It's Big Nerd of the Month time again. This month's winner earned her spot in our Nerd Hall of Fame by fastidiously ensuring that our developers and our clients are happy. (Whew!) Without further adieu, I'm proud to introduce Project Strategist Jenn Green as our September 2013 Big Nerd of the Month!
BNR Blog: Hi Jenn, and congratulations! The last few Big Nerds of the Month have been developers. How does it feel to be the first Project Strategist to earn the coveted title of Big Nerd of the Month?
JG: It really is a huge honor and a compliment to the Project Strategist team and the work we do. Personally, I’ve always thought of Big Nerd of the Month as recognizing stellar developers. Our developers and designers build some pretty awesome stuff, so I never really thought about being a candidate. It means so much to me that I’ve received this award based on votes from my co-workers
BNR Blog: I was there when CBQ presented you with the Big Nerd of the Month trophy. You were just wrapping up an internal Nerd Share Time presentation, I believe. How surprised were you?
JG: Very, very surprised. I’m not sure if my Nerd Share Time audio was still being recorded, but I believe my response was, “Whaaaaaaaaaat?”
BNR Blog: I can confirm that! Can you tell us a little more about what being a Project Strategist for Big Nerd Ranch entails?
JG: I think of our designers and developers as being the starting roster of a top-tier soccer team (I’m a BIG soccer fan), and my role as Project Strategist makes me something like an equipment manager (just kidding).
But seriously, the Project Strategist team adds structure to our client projects. That starts with connecting developers to consulting projects and includes tracking progress and deliverables while nurturing the client-developer relationship. We often work behind-the-scenes to make sure that our consulting projects are healthy on all sides. That means advocating for clients and for development and design standards in tandem. Overall, it involves a lot of multi-tasking, problem solving and communicating across internal teams and with clients.
BNR Blog: Wow! You really do a lot! What made you decide to come to Big Nerd Ranch to work as a Project Strategist?
JG: Prior to Big Nerd Ranch (and Highgroove), I had been working as a client manager for an instructional technology company. However, I didn’t feel challenged enough and wasn’t growing professionally as much as I would have liked. I love learning and I’m driven by opportunities to grow professionally. I was searching for an opportunity to work directly with developers and designers, while also continuing with client project management. I knew I wanted to work for a company with a fresh approach to corporate culture.
I say all the time that I’ve learned more in one year at Big Nerd Ranch than I did in the five years prior.
BNR Blog: I know you have a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, Rupert. He's really adorable, and I'm such a dog person. Tell me a bit about Rupert (and his affinity for bow ties)?
JG: Rupert is four years old and spoiled rotten. One of his favorite things in the world is coming with me when I work at the Big Nerd Ranch USSHG office. I like to think that it's because he gets to spend time with me, but I think it’s actually because of how much food he gets by trolling the kitchen. I discovered his affinity for bow-ties when a friend of mine gave me one for him to wear. I’ve yet to find a good top-hat to match. As a nerdy aside, he’s named after the character of Rupert Giles on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
BNR Blog: I miss Buffy! But I have to ask about "Drumline." I understand you were an extra. I definitely need to hear the details of this.
JG: I got my undergrad from Georgia State in Film and Video. The best place to get experience in film and TV production was working as an extra. The production for "Drumline" was always in need of extras, especially for large crowd scenes. I’d say 70 percent of the folks in my film classes at the time were extras. I also did some work on "Sweet Home Alabama", "The Fighting Temptations" and "MTV Cribs". Cee-lo’s house was a lot of fun.
BNR Blog: Lastly, what advice would you have for someone who's just getting their career started?
JG: Show initiative at every opportunity and get a mentor. I worked several jobs at a time in college and while interning, I took every grunt assignment and extra task I could just to learn more and gain experience. Having solid professional experience really paid off when I graduated from school.
Having a mentor is key to professional growth. I’ve been lucky to have a few bosses who embraced the teaching and mentoring opportunities that come with being someone’s manager.
Finally, don’t be afraid to work outside of your comfort zone; sometimes you don’t know what you’re capable of until to accept a challenge.
BNR Blog: That’s it for this edition of Big Nerd of the Month! Join us next month when we introduce our October Big Nerd of the Month.
If you’re interested in joining the Big Nerd Ranch team check out our careers page and apply!