Project Management: Moving Beyond a Natural Inclination

Posted by SPS on Feb 8, 2018 11:30:00 AM

For many, project management is a natural inclination: planning parties, coordinating wedding festivities, organizing community events. This inclination has led many to naturally “fall in” to a similar professional role, overseeing initiatives and directing teams. Yet not everyone who claims this innate ability possesses the knowledge and tools to effectively oversee processes, or manage teams within the workplace.

Jodi Davidson is among the many professionals who “fell” into project management; what began as a natural inclination - supported by a strong background in international business - soon became a career path. Now a seasoned professional, Davidson is committed to helping other similarly-inclined individuals hone and apply their project management skills.Jodi Davidson .jpg

Upon completing her MBA, Davidson sought a natural fit within the business world, a position where she could utilize her skills in communication, planning, and leadership. She began working with a technology company, leading credit card software project. From there, her role as a project manager broadened with consecutively larger projects - focusing on multi-site software installation - eventually leading her to launch project management offices for two different companies, instituting project management practices therein. “I have worked in every phase of project management,” Davidson explains, “driving everything from contracting, to planning, to leading teams of employees.” 

Project Management, like some project managers, has evolved over time. What was once viewed as a role that someone took on within a office or company, has since become not only a job title, but a career onto itself. “In the past,” notes Davidson, “people were designated to project management roles, and sometimes chaos ensued; initiatives failed because of lack of clarity.” “Over time,” Davidson continues, “the realization came that project management is a separate skill set; showing you have capabilities to launch, lead, and drive efforts.” With this realization, came the desire for certified project managers, who adhered an industry standard.

Founded in 1969, the Project Management Institute (PMI), is a globally-recognized organization and standard-bearer, whose certifications and publications are valued across industry. Increasingly, PMI’s PMP® (Project Management Professional) certification has become a requirement for advancement - or even initial hiring - within the project management field. “Employers and clients often want (the project manager) to be certified,” explains Davidson, “so they will see that this individual has studied the discipline, and has acquired the necessary hours of experience.” Noting that she herself sat for the exam years ago, after obtaining the requisite amount of hours in the field, Davidson adds, “Without certification, you can ‘max out’ professionally; certification garners respect.”

Prior to sitting for the PMP® exam, professionals must earn 7,500 hours of experience leading and directing projects, and must complete 35 hours of project management education. For those who have completed a degree or certificate program in the project management field, these hours are a given, but for others, a PMP® exam preparation course typically fills the void. The College of Charleston Center for Continuing and Professional Education recently added such a program to their roster, partnering with Davidson to develop and teach the course. “I know it is very difficult to find the time to obtain 35 hours (of education),” says Davidson. “The structure that we built into this course - evenings and two weekends - offers work-life balance.”


In addition to the condensed format, it was important to Davidson that the course have practical applications. Though the course curriculum - as with all PMP® preparatory courses - is drawn from the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), it also utilizes real-life situations to help students envision what to expect, and how solutions might work. Davidson emphasizes the importance of learning from her students; engaging, understanding, listening to their stories, and then asking, ‘how we can think through this together?’ Explaining her instructional techniques, Davidson points out, “Rarely are you a one person show; most projects are driven by team work collaboration.” With 19 years of practical experience, Davidson is well equipped to help students not only remember the material, but understand the applications: “With most prep courses, students are very much prepared to take the exam, but are not ready to use knowledge in day-to day life.” She continues, “Project management can be very theoretical, but my goal is to have students apply skills and tools immediately.”

While the benefits of PMP® preparation are clearly defined for those seeking certification, there are also benefits for other professionals. “If within the average work day, an individual is asked to use project management skills, they have something to gain from this course,” notes Davidson. Professionals who are not quite ready for PMP® certification may see where they need to gain more experience, or where they require further study - and can perhaps volunteer in the workplace to acquire additional skills. Employers also stand to benefit from employee participation. Through a preparatory course, project managers gain a common language, and a prescribed method for working as a team. As Davidson enthusiastically shares, “If a project is driven by people with project management skills, it increases the likelihood that the initiative will be successful.” With each successful initiative increasing the likelihood that an employer will achieve their overarching goal, well-trained project managers are an obvious boon in any industry.

