Galen Low is joined by Michael Mordak—Community Producer at The Digital Project Manager—to announce a new podcast series—The Spotlight Series—about real digital project managers and their stories. Michael shares how this new series will spark new ideas, shed light on the inner workings of our industry, and provide a truly human perspective to your own journey.
- Michael’s background [2:37]
- He’s one of those people that became a digital project manager without knowing it.
- His first job out of university was for a brand new position at a marketing agency.
- He w orked to coordinate marketing campaigns while managing their sales reps clients in the marketing team that was fulfilling the work.
- Eventually got into The DPM as a Community Producer, and now the host of The DPM’s new podcast series called “The Spotlight Series”.
- What can people expect to hear in The Spotlight Series and why is it important? [4:34]
- We have incredible people inside the DPM community, people that are making themselves available to share their insight that they learned over the course of their careers.
- It’s a community of gems talking about project management. Michael wants to give some of The DPM members an opportunity to be in the Spotlight and share some of that value with people that might need to hear it.
- They will focus on 3 tracks:
- Curve balls – these are ways that we can showcase the integrity and resilience of our members and ways that they’ve handled themselves in the face of adversity at work.
- Their journey to becoming a DPM – fun stories that highlight the roundabout roots that we take to this role.
- The value of community – these are stories from our members about how they’ve been able to advance in their personal and professional lives through interactions that they’ve had in the community.
- Michael’s inspiration for this series [8:41]
- The connection. We are working in silos so much of the time. We get little insight into how other people are doing the exact same work we’re doing. And if we just had that little peek behind the door to be able to get some of that insight and bring that into our own day-to-day practice, then it could help us deliver projects quicker, on time, with higher quality.
- When we get into these silos, we often feel like maybe there’s just one way of doing the role or completing the work. In reality, if you ask a variety of people how to complete the task you’re working on, you’re going to get a variety of answers. There’s no one right answer or wrong answer – it just comes from having discussion around it and then pulling in a bunch of different perspectives to create that best path forward.
- A little bit about the people that listeners can expect to see on the show [12:10]
- Some of them are people that have been through so much in their career to get to where they are today. They’ve been through a lot of companies, met a lot of people, built networks.
- PMs from some really cool companies like Zapier, Meta, Code and Theory or Hero Digital.
- When and how can folks tune in to hear the Spotlight series? [15:22]
- Every other week.
Meet Our Guest
Michael loves people. As Community Producer for The Digital Project Manager, he thrives in a role where he can engage and support our member community. His background in Digital Media, Product Management and over 5 years of Client Success have continued to grow his desire to bring the wants and needs of our member community, and our broader audience, to life in a way that unlocks more value to them.
Resources from this episode:
- Join DPM Membership
- Subscribe to the newsletter to get our latest articles and podcasts
- Connect with Michael on LinkedIn
Related articles and podcasts:
Galen Low: Stories. One of the most important things that we can do as digital project managers is share our stories with one another. As we navigate a world where what is expected of us changes nearly every day, where tools and technology seem to evolve in leaps from project to project, where the way that we approach a problem last time is rarely a sure bet for how we're supposed to solve it this time.
Well, it's hard to know whether we're doing it right. It's hard to know whether something that worked for us will work for someone else. It's hard to know whether we're innovating and creating value or just over-engineering something that's ultimately fleeting. There is no manual for this. We are all pioneers.
Hey folks, thanks for tuning in. My name is Galen Low with The Digital Project Manager. We are a community of digital professionals on a mission to help each other get skilled, get confident, and get connected so that we can amplify the value of project management in a digital world. If you want to hear more about that, head on over to thedigitalprojectmanager.com.
Okay. Today we are introducing a new series on this podcast that shines a light on the unsung individuals within the digital project management community, the folks who are doing the job day in and day out to make magic happen in the world of digital collaborations. We are calling it The Spotlight Series.
With me today is Michael Mordak, the Digital Project Manager's very own community lead, and the host of the new series. Michael, great to have you here today!
Michael Mordak: Thanks so much, Galen. Yeah, it's a pleasure.
