. However, in most situations, we’ll communicate via email.
You and each of your fellow Project Specialists manage up to 20 teams at a time. Do you have any productivity or time management hacks that you’d like to share?
I like to create a list of tasks that I’d like to complete by the end of the day. However, it’s common for new priority tasks or team “emergencies” to be added to your daily to-do list, so really, the most important thing is to remain flexible.
I’m a stickler for fairness, and I make sure all of my teams receive the same messages and opportunities as others. I’ll plan out mass announcements using detailed templates. And if a group has a special request that we accommodate, I make sure that I offer the same opportunity to my other groups.
What’s one thing people might be surprised to learn about you (fun, random trivia, or maybe a guilty pleasure food, TV show or similar)?
I live to eat, and I think people are always surprised to see just how much I can put away in one sitting. I do live an active lifestyle and I make healthy food choices for the most part, but I simply cannot say no to a good dish. With that being said, I believe I can out-eat, or at least match most.