MPS Helps Project Management For Change Prepare for PMDoS

Posted in Pro Bono Program on May 17, 2017

pm4changeProject Management For Change (PM4Change) is the engine behind Project Management Day of Service (PMDoS), a Martin Luther King Day tradition in the DC Metro Area. The one-day event is designed to align nonprofit organizations (NPOs) with project managers who have the expertise and experience to help NPOs assess and plan projects. M Powered Strategies provided pro bono support to PM4Change for the third annual PMDoS, which took place in January of this year. For two months leading up to the event, MPS staffers Davin Hattaway and Patti McMullen provided communications and associations management support in the form of governance consultation, logistics support, and outreach to NPOs.

“The experience of supporting PMDoS was incredibly rewarding,” noted Patti. “Nonprofit leaders were genuinely excited to participate in this event and receive much-needed support for their projects that do so much to help our communities. It is empowering to see project managers in turn raise their hands to help these leaders through project management.”

If you would like to learn more about how your organization can benefit from M Powered Strategies’ pro bono services, please contact Kat McDonald.


MPS Helps ServiceWorks with Curriculum Design

Posted in Pro Bono Program / Project Management on May 10, 2017

ServiceWorks-Vertical-FinalServiceWorks is a program run by Points of Light to help disenfranchised youth – many of them raised in the foster care system – to develop the skills needed for college and a career. They were interested in incorporating a Project Management component to their curriculum that met the standards of the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation (PMIEF), so last December, Points of Light came to M Powered Strategies requesting a feasibility study.

MPS consultants Jeremy Faircloth and Tyler Sycamore spent two months, working closely with the Points of Light/ServiceWorks team, reviewing the current curriculum, and comparing it to the standards of PMIEF, which offers a digital badge for students aged 12 – 19 years who have demonstrated project management skills and knowledge. The result was a gap analysis, along with recommendations for specific adjustments ServiceWorks could make in their curriculum to meet the PMIEF standards. MPS also provided a step-by-step roadmap of the steps they would need to take to establish a partnership with PMIEF.

“Points of Light is an amazing organization to work with!” noted Jeremy. “As a Project management Professional (PMP) myself, this was a great opportunity to give back to the community and empower disenfranchised youth to make a difference in their community. I’m excited to see the impact of our work.”

MPS Kicks Off National Volunteer Week with a Painting Project

Posted in Community Involvement on April 28, 2017
MPS Staff at the Garfield Terrace Community Center

MPS Staff working at the Garfield Terrace Community Center

To kick off Points of Light’s National Volunteer Week, on Saturday, April 22, Mara Goldberg, Bryan Kovalick and Lesley McNeish of MPS, volunteered with the Capital Area REACH Program. This small nonprofit focuses on education, mentorship and professional development for low-income students in the Washington, DC area.

Saturday’s event took place in Northwest DC, where volunteers were tasked with painting the interior of Garfield Terrace Community Center to create a more fun and inviting environment for the students who attend the after-school programs. Bryan, Lesley and Mara spent the day painting the walls bright orange and blue; they were also able to engage with members of the community who have benefited from REACH’s services.

According to Bryan, volunteering with the Capital Area REACH Program was a fun experience. “They’re led by an energetic and motivated group, and I sincerely hope that MPS can partner with them in future volunteer or pro bono opportunities.”




Promotions at MPS

Posted in Human Resources on April 21, 2017
Andrew MacDonald

Andrew MacDonald

Sarah Nurse

Sarah Nurse

As MPS matures, expanding its services and outreach, there is an increased need for high-level decision-making. So an extra executive layer was recently established, and two top-notch MPS staffers have stepped in to fill the newly-created positions.

We are pleased to announce the promotion of Sarah Nurse and Andrew MacDonald – each with a decade of experience at M Powered Strategies – to the position of Vice President.

Sarah Nurse, Vice President of Client Services, is a senior consultant with fifteen years of management consulting experience, supporting clients such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, Department of Commerce and more. Her expertise is in strategic planning, strategic communications, complex stakeholder management, organizational design, facilitation, governance, and performance management. Previously, Sarah served as MPS Account Manager, overseeing the VA contracts for the past several years.

Andrew MacDonald, Vice President of Administration, has an MBA from the University of Technology, Sydney, and a Master’s in Public International Law from the University of Sydney with a focus in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). He is a Certified Workplace Mediator and Trainer in Workplace Mediation  and has substantial experience providing client solutions in Human Resource Management, organizational analysis, facilitation, and conflict management. Clients he has worked with include the Department of Energy, U.S. Forest Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Justice. He has served as Director of Human Resources at MPS for many years, and will continue in that role in addition to his new responsibilities.

