Peggy Billhartz Promotes Peace of Mind through Project Management
Peggy Billhartz, PMP, can juggle, but not with rubber balls. What she keeps in the air and in perpetual motion are her many activities and responsibilities, both on the job and off. Her secret is project management.
One “ball” that this resident of Chatham, Illinois, USA never drops is her annual donation to PMI Educational Foundation. “I believe I’ve been donating just about every year since I became a member of PMI in 2005,” says Peggy. Her memory serves her well; she began donating in 2006 and has never missed a year since.
The motivating factor for her giving is the educational outreach that PMIEF offers. “I am impressed that PMIEF is able to go into schools and teach the principles of project management to children. I hope that the money I donate will help support that effort, and widen the net. I’d like to see more young people gain these skills for life.”
Peggy says most students—most people, actually—do not see their own life as a project. “But it is the most important one they’ll ever undertake,” she comments. “Every day is a project for a student; they must manage their time, homework, academics, sports, other extracurricular activities, and chores at home. If they can learn project management for those tasks, they can later extend those management skills to their work, careers, home budgets, family obligations—their entire lives.”
A senior business analyst, Peggy earned her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification in 2005, then a requirement of her employment with Fox Systems, Inc., now known as Cognosante, where she has been employed for 14 years. With associate degrees in data processing and supervisory business management, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a specialization in management information systems, Peggy has worked on both the project management and hands-on sides of her work team.
In addition to her education and career that have encompassed project management, Peggy says she is a highly organized person by nature, which allows her to juggle so many undertakings outside of the workplace. Though she prefers a paper planner to an online calendar, and opts out of Smartphone ownership (“…I don’t like the apps that track and create an invasion of privacy…”), she is able to handle multiple endeavors as the extremely active person she is. “I am president of a church group that does a lot of fundraising for mission work in the forms of an annual pancake and sausage breakfast, a mostaccioli dinner, and an art and craft fair—each even being a project in itself,” she notes happily. “I am also director of church retreats, and each weekend retreat is a project to be planned. I’m an active life member of the Catholic War Veterans Auxiliary, and have served on the board of my homeowners association for 10 years, as president for two years. If it were not for my project management skills I might feel overwhelmed.” Indeed, Peggy believes project management has improved the quality of her life by allowing optimum participation and exercise of leadership skills, with a minimum of stress.
“Most things in our lives are project related. If we can help educate kids earlier to this fact, it will help them throughout the processes of growing up, education, and life itself. In less-developed countries, where there are fewer resources, project management can help people maximize their existing resources and live a better life, with less conflict, less stress, and greater peace of mind.”
It is exactly those benefits of a less-stressful existence and a higher quality of life that Peggy believes project management can bring to the world. She believes project managers have a social responsibility to share that gift with others however they can. And she chooses to do it with a check.