An Exclusive Interview With Corporate Trainer Dana Brownlee

Dana Brownlee - TaskQue Blog

Dana Brownlee is a very popular trainer, speaker and a mentor as well. She not only has an excellent academic background but also corporate life experience. Dana Brownlee has years of experience consulting with world’s renowned organizations like IBM Consulting, EMC Corporation, AT&T Bell Labs, etc.

Dana Brownlee has been working with international organizations like  SEAF, IAF, ASTD and PMI. She has a strong academic background including MBA, BIE, BS, IBM business transformation consulting certification and PMP Myers-Briggs type indicator qualification. Dana Brownlee is the president of Professionalism Matters Inc., a corporate-training company in Atlanta, GA.

TaskQue: First of all tell us about yourself? How did you enter the project management field? What was your real inspiration and motivation?

Dana Brownlee: I was “lucky”, I guess, as one of my first jobs, was with a corporate company, when I was out of college, (large telecom company) was a PM job.  I got my PMP really early – I remember filling it out longhand on paper.  The company focuses on processes and how to gain a competitive advantage in project management. They required their PMs to become PMP certified so it really forced me to develop some real competency quite early and I’m grateful now.

TaskQue: What is the vision of your company? What is the difference it offers from other project management training firms?

Dana Brownlee: My focus/goal, whether it’s a speaking at an event or training workshop, is to get away from the dry theory and provide practical tips that people can begin to use immediately.  I try to deal with the real issues that most other courses won’t discuss – what do you do if your project sponsor isn’t helpful?  How do handle the slacker on the team? How do you delegate so that you can still sleep at night?  My sessions tend to become quite animated and fun because these are the issues that people really want to discuss.

TaskQue: You said in a CRM Exchange interview, “Companies must not just make changes in how they recruit, train and reward CSR staff but also shift the corporate culture to acknowledge the importance of the CSR role.” Please elaborate what steps can be taken to grow the CSR and ultimately the customer satisfaction.

Dana Brownlee: The point of that quote is that it’s not just about recruiting, retaining and rewarding higher quality CSRs, but customer service needs to be infused throughout the organization.  Everyone in the organization should feel some level of responsibility for customer service (because everyone really does have a role).  Companies shouldn’t “outsource” that responsibility to the CSRs alone just because they’re talking to real customers every day and others may not.  The culture of the company has to shift if they are to provide a higher level of customer service in the long term.

TaskQue: It seems like you are against IVRs, but if a company leaves using automated systems then how can they quickly entertain millions of customers. What solution do you have in your mind?

Dana Brownlee: I’m not against IVRs.  I think they offer an efficiency that is necessary for many organizations, but it’s become too easy for some companies to rely too heavily on them. Additionally, they take almost all personalization out of the CS experience.  That’s dangerous.  Too much of almost anything can be bad.  Water is great, but if you drink too much, it’ll kill you.

TaskQue: You actively take part in workshops. Would you like to please share some memorable experience?

Dana Brownlee: I recently participated in some workshops (facilitated by Dunmore Improv) that included Improv based team building activities, and it was really great.

TaskQue: How important it is today for a coach to speak at conferences? Which community events or conferences you are planning to attend in 2017?

Dana Brownlee: I LOVE speaking at conferences and events.  Participants are interested in topics and ready to engage.  This year I’m speaking at several including…

Association of Talent and Development 2017 International Conference and Exposition

Project Summit Business Analysis World

International Association of Business Communicators Conference

TaskQue: You have been a part of project management community for long. Share few names with us who has always been your inspiration in the community.

Dana Brownlee: The people who have inspired me wouldn’t be names you would know.  It’s the best PMs or leaders I’ve actually worked with who have just done the hard work day in and day out in an amazing way.  It’s rare to find someone with that unique balance of intellect/technical knowledge and relationship skills but when you see them in action, it’s definitely memorable.

TaskQue: A part of your professional life, what are your hobbies and interests? How much do you believe in work-life balance and how do you maintain it?

Dana Brownlee: I believe a ton in danalife balance and I’ve written about it quite a lot for Working Mother.  I’ve even developed a workshop around a new approach to time management that I was forced into really after I had my second child.