Congratulations to both Sarah and Andrew!

MPS Awarded for Innovative Solution

M Powered Strategies is proud to have been selected as one of the winning candidates for an innovation award hosted by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), the American Council on Education (ACE), the Lumina Foundation, and for Closing the Skills Gap with Digital Credentials. The solution proposed by M Powered Strategies was selected as one of the top three winners out of more than 200 submissions.

Digital credentials are a method for verifying an individual’s abilities and accomplishments through accessible and portable digitized certificates. They are similar to traditional certifications (such as PMP or CAE) but narrower and more responsive to evolving skill requirements in any industry. The concept behind these credentials was pioneered by the Mozilla Foundation and Peer 2 Peer University in 2011, but the credentials have not gained much traction outside of the programming and computer science communities since then.

First, MPS identified four essential components of a successful digital credential:

  • A credential must be applicable and provide meaningful information about an individual’s capability.
  • A credential must by adopted by enough individuals who have demonstrated high performance to warrant acknowledgement by others in the field.
  • A credential must be recognized as legitimate and valuable, and issued by a trusted authority.
  • A credential must by portable between organizations,.

Secondly, we stipulated that all of these components need to be addressed simultaneously. Efforts spent addressing only one would be overwhelmed by deficiencies in the other three, which is what has frustrated efforts to develop digital credential programs in other fields.

We proposed to expand the reach and relevance of digital credentials via:

  • A social extranet platform to encourage adoption, through active and continuous engagement, and immediate recognition of credentials.
  • An accreditation system to encourage recognition.
  • A system of federated digital authority to encourage portability, and community building to reinforce applicability.

To develop this solution, the MPS team synthesized our expertise in IT governance, performance management, certification program design, educational program development, and implementation of social extranet solutions. We look forward to developing innovative solutions to industry challenges as we continue to expand our services in the nonprofit sector.

For more information about how MPS can support your organization with creative solutions to challenging integration problems, contact our Account Manager for Association Consulting, Davin Hattaway, CAE.

MPS Assists Local Nonprofit

Posted in Pro Bono Program on March 27, 2017

pearls-logoM Powered Strategies recently finished a pro bono engagement with The P.E.A.R.L.S. Inc. (Purposefully Empowering and Reaching Little Sisters), a nonprofit based at a school in Prince George’s County, Maryland, which serves girls in grades 3 through 6. In existence since 2011, P.E.A.R.L.S. was experiencing some common nonprofit growing pains, so they came to MPS for help.

Arezu Hadjialiloo, Mariana Enriquez, and Karli Kloss of MPS all share a passion for empowering young women. “I wanted to work on this project because I was very excited about their mission,” said Arezu Hadjialiloo, the team’s Project Lead. “They perform work that I am passionate about, and as a former teacher it was wonderful to reconnect with educators and see the great work they do on the ground.”

The MPS team provided strategic communications, graphic design, and messaging support for P.E.A.R.L.S. According to MPS Communications Manager Karli Kloss, “The project was just plain fun. I was able to play around with some graphic design and branding work that I don’t usually do with my government clients. We provided ready-to-use communications tools for an organization in need, with a fantastic mission that I was proud to support.”

Over the course of three months, our consultants performed stakeholder interviews, created a stakeholder register, and redrafted the organization’s vision, mission, and long-term goals. This all rolled into a strategic communications plan that will help P.E.A.R.L.S. communicate effectively and consistently with its audiences as it continues to grow and expand.

“This project reminded me how under-resourced most nonprofits are,” Arezu added. “The will is there, the drive to achieve their mission is there, but the resources aren’t. Our deliverables might not seem like a lot, but hopefully we have given them just a little edge, for reaching out to donors and volunteers and other nonprofits.”

Being in service to others is a founding principle of MPS, and our staffers put substantial time and energy into pro bono projects for nonprofits. If you are interested in learning more about MPS Assists, contact our Community Engagement Manager, Kat McDonald, at

MPS Fosters Project Management Professionals

Posted in Professional Development / Project Management on March 24, 2017

PMPMPS is proud to announce the recent certification of four new Project Management Professionals (PMPs): Brian Wenzler, Lee Levy, Ashley Rezai and Allison Primack. That makes twelve PMPs at MPS, and more to come. At MPS, we actively encourage our consultants to avail themselves of the tools of Project Management and to master the rigorous skills and knowledge areas required to attain PMP certification.