Galen Low: This is so interesting. So full disclosure for our listeners — Michael and I have known each other for a long time. We've been working together here at the DPM for almost two years, I think. And Michael, you've been working tirelessly behind the scenes of our operations and inside of our members community. But now here you are on the other side of the desk with me. How does it feel?
Michael Mordak: It's a pretty cool experience. I didn't ever picture myself being an interviewee on a podcast, but here we are.
Galen Low: Here we're indeed.
Michael Mordak: Yeah. And I'm excited to share, really excited to share more about what we're working on within the DPM membership.
Galen Low: Awesome. I'm thrilled to dig in, but before we do, I just wondered if you could just tell our listeners maybe just a little bit about yourself, like how did you fall into digital project management and what do you enjoy best about what you do here at The DPM?
Michael Mordak: Yeah, so I am one of those people that became a digital project manager without knowing it. My first job at a university was for a brand new position at a marketing agency. The kind of role that you just make up as you go, my just job description was very vague, but uh, was essentially help everybody else do their job better.
So yeah, I worked to coordinate campaigns, marketing campaigns, while managing our sales reps clients in the marketing team that was fulfilling the work. And sadly I didn't find out about the DPM until I was applying for this job. But it would've made my life infinitely easier if I had been able to follow the blueprint that we have available for others through our articles, templates, and other resources.
So when I got the opportunity to be able to continue building out these resources and reaching people like me that could live easier lives, I jumped in and have not looked back. And that's what really what continues to drive me and what I find most exciting about this role. So every time I see someone post a win in our Slack channel or see someone help out another community member with advice or direction, I feel tremendous amount of satisfaction in helping to create and foster those connections so that others can get unstuck and succeed in their roles.
Galen Low: Awesome. I love that. And I love that origin story, especially on the marketing side because a lot of folks they enter in and to your point, right, they're not like trying to be a project manager. They're just trying to help out and things are moving so fast. And especially in the digital marketing world, there's so much like to keep up with in a way.
And I can just absolutely see how that gravitational pull just drags you in and suddenly you're doing the job. So I bet some of our listeners can relate as well.
Michael Mordak: Yeah, I bet. I mean, I know that we have a lot of marketers within the community for sure. And yeah, it's just one of those, I mean, it's like many other digital related roles where everything, you tune in, you maybe go on vacation for a week or you tune out for a couple days and you come back and everything's in a different spot, everything's changed, there's AI now, and.
Galen Low: Awesome. That's a really good segue actually, because we're diving into this new series on the podcast and through some of our other distribution channels, and we're calling it The Spotlight Series. I was just wondering, maybe could you just tell us a bit about it. Like what can people expect to hear in this series and, and, and why is it important?
Michael Mordak: Yeah, well, you mentioned earlier in the intro and yeah, building off the point about our members who are just sharing incredible advice. We have really incredible people inside the DPM community, people that are making themselves available to share their insight that they learned over the course of their careers.
They're asking tough questions and they're also sharing in the successes and the frustrations of their peers. Really, it's more of a community of just gems, just a bunch of gems in the community talking about project management and it's, it's awesome. But the problem that we face is that people outside of the community walls don't get to witness that, and they don't get to experience the shared value that's happening in there. So what I want to do is allow that to happen, kind of break down those walls. And so I wanted to give some of our members an opportunity to get in the Spotlight and share some of that value with people that might need to hear it.
So we're releasing some fun conversations. These are going to be, you know, kind of punchy, shorter, you know, hopefully 10 to 20 minute conversations with members from our community. And right now we're focusing on three tracks. So we've got one that's focused on curve balls. So these are ways that we can showcase the integrity and resilience of our members and ways that they've handled themselves in the face of adversity at work.
Um, just so, just showing that the, the real impact that these people are having and then the value in the experience that they can bring to the community and bring to the conversations. We're also talking about their journey to becoming a DPM because like myself, how I kind of just fell into it, these are going to be fun stories that just highlight the roundabout roots that we take to this role.
And, uh, all those twists and turns along the way. And then the last one is the value of community, and these are going to be stories from our members about how they've been able to advance in their personal and professional lives through interactions that they've had in the community. Maybe ours, maybe others, doesn't really matter. But just talking about, um, how community has impacted them personally.
