A day in the life: Website project manager

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It's hard to know what a job is really like until you actually do it. And with an increasing number of job titles and roles emerging in the sector, it's sometimes unclear what people do each day in their particular role. What skills do they use most often and how do they spend the bulk of their time? What are the biggest challenges in their work? And what would they do differently to prepare for such a position, knowing what they know now? CharityVillage®'s A Day in the Life series gives you a glimpse into the working lives of people working in a range of different jobs in the nonprofit sector.

This month we introduce you to.....

Name: Marlowe Filippov

Organization: Community Foundations of Canada

Size: 15 - 20 staff, including part-time and contract

Job Title: Website Project Manager

Education: Honours B.A. English Literature, Religious Studies

Previous Jobs and Related Activity: I began my career as an administrative assistant (more colloquially referred to as "miscellaneous other") at the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies and then at the Community Foundations of Canada. After hours, I am treasurer for the Ottawa branch of the Center for Inquiry.

Key Responsibilities: My most obvious responsibility is to maintain and add to our websites. In addition, I provide support for our internal online project management software and membership database. I work on the IT Strategy team, edit videos, lay out our biweekly eNewsletter, and help out in any other way I can.


8:00 a.m. Check email and voicemail messages
8:30 a.m. Small or pressing tasks that have come through the morning's messages, such as small changes to the website, tech support for members using our online collaboration system, or updates to our membership directory.
9:30 a.m. Meet with head of Communications for a status update and to plan next actions
10:00 a.m. Prepare Vital Signs website to receive new pages when they come in
11:30 a.m. Lunch
12:00 p.m. Create "How To" cheatsheets for staff when using new programs
1:00 p.m. Lay out eNews and prepare for delivery
3:00 p.m. Prepare proposal for IT Strategy team

I Spend Most of My Time... It?s perhaps surprising that, as the IT person, I end up spending so much of my time communicating with people. Most of my time is spent working with our staff and members, helping them to troubleshoot problems they are having, or collaborating with my co-workers on projects. That means a lot of time on the phone and even more time on email.

Three Common Challenges: The greatest challenge is providing professional and useful resources to our members with minimum expense. It takes a lot of creativity around the office to figure out how we can reuse resources we already have instead of buying new ones. My greatest invention: notepads made out of the backs of envelopes stapled together!

Because my work is the final stage of "production," I am often waiting for content from others. I end up spending some of my time working on side projects or long-term, low-priority projects that I can easily put aside when needed. When the content does arrive, though, there tends to be a lot of it and we?re often close to our deadlines. This makes my day unpredictable, to say the least!

Personally, a big challenge has come from the fact that I am self-taught and lack some of the background that most people in my position would have. This means that I end up spending a lot of my free time researching ways to solve the problems I encounter.

Most Rewarding Moments: Working on the Vital Signs website. It?s a huge project and it takes over our lives for several weeks leading up to the release of the report. My most rewarding moment is the morning of release when everything goes live for the first time and we can all take a moment to breathe our collective sigh of relief...right before we get to work on the media blitz that follows!

Recommended Education to Get this Job: Some technical courses and experience with graphic design would both be very useful. Because it?s a field that never stops evolving, be prepared to continue educating yourself.

Knowing What I Know Now: It's important to cultivate the habit of always thinking about ways to accomplish goals more efficiently and more cost-effectively. Value learning in all areas of your life and work to master new skills, both in and out of your job description. The most important thing is to always, always, love what you do!

Help others with their career research and choices by sharing information about what you do. If you would like to be featured in A Day in the Life, please contact us at editor@charityvillage.com.

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