WICE Member Spotlight: Jen Schlegel, Lead Project Manager, National Grid
Welcome to the February 2021 edition of our Member Spotlight, highlighting WICE members around the city and state.
What are your job duties?
As a Lead Project Manager, I am responsible for the planning, delivery, management, and governance of multi-million-dollar capital delivery projects. It is my job to guide and move the projects through engineering, construction, and closeout. Outside of my assigned job tasks, I also provide leadership and clear direction to my project teams and colleagues.
Have you had to overcome adversity in your career?
Throughout my life there have been projects and experiences that challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone. These experiences ranged from studying small mammals in a remote part of the Brazilian Amazon, to conducting interviews with park managers in Zambia, to being the one of the few females on construction sites. All these experiences helped me learn, grow, and gain an appreciation for my own strength and my ability to learn and listen. They also provided the opportunity to see things in very different ways and to be vulnerable, which has allowed me to grow and become a better leader.
How do you balance your work / family life?
It is a mix of a family calendar/work calendar and deep breaths every time it changes (essentially every day). I try to manage my schedule to reflect the balance that I want in my life and I am extremely grateful to have a husband who shares family responsibilities at home. Still, challenging days arise where I, say, volunteered at special reader day at school, but critical meetings at work pop up on my calendar. Sometimes one or the other have the give. I try to communicate to both work and family about obligations, so expectations are clear up front.
What is a piece of advice you’d give your younger self?
There are so many! Stay focused on your values and what fulfills you. Try to keep your work, where you live, your family, your finances, and your activities aligned with those values. Many different opportunities and paths will come and go; if you have your values, it’s easier to navigate those paths. I would also say Be Present. Worry less. Focus on the things that you can control, and the rest is part of life and you can’t spend your energy trying to fix them.
What is your education and work experience?
My educational background includes a B.S. in Environmental Studies from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse and an M.S. degree in Resource Conservation from the University of Montana. My graduate studies brought me to Southern Africa where I focused on the intersection of HIV/AID and protected area management. Following graduate school, I began working in environmental consulting, specializing in environmental compliance in large-scale utility projects. I started working in project management as a consultant and then joined National Grid to continue work on large-scale utility projects.
Who are your role models?
My parents are my primary role models. They are incredible. They taught me to be engaged with my community, be kind, and live a full life. Throughout my childhood, they had me volunteering at church chicken and biscuit lunches, helping with Rotary tree sales, and many other things. I attribute my work ethic to my parents; they always taught me to push myself to work hard and do the best that I can do. It meant taking challenging classes, having two jobs, and now it means supporting and loving my kids. They showed me how to be a full person who can be vulnerable as a leader and be comfortable with all my strengths and weaknesses. They consistently provide good perspective on life and remind me that life moves in phases and there are things to be grateful for every day.
What book are you currently reading?
The Body by Bill Bryson
We thank Jen for her candor answering our questions. If you are interested in being highlighted in this series on our blog, please contact WICE Communications and Marketing Manager, Erin Gryniak, at email@example.com.