PM Matters Interview: Natalie Semczuk Talks Working Remotely

Remote Work
Remote work is a hot topic in the business world. Perhaps this is because a higher percentage of employees work in an office and long for the freedom of remote work. Let’s face the facts: The idea of working remotely and not having to commute every day sounds appealing. Remote work comes with its challenges. This was a topic that we wanted to discuss. We were able to find the right person to discuss these issues!
The Remote Project Manager
Natalie Semczuk, a contract and remote project manager, is based in Upstate New York. Natalie has previous experience in client and in-house project management.
This episode of PM Matters features Natalie talking about her day as a remote PM and the joys and challenges of remote work. She also shares great advice on project communication. Listen to the podcast and read more on the topic on our blog. Also, check out Natalie’s session at the Digital PM Summit “Manage Your Remote Team”.
The Transcript is available here:
Brett: Hi. This is Brett Harned. PM Matters is a Team Gantt interview series. It raises the voice and explores what is important to us.
Natalie Semczuk is a freelance PM from Upstate New York. She is the organizer of DPM Upstate which is a meetup for project managers in digital.
Hey, Natalie. How are you doing?
Natalie: I am good. Natalie: I am good.
Brett: Good. Thank you so much for being here. So, I’d like to chat with you about what is important to you in project management. Let’s start by asking you how you got started in project management.
Natalie: Definitely. It’s always interesting, because PMs have such a unique path. I started my career as a school graphic designer, and I began freelancing right after graduation. I was able to get a job at an agency doing SEO research as I also have a background in sociology and graduate research. I just wanted to get into a local agency whenever I could.
After I was there, a position as assistant project manager opened up. They told me that if you still want to design, you can do it on the side. You can also work with our team if you have additional design comps for clients. I did. But at the same, I was directly working with clients. I really enjoyed the part of communication where you have the ability to interpret their needs in a way that fits a real-world scenario for the project.
It was a great experience to be able to bridge the gap between education the client and education the team and see a project come together. I was promoted to project manager, and it didn’t stop there. It’s a great job. It’s hands-on in a way design is not, but in a completely different style.
That’s amazing, and I’m sure that those projects always arrive on time.
Apart from that, my typical day in an agency is very similar to the one I have in the office. I’ll be making a lot more calls to clients and checking in with my internal teams. This could be via chat, Google Hangout, or Google Voice. That’s where it all changes. No one will know that I can be sitting at my desk in my pajamas with a large cup of coffee in my hand, or in my pajamas. It’s still a lot communication, a lot chatting, a LOT of emails, and checking in on everything to make sure it runs smoothly. Also, addressing any new projects or issues.
For sure. One of the greatest challenges I’ve faced has been a lack of immediate gratification when addressing an issue or answering a question. Everyone works at their own pace and everyone signs up at their own time. I s