As to the future of both the field of project management and PMP® certification, Davidson sees only growth on the horizon: “When we look at how innovation is occurring, how companies are able to grow quickly - there is a limited window for failure. From conception to completion, hitting the mark will become more and more critical in project management roles.” 
To those who have a natural inclination for project management, or those who acknowledge that it is a serous discipline and desire certification, Davidson is encouraging: “If you have an interest, or want to develop stronger skills, why not get training? Certification is very beneficial, it opens doors within companies, and is a great addition to your resume.” 
Jodi Davidson’s passion for the discipline is palpable as she enthuses, “as much as I can spread the word, I’m all in; project management is a great career.”

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Topics: Courses

Ashley Caldwell: Charleston's Social Media Maven

Posted by Allison Leach on May 12, 2017 11:00:00 AM

This post was originally published in March, 2016.

Ashley Caldwell will once again be serving as an instructor for the SPS’ popular Digital Marketing and Social Media workshop. This  program consists of a series of entry-level seminars designed to help small business owners learn about digital marketing strategies, and inspire them to incorporates these practices into their marketing plans.

Register Today!


As a freshman at the University of Colorado, Ashley Caldwell was among a cohort of college students who were embracing new forms of online interaction, such as MySpace and the then newly-released Facebook. These emerging social platforms quickly became part of Caldwell’s everyday life, as would soon become the case for much of mainstream culture, and the Communications major began to see untapped possibilities for this new form of media.

Although it had been largely overlooked in the course content, Caldwell chose social networking as the topic for her capstone project in a senior-year “New Media” course, focusing on Facebook’s potential business applications - a relatively new concept at the time. “It was practically unheard of for a business to be thinking about using social networking,” explains Caldwell, “but seeing the human to human connection really sparked my interest.”  It was this spark that would inspire Caldwell to develop her first social networking campaign, and lead her on the path toward becoming Charleston's go-to social media expert.

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Topics: Courses

Digital Marketing Workshop Teaches 21st Century Practices and Techniques

Posted by Allison Leach on Apr 25, 2017 11:00:00 AM

Digital marketing is a rapidly expanding segment of the marketing field; so much so that that the term “digital” has become somewhat superfluous.  To successfully market any product or service in our "plugged-in" society, one typically needs to employ internet and social-media driven campaigns.

Consultant LeeAnne Berlinsky was aware of this cultural shift when she was looking to promote her experiential leadership retreats.  As a modern entrepreneur, she was accustomed to promoting her professional endeavors online, but was unsure of the best avenue for each aspect of her business.  Realizing that she needed to learn more about different social media channels, she enrolled in the Digital Marketing and Social Media workshop offered through the College of Charleston JobBridge initiative. 

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Topics: Courses

CCPE Offers Holiday Pricing on Non-Credit Online Courses

Posted by Allison Leach on Nov 29, 2016 5:00:00 PM


The holiday season is upon us, and with it, a desire to select interesting and appropriate gifts for friends and family. This year, the College of Charleston Center for Continuing and Professional Education (CCPE) is encouraging SPS blog readers to give the gift of continuing education, offering special holiday pricing on several non-credit courses. 

The CCPE cotinually offers a selection of over 250 individual non-credit courses, including those which target highly sought-after professional skills, as well as courses designed for personal enrichment. The instructor-led courses are all held exclusively online, and allow students to move at their own pace - ideal for students with limited leisure time.

While all of the offered courses are economically priced, the CCPE is currently offering a holiday discount on five popular courses, extending their Black Friday Sale through December 15th.  
Below we have highlighted some of the features and benefits of the non-credit online offerings:

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Topics: News, Courses

Authentic Leadership Through Personal Branding

Posted by Allison Leach on Nov 16, 2016 8:33:20 PM

On November 18th, the School of Professional Studies will be offering "Authentic Leadership + Personal Branding," the final session in the 2016 Next Level Leadership Series.  Spaces are still available for this hands-on workshop; to register please visit our registration page, or see the Next Level Leadership website for additional information.


