Concordia University’s Jodi LaPla talks about the benefits of being a Concordia student and PMI Portland Sponsor!

PMI Portland’s sponsors are important community partners. Each sponsor has a unique role to play in Portland’s growing project management ecosystem. PMI Portland is pleased to highlight our sponsors’ contributions to our organization.

By Kerry K. Sharp

Question: Tell us about your organization.

Jodi LaPla: We are liberal arts non-profit university, and we are located in northeast Portland. Our mission is to transform society so, our students and faculty are very involved in a lot of volunteer and service projects, and they are always asking what they can do for others.

Question: What makes your organization unique?

JL: We have small class sizes and our faculty are there to teach their students first. So, the faculty know their students by name, and because of the small class sizes, they do service projects together. The faculty really look out for their students.

Question: Are the service projects for local business and organizations within the community?

JL: Yes, partner with the Oregon Food Bank, Night Strike, and The Black United Fund. We have mission trips called ABL, or Alternative Break Leadership opportunities, where we go to Seattle, WA, San Francisco, CA, Atlanta, GA, and Haiti, and potentially, this year, we will have the opportunity to go to Houston, TX.

Question: You have been a sponsor for a while. Thank you! I’ve seen you at the Chapter meetings. How long have you been a sponsor?

JL: This is our first year. Dr. Kathy Milhauser and Shawn Daley, Executive Vice President for Business Development and Innovation, were able to present this year so, we are really excited for the opportunity.

Question: What made Concordia University take that step to become a sponsor?

JL: We have a School of Management at Concordia University with our MBA, and we are really excited to take Concordia into the tech world and bring students to campus who are interested in the business side of things. PM is one of our concentrations in our MBA so, that is a focus area for our students, and a passion of Kathy’s (Milhauser) as well. We are really looking for opportunities to connect with the community.

Question: How do you support your PM students after they have graduated?

JL: We have a Career Connect department that works with students on resumes, we have a lot of networking opportunities, and over 100 alumni from our program and current students have volunteered to be part of our career database. So, if a current student or alum wants to connect with someone from our program or in PM, we have a database where we click a button and all of our PM career students pop up and also, or if there is a specific organization they want to connect with, like Nike or Intel, then they can use the database to see who from Concordia works there and in what departments. These students and alumn have volunteered to be mentors, to meet for coffee, and just support current students from Concordia.

Question: So, Concordia is a new sponsor, thank you! How do you feel being a PMI sponsor will benefit your organization?

JL: We are smaller university in northeast Portland so, some people don’t know we exist. I think this is a really good opportunity to highlight what you can gain from Concordia University as a student, and just make those connections. Even if they choose not to be a student, there may be other ways we can partner together.

Question: Why do you think other organizations like yours should sponsor PMI Portland?

JL: I think that the people who come to this conference are really excited about learning and growing and supporting their own organization. It has been really great to talk the other vendors and sponsors that are here. We have already exchanged emails and contact information with them. Just the energy at the conference has been really nice!

Question: The conference has given the sponsors an opportunity to network, and maybe partner or find other ways they can work together?

JL: Yes! I talked with a gentleman at the table next to me and he has internship opportunities. I am going to connect him with our internship coordinator at Concordia University. Hopefully, some of our students can learning what he is doing at his business and he, in turn, gets wonderful and motivated students!

About the Author

sharp kerry

Kerry K. Sharp, CAPM

Kerry has a background in IT and software testing. She is an experienced software testing manager, document manager, and technical editor/writer. Kerry holds a B.A. in Digital Technical and Culture from Washington State University Vancouver and a B.A. in Humanities from Marylhurst University. She achieved a CAPM in August 2016. Her passions include baking, cooking, technical writing, process development/improvement, and spending time with her teenage nieces.

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