Galen Low: I love that. I love all three of those things - the curve balls, the journey to becoming a digital project manager, and the value of community. I think you mentioned it earlier, right? It's like one of the things is that it's very valuable.
It's very helpful to hear some of these stories from people doing the job like day over day, things that are relatable and even just kind of like getting to the point where you're like, it's either just resonating with you where you're like, okay, that, that's validating the way I was feeling. Or can just be massively insightful in a way that other ways of learning, uh, like just wouldn't do.
And I think the one thing that's just so important here is that, like conversations are valuable. I mean, obviously listeners to the podcast probably understand that because that's what podcasts are all about, especially this one. But there's just so many stories to be told about people doing the job to bring about topics and have discussions about some really important stuff that can otherwise just get brushed under the rug or just stay in one individual's brain.
That sort of notion of imposter syndrome or the notion of, okay, well it's only me facing this challenge, whereas actually a lot of folks face that challenge, feel the same way, have overcome some of that adversity and have some tips to share. So I love that.
Michael Mordak: Yeah, and we're gonna dive into a lot of that stuff. I mean, when you mentioned that imposter syndrome, that's a big one. We all face it. If you're, there are two types of people. People who have face imposter syndrome and then there are liars. But we're gonna be talking about those stories, talking about ways in that track about the journey to DPM. We, you know, we're gonna be diving into the ways that people knew they needed to upskill in order to, even if they kind of fell into the role and they were good at some aspects of it, there were definitely ways that we needed to improve.
And some of those might have been in the soft skills. Some of them might have been the hard skills, but we'll explore some of those. And then the other thing that I wanted to mention too was just the importance of, like you mentioned, hearing those stories because in this will relate a lot to kind of my own experience, but often you are a one person show in your company and you might not really realize what's happening. Maybe you don't even know that you're a project manager, like, you know, like I mentioned. And so it's really beneficial to hear those stories and understand that there are people that are just trying to navigate it the same way you are.
Galen Low: Navigating is, is exactly the word I had in my head. I was like, yeah, that's kind of what we're doing. We're navigating and sometimes we're navigating alone. It's a lonely place, but it doesn't have to be. So I think that's really cool.
That it's kind of a big deal, I mean, for anyone who sort of started a content series or started a podcast, it needs to get that lift. It's like taking a rocket into space. You need that propulsion. I'm just wondering, what was your inspiration for this series? Like was there just a moment where you realized, you're like, damn it, like this needs to be something that we do on our show.
Michael Mordak: Yeah, well, I honestly, I kind of just spoiled my answer to this one, but I mean, the first one I'll, I'll mention is just that, that connection. It's just, it's, we are working in silos so much of the time. We get really little insight into how other people are doing the exact same work we're doing. And if we just had that little peek behind the door to be able to get some of that insight and, and bring that into our own day-to-day practice, then it could, it could help us deliver projects quicker on, you know, on time, maybe higher quality.
Um, and just also feel more accomplished about the work that you're presenting. So that's definitely one of the biggest ways that I was inspired to, you know, bring this about. And then the second reason that I really wanted to push the series out was because we often, like we, when we get into these silos, we often feel like maybe there's just one way of doing the role or completing the work. But I mean, in reality, if you ask a variety of people how to complete the task you're working on, you're going to get a variety of answers.
There are lots of ways of going about it, and so there's no one right answer or wrong answer. A lot of times it just comes from having discussion around it and then pulling in a bunch of different perspectives to create that best path forward. And so by, you know, bringing these stories out from our membership and into the world, hopefully we can encourage that discussion a little bit more and start some more dialogue around it.
Galen Low: I really love that. I love that notion of dialogue and like especially at that intersection of digital where we talked about it earlier, digital moves so fast, everyone is sort of like on paper doing the "same thing", but actually everyone's actually doing it very differently and it's broad.
Digital is broad. Just because you are in, let's say website development or web application development doesn't mean that your experience is going to be similar or the way that you approach something is gonna be similar to someone else developing web applications. But even just having that conversation to kind of share even where things aren't even parallel, where you're like, okay, that sounds like a very different thing than I do.
