This year marks our 75th Anniversary. To celebrate, we’re publishing 75 stories about members of our community. Barbara Schrage, PMP, MCPM has been an instructor at the Wisconsin School of Business Center for Professional & Executive Development since 2006.
Barb received a degree in computer programming and when she reached the top of that career path as a systems analyst, a new opportunity was presented to her. “One of the vice presidents asked me if I would accept a new project manager position. This was a newly created position with a high degree of accountability, but initially had no training, tools, or a process to follow. It was an honor to be chosen and also scary, challenging, and exciting all at the same time. I said yes!”
Her project management career flourished into roles as a project management office director, the first president of Project Management Institute (PMI) Northeast Wisconsin Chapter, and after taking early retirement from Thrivent Financial, started her own project management teaching and consulting business. Shortly after
Barb lives in Neenah, WI. When she’s not teaching project management programs, you’ll find Barb and her husband spending time with their son, daughter, their spouses, and four grandchildren. They also enjoy splitting their time between their vacation home in Eagle River, WI, and their condo in Bradenton Beach on Anna Maria Island, FL. The Schrage family enjoys boating, fishing, and taking time to
Barb enjoys being a CPED instructor because it allows her to give back in a way she never imagined. “To give back to a profession I love is an amazing feeling. I’m so passionate about project management and I’ve learned a lot in my career. This position allows me to share that knowledge. It means a lot to me when the “lightbulbs” come on in class and the content makes sense to participants. This is a rewarding role. The fact that the class participants (business professionals) can apply the content, tools, and techniques immediately to their jobs makes the whole experience very rewarding to me!”
An expert in her field, Barb still wanted to earn her Master’s Certificate in Project Management from the Center for Professional & Executive Development in 2013 to become a better instructor. “No matter what, you can always learn something new. I believe that learning is a lifelong event. I have taken all the programs here in the Master’s Certificate Program. I knew almost all of the content because of my prior work experience, but I wanted to hear how other instructors taught the topic, watch their teaching style, and see what else I could learn from them. Even as an instructor, you can still learn more about the topic you are teaching from the attendees and their work experiences. I didn’t receive formal training to be a professional speaker or an instructor so initially my confidence was low. However, I utilized facilitation skills that I gained through my role as a project manager which created a positive class experience, which raised my confidence.”
Barb encourages professionals of all ages to take opportunities when they arise. “Take every opportunity to network with others in person, whether it is a professional group, a volunteer network, training, conferences, or other events. Looking back over my career and personal life, there were many opportunities that came my way through the personal relationships I built through networking. Take advantage of any opportunity that is presented to you, even if it is something you’ve never done before, is outside your comfort zone, or is challenging and scary. It could start a chain reaction that could take the journey of your life in a different direction and end up so much bigger and better than you could ever have imagined or planned. I believe that a higher power is guiding our destiny and it’s our choice on whether we take it or not.”