Inspiring Women in Project Management: Traci Duez

(This post contains affiliate hyperlinks. Please read my full disclosure.
It’s time to continue Inspiring Women in Project Management. Today I’m thrilled to introduce Traci Duez, a chemist who became a project manager and is now an inspiration for women.
Traci was my first ever PMI Global Congress, and I was able to say that categorically. Although she doesn’t seem to remember me, she said she does and allowed me to interview her (watch the video at 6.40).
It was inspiring to see her energy and passion for achieving more productivity in her team.
Let’s just get started, so I won’t go on.
Traci, how did your journey into project management begin?
I was asked to fill the PM position in my company by accident. Although I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, I knew that I would be able to manage projects. I was a chemist and had learned how to code. (wink, wink)
Do you have a favorite project you worked on?
It would be my last project in my IT consulting career. It was an implementation and customization project that was for an auto insurance company. The BPM (business process management system) was not something that everyone in the company was familiar with. It also used a customization technology (javascript APIs), that no one in the company was an expert in.
The project cost $500,000, but the client ended up with more than $1 million in change requests. The client decided to scrap the entire thing.
It was not a complete failure, however. After spending $1.5m, the client realized that their idea (which they planned to invest more than $20m in) was not going to work.
You now work in consulting. You may not have always envisioned the leap to owning your own business. Are you happy where you are now, career-wise?
It’s a good question, as I didn’t believe I could do what I’m doing right now. I was shy and a bit backwards. My performance was exceptional because I worked hard and was committed to what I was doing. I was not a person I liked, or more accurately, I felt people wouldn’t like me. I never applied for leadership roles but was encouraged to do so.
Since I was a teenager, I had a memory of rehearsing speeches that would motivate or inspire people. I have always loved coaching people. Since high school, I have coached softball, baseball, and basketball.
Running my own business was another thing that I subconsciously thought about. I “pretended” to own every job I held and made all my decisions based on that “ownership”.
It was almost inevitable that I would end up starting my own business, where I speak to PMI chapters and corporate groups and coach them in leadership development.

It was difficult to leave a corporate job and do it your way?
Hmmmm… I feel like I want “yes” but it wasn’t. It’s easy to make life and business easier when you align your values with what you do.
Did I have to do something that I had never done before? Yep. It was scary. It wasn’t scary because I knew I had it in my. It was part of becoming the person I want to be.
Failure is just feedback. To approach the unknown as an experiment, I draw on my chemistry knowledge. I develop a hypothesis and then test it to prove or disprove it. Every experiment is valuable. All experiments provide data.
What is the most memorable thing a client ever taught you?
It’s a great question, and it’s difficult to answer. I learn so much from my clients every single day. If I had to choose one thing, it would be what I teach my clients… ask for more questions and listen intently to the answers.
What is an adv?