The term “personal branding” has been used to describe the process of marketing oneself and one’s career, in the same manner that one might promote a brand.  Personal branding has become particularly important in the 21st century, as professional and social networking demands that individuals “package” themselves and build a cohesive and engaging online presence.  “In today’s world, its important to develop your own brand: who you are, what you’re good at,” says leadership coach Amy Caffee.  “There are opportunities
available, but you aren’t physically there; your impression will be based
on your digital presence.”

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Topics: Courses

Why Choose a Degree Completion Program?

Posted by Allison Leach on Nov 1, 2016 5:00:11 PM

The following article,  originally published on  our blog in Spring 2016, highlights the benefits of enrolling in a degree completion program.  The School of Professional Studies is currently accepting applications for the Spring I (January 11) and Spring II (March 3) sessions, and will soon be accepting applications for Fall 2017.


If someone were looking to complete his or her bachelor’s degree, it seems only logical that he or she would seek out a program specifically designed to help with this process. Yet many prospective students are not even aware that such an option exists, or may question he authenticity of a non-traditional program.
Degree completion programs at non-profit schools provide the same level of difficulty, the same calibre of instructors, and the same access to resources as traditional degree programs. The difference lies in the scheduling of the courses, the cohort demographics - and in some cases - the method of delivery. As with traditional courses of study, degree completion programs can offer a credential in a singular discipline, such as psychology, or can be interdisciplinary, such as a Bachelor of Pofessional Studies.

The College of Charleston School of Professional Studies (SPS) offers a degree completion option in its Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) program: a course of study designed to help non-traditional students achieve a healthy school/life balance.

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Topics: Insider, Courses

Dr. Pam Mayer: Maximizing Leadership Potential

Posted by Allison Leach on Sep 22, 2016 4:00:00 PM

Within every human being lies a well of untapped capabilities, waiting for the right circumstances to bring them to the fore. 

This theory has long inspired Dr. Pam Mayer, an adjunct professor at the College of Charleston, who from her earliest academic pursuits, sought to guide individuals in realizing their full potential.  A psychologist by training, Dr. Mayer  focused her career primarily on leadership development, helping executives to increase their overall effectiveness, and devising curricula and instruments for industry-wide use.

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Topics: Feature, Courses

Daniela Goya-Tocchetto: Helping Students Understand Human Behavior

Posted by Allison Leach on Sep 2, 2016 3:00:15 PM

From her early days growing up in the large urban city of Porto Alegre, the capital of the southernmost state in Brazil, Dr. Daniela Goya-Tocchetto has had a passion for learning.  This passion, combined with a desire to gain a better understanding of disparate peoples and cultures, led Goya-Tocchetto to devote her life and career to the interdisciplinary study of human behavior.

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Topics: Feature, Courses

Exploring Opportunities in the Charleston Real Estate Market

Posted by Allison Leach on Jul 29, 2016 1:00:00 PM

The Charleston Regional Development Alliance reports that every day, 35 new residents move into the Charleston metro area, leading Charleston to become the 75th largest US metropolitan area (by population). This remarkable statistic not only outpaces regional growth predictions, but demonstrate a growth rate that is 3 times the national average.

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CCPE Offers Discount on Non-Credit Online Courses

Posted by Allison Leach on Jun 17, 2016 1:00:00 PM

Summer has arrived, and along with it, a time when many choose to take a break from their academic or professional lives. Yet opportunities exist to further one’s career, while still maintaining the relaxed pace of the summer months. 

The College of Charleston Center for Continuing and Professional (CCPE) offers over 250 individual non-credit courses, many of which target highly sought-after skills, applicable across a wide range of industries. The instructor-led courses are all held exclusively online,
and allow students to move at their own pace - an ideal scenario for summertime learning!

While all of the courses are economically priced, the CCPE is offering a discount on select courses for the months of June*, July and August.

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Topics: News, Courses

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