Today, I interview Amy Hamilton. Amy has spoken at TEDTalks, served in the US Army and is currently writing a book. She is truly a woman with many talents. I asked her how she got her start.
Amy HamiltonAmy, How did you get started with project management?
Since graduating from Eastern Michigan University, I have been working in IT since then. I was also commissioned in the US Army. A lot of the work an Army Signal Officer must do is project management. Although the names and processes may be different, they are very results-oriented.
In 2007, I decided to get my PMP(r), and that was when I really got serious about formal project management.
What is your current job? Please tell us about your career path.
I currently work as an IT Project Manager for the US Government in Stuttgart. My career has included active duty as an Army Officer, as a contractor in IT for the US Government, and as a Government Civilian for the past ten year.
I was also a part-time facilitator at Boston University’s Project Management Program, and taught Project Management Tools to students at Colorado Technical University.
My time in Stuttgart is only five years so I should be back in America by 2021. I would like to be assigned to the National Capital Region.
You have also spent time volunteering, don’t you think?
I have served as a Board Member in many professional organizations, including my local PMI Chapters. Volunteer organizations are the most difficult to lead. It’s much harder to motivate volunteers than it is to motivate paid employees. A project manager can help their team build skills by leading a project in a volunteer group.
What was the one thing that you knew when you started out?
I need to network more. It is easy to feel isolated and closed off when you are a woman working in a male-dominated field. It is important to keep your mind active and not withdraw from the world.
What is your greatest challenge in your current career?
It is difficult to predict where technology will go in the future. Technology is constantly changing and new technology is often developed before an IT project is complete.
Your TEDx Stuttgart talk went well. Was that a great experience?
TEDx Stuttgart was a great experience. I wanted to share my idea that Life is the ultimate Project.
I believe project management is very important in my personal life. I am currently working on a book. It is a leadership tale and many of the traits in my main character are based upon people I have known and worked with.
Project management can make life more manageable and help people achieve their goals.
This will benefit others. What career development activities are you currently working on?
I am currently completing a Master’s degree certificate from the US National Defense University. I am also starting a PhD program on Organizational Leadership at Regent University in Virginia Beach.
What advice would you give to women in project management who are looking for a similar career path as you?
Women have made great strides in project management and in the US Government. Women in any field should not be afraid to challenge themselves and not be limited. You should also seek mentors in your field that are not your direct supervisor.