But there's a lot that I can take away from this because there isn't really just this one monolithic way to do things. If there were, the job would be heaps easier. I imagine. So I really like that. I think that's super cool. I was just thinking of this moment where in our Slack community, someone had just posted a picture of their notebook and all it said was WTF?
And I was like, there's just so much in there. There's so much to unpack there that like to take a note to yourself in your notebook that's like wtf, and unpack that into what is going on here? How can I dialogue with people? How can we have conversations about this feeling, about the situation, about the adversity we're facing and how can we navigate together? I super love that.
Michael Mordak: Yeah, there's a lot of that happening in the community as well, which it is one of, I think actually it's, it's funny. A member pointed out, and then in the last month or so that's actually been the most active area of the Slack space is that kind of corner that we have, we've call it a vent channel, where people just go and share their frustrations.
It's just a safe space where you know you can share those thoughts and then you feel validated because people will come in and talk about the similar moments that they've had where they were feeling just as frustrated or felt lost. But then to bring that back, it creates that dialogue, it creates that discussion, and then people are able to navigate that and find that that path forward again.
Galen Low: Awesome. I love that. I mean, one of the things that's clear to me here is that this series is all about the people. There's a massive human component in here. You know, it's not just about technical skills. I'm sure that's a part of it as well. But really this is about human stories. This is about individuals that hopefully our listeners can relate to and learn from.
But I wondered if you could just tell us a little bit about who you want to have on the show. Who can our listeners expect to hear from in this series?
Michael Mordak: Yeah, well, like I mentioned earlier, this is a community of gems. I mean, it's truly incredible people, they've lived through so much. They've made some advancement.
They actually, they're at, you know, multiple stages of their career. We have some people who are just starting out, some people who are looking to get into PM. We also have people who've climbed the ladder and made it a long way, who've been working in industry for over 10, maybe 20 years. We also have people from some really cool companies, like we've got PMs that are working at Zapier, Meta, agencies like Code and Theory or Hero Digital.
And then we also have a pretty substantial community of freelancers that talk about, you know, how they network and how they are finding and filling their pipelines. And all of these PMs, you know, are ranging from the junior PM who's just starting out to VPs of delivery, head of ops. Yeah. So it's a, it's a pretty wide range, which again, just that idea of perspective.
Galen Low: I love that and I love that cross section exactly for that. Because like you were saying, like we need to have these conversations and dialogues and understand the commonalities where there is something to be learned from anyone, anywhere in this industry.
Something that we can all take away and put in our little playbook of how we approach the job. And I just think that's so important that we talk about it and that it's not, you know, like we talked about, just like this note in somebody's private notebook that is just kind of like processing all of the things happening around them. Whereas they're actually dialogues that that need to happen and that everyone can learn from no matter where they are in their journey as listeners as well, to be able to have some key takeaways from how people are approaching their work.
Listen, obviously we're going to keep this podcast running as well, just the regular spiel with me, but when and how can folks tune in to hear this new series, the Spotlight series?
Michael Mordak: Yeah, so we are going to try to release one every other week between the regular installments with you. So you'll hear, you know, Galen one week, and then we'll come in with a member spotlight the next week to bring some of those members into the forefront and give them that time, uh, to share their stories and share their insight.
In fact, we actually released our first one today, so you can go check that out right now. After this one's, uh, all finished up, you can go give it a listen and, and let us know what you think. We'd love to hear your feedback, so leave us a comment.
Galen Low: Awesome. That's super cool. That's super cool. There you have it folks, like the first episode is live now. So be sure to check that out and absolutely like let us know your thoughts. And Michael, congratulations on the launch and thanks again for carrying the torch forward for digital project managers everywhere.
And as a last little bit, I thought maybe I'd put you on the spot. Do you want, as a new host of this series, do you wanna read us out?
Michael Mordak: As always, if you'd like to join the conversation with over 1,000 like-minded project management champions, come join our collective. Head over to thedigitalprojectmanager.com/membership to learn more. And if you like what you heard today, please subscribe and stay in touch on thedigitalprojectmanager.com.
Until next time, thanks for listening.