Kendall Lott, President of M Powered Strategies, has been a PMP for over a decade. He was President of the Washington DC Project Management Institute (PMIWDC) in 2015, where he was recognized for excellence in leadership for a large chapter.  He also teaches a series of Project Management classes for the MPS Professional Apprenticeship for Consulting Excellence (PACE) program, and hosts monthly audio podcasts, “PM Point of View”, which are available for download on iTunes. According to Kendall, “The PMBOK [Project Management Book of Knowledge] offers hardcore practical tools and systems for real life consultants. But it’s not set in stone; it’s updated on a yearly basis. And swirling around that is a cadre of thinkers and professionals, writing books and blogs, delving deeply into the key areas of Project Management – Risk, Stakeholder Management, Scope, etc. They keep coming up with fascinating and radical new approaches. That’s the stuff I enjoy hashing out in my podcasts.”

Lee, who has always had an interest in project management, learned about Project Management shortly after coming into the company as a PACE apprentice. “I asked about it during my coaching sessions and asked other colleagues about their experience with the PMP. That sparked my interest …” One thing she likes about Project Management is that, besides the tools, “it provides a common language across the consulting sphere with colleagues and clients.”

According to Brian, “Project Management principles help me break down broad, ambitious initiatives that clients talk about into discrete milestones and objectives. This is key in translating ideas into action and eventually results.”

Allison is appreciative of MPS’ support. “I think it is great that MPS encourages us as professionals to engage in PMI/project management, since it is something that is relevant to any professional career, not just consulting.”

Kendall is proud of his staff’s push to certification, “Project Management is how we drive change, it’s an act of transformation and so it’s in the very DNA of MPS. We are happy that our team sees the need to develop these skills. Whether we are formal project managers or not, this way of thinking helps us get more done for our clients and for our company.”

Welcome, Maria Perez!

Posted in Human Resources on March 17, 2017
Maria Perez

Maria Perez

Before coming to MPS, Maria served as a political appointee in President Obama’s Administration.  She started out at the White House in the Office of Presidential Personnel.

From there she went on to work in a variety of positions at the U.S. Department of State. As Deputy White House Liaison, she supported the Secretary’s leadership, helping manage the relationships of all political appointees.  In the office of Commercial and Business Affairs, Maria provided strategic planning support to the Special Representative.  She also served as a Foreign Affairs Officer in the U.S. Mission to the Organization of American States, where she represented U.S. interests on a multilateral stage.

Maria started her professional career as a Geometry teacher with Teach for America in Atlanta, Georgia. She received a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law and is admitted to the Texas Bar.  She also holds a B.B.A. in Finance and B.A. in French from the University of Texas at Austin.


Welcome, James Feinstein!

Posted in Human Resources on February 24, 2017
James Feinstein

James Feinstein

James Feinstein comes to MPS after serving at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. Government’s Development Finance Institution. As a Special Assistant in the Office of the President he helped advance American foreign policy and increase global economic stability by encouraging private sector investment into emerging markets. Prior to this he worked on Energy, Environment and Transportation policy for Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota.

James earned a B.A. from Luther College in Decorah, IA and served as a Fulbright Scholar in Thailand where he conducted research on voter motivation and taught English. He is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Public Policy at Georgetown University. In his spare time James enjoys outdoor activities, reading and traveling.​


Consultants Learn From The Bard

Posted in Professional Development on February 08, 2017
William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Last week four intrepid MPS staffers – Zully Barrientos, Ira Casteel, Davin Hattaway, and Sarah Miles – took part in an unusual class at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in DC.  “Acting for Business Professionals,” taught by Dan Crane, the Resident Teaching Artist, is designed to help participants articulate and deliver their message with maximum effectiveness.

Pauses, gestures, eye contact, physical presence in the room, intonation, and word choice are just some of the elements they dissected and practiced. Ira’s big takeaway was the presentation preparation. “Breaking up the text in logical beats and practicing out loud while walking around the room will be my new go-to method. Each punctuation mark warrants a physical turn, which forces you to slow down and truly notice pauses in your text.” For Davin, it was the realization that consultants and actors are essentially striving for the same thing. “Both professions need to faithfully represent complex information in a way that’s meaningful and impactful. The tools they provided will give me a new perspective as I consider my own presentations.”

MPS has been a proud sponsor of the Shakespeare Theatre Company since 2009.

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