Archive for the ‘PM for the “20-Something” Crowd’ Category

Traditional Higher Education – Is It Really Worth It?

Friday, December 10th, 2010
Traditional Higher Education – Raising the Price by a Factor of 3 Has Some Young People wondering if it’s Really Worth it.
For Immediate Release

London England, December 10, 2010

While students are rioting in the streets and protesting the government hike on college tuition rates by a factor of three, young entrepreneur, Bernhard Peters , sits in his Chiswick flat and wonders why people even bother with traditional education anymore.  Considering that in the US, 1/3 of new graduates find themselves unemployed months and years after they complete four to five years of grueling, and often irrelevant education, does it really make that much sense to go this route?

Peters recently joined Cheetah Learning , a US based company with licensees worldwide, as their CFO in training. He jumped on board after seeing his fiancé’s cousin earn his Certified Associates in Project Management (CAPM) from Cheetah.  This cousin just wasn’t that intrigued by what he was doing in college.  Tiring of the endless stream of boring college classes for which he saw no value, he left. To placate his parents, he enrolled in Cheetah Learning’s online Project Management Fundamentals Certificate program. In six short weeks, he earned a globally recognized certification in project management. In another six weeks, his company promoted him to run a new product line and he converted his entry level $30,000 a year job to a $65,000 a year position. In his first year as a CAPM, he helped grow a brand new product line from nothing to over $400,000 in sales!

Peters, part of the “boomerang generation,” was sold on Cheetah’s innovative approach and wanted to be part of this fun and fast moving company. After leaving the standard “new hire, right-out-of-college” job as an auditor for a large accounting firm when his fiancée made a career move to London, he found it hard to get another professional position with an exciting career path.  Knowing the CEO of Cheetah due to their shared interests in gourmet cooking, she offered him the position as CFO in training, which he immediately recognized as a fantastic fit.  The entrepreneurial nature and opportunities presented by Cheetah Learning were an exhilarating breath of fresh air!

So there are very viable alternatives in the market place to attain education that really does get you ahead – and FAST! They aren’t your traditional routes, but then we aren’t living in a very traditional world anymore, are we?

Links for Additional Information

About Cheetah Learning

Over 50,000 people have gone through Cheetah Learning’s classroom and online Project Management programs around the world over the past decade. Cheetah Learning was founded in 1999 by entrepreneur Michelle LaBrosse, PMP. LaBrosse was recognized by the Project Management Institute as one of the most influential woman in Project Management worldwide. In 2008, the Project Management Institute named Cheetah Learning the Professional Development Provider of the year (a highly prestigious award in a filed of over 1600 Registered Education Providers in Project Management).

For More Information Contact

Cheetah Learning

Rita Soto

503 N. Division Street

Carson City, NV 89703


How Powerful is a Cup of Joe?

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

How much difference can a warm cup of coffee make in your day? If you are a habitual coffee drinker, you know the positive effect coffee can have- the aroma of it in the morning, the gurgling of the coffee maker as it slowly and patiently prepares a pot of the dark and alluring liquid, the pure joy that courses through you when you take that first satisfying sip. Ok, as you perhaps can tell, I love my cup of joe in the morning.

Imagine now that you are far from home- far from the familiar, without your family or your usual friends for support. How much would a cup of coffee mean to you then?

Cheetah Learning found out last week when we committed a day to Support Our Troops through donating funds to Green Beans Coffee, a company that is dedicated to supporting the troops of the United States military by providing coffee, tea, and other beverages in an inviting environment so that soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines can have some time to relax and feel at home.

While we at Cheetah Learning knew that our contribution to Green Beans Coffee would be put to good use, we didn’t quite understand the impact that it would have on soldiers until we started to receive thank you notes back from folks who had received our cup of coffee along with a note of gratitude from us.

I am going to share some of those quotes here in hopes that if you are reading this, you will know just how powerful a cup of coffee can be.


“To the Patriots at Cheetah Learning, Thank you so much for your support. You and your employees are an example of what makes Americia such a unique place. I will enjoy my cup of coffee and think of all of you. Despite the 120 degree temperatures in Baghdad, nothing beats a great cup of coffe in the morning. Thanks for your support…”


“Thank you so much for your generosity. I have been overwhelmed by the support of the American citizens who donate to this. Something as small as a cