Making Your Value Visible as an Agency Project Manager (with Pam Butkowski, Hero Digital)

Galen Low is joined at Hero Digital by Pam Butkowski (VP of Delivery Management). She has spent most of her career working with clients, leading digital project management teams at companies like Wunderman Thompson, AIM Consulting, and The Nerdery. Learn how to make your agency project manager value visible.
Interview Highlights
Pam Butkowski, a digital delivery leader, is passionate about building strong PM and client service teams. She has a strong track-record of building high-performing teams in organizations such as Wunderman Thompson, AIM Consulting, and The Nerdery. Today, she is the VP of Delivery Management at Hero Digital. She hopes to continue her winning streak of building high-performing digital PMs. [0:51]
Pam is a mother, chauffeur, and chauffeur to her two children. She is also an avid golfer and expert wine-shopper. [1:13]
Pam worked for years in the agency industry before moving to consulting. [2:22]
Pam recently joined Hero Digital, and she is now leading the delivery management or project team for the west. [2:33]
Pam began her career as a PM. She worked for a few years in traditional advertising agencies, where she was able to play every role straight out of college. She was on the account side, in public relations, and as a media buyer. She did it all and ended up clicking most as a traffic manager. [3:46]
Pam’s first job as a project manager was at The Nerdery. She began her career as a PM at The Nerdery and quickly rose to a senior role. She had five to six project managers on her team, and that was in 2014, when she began leading teams of PMs. She rose to director and then to VP roles, leading large teams of PMs. [4:25]
Pam’s teams have managed projects ranging from $20,000 campaigns to multimillion dollar products. She had teams of project managers and program managers who worked on $10 million engagements. [5:19]
Pam is a leader of project managers and her leadership style can be described as ‘tough but fair. [6:31]
I enjoy leading my teams in a way that is similar to how I want them to lead clients.
Pam Butkowski Understanding the client’s business is the most important skill a digital project manager can bring to the table. This allows them to be advocates for the client and the agency as well as the team. [9:55]
Pam started by asking questions about the normal timeline scope budget. Then she moved on to scenario questions. This allows Pam to understand their behavior in times of crisis, how they handle difficult decisions, how they work with clients when there’s a weak relationship, and how they can rebuild it. [10:38]
Every project manager has their own way and triggers to recognize that something is wrong.
Pam Butkowski Each PM has a unique sense of humor. Pam analyzed the body language. She looks at JIRA tactically and if something has stayed in one column for more than a day, she digs in. [18:16]
It is up to the PMs to decide which hats they should wear. Pam spent a lot time helping her teams discover their senses. [19:17]
Pam’s favorite training was conflict resolution training. It teaches people how to resolve conflicts and how to lead others through them. Wunderman Thompson was the first to start doing it. Pam made sure that all her PMs went through the Enneagram test. [20:02]
The Enneagram test works in the same way as StrengthsFinder. It’s focused on relationships, how you communicate and how you interact with other Enneagram types. [20:57]
We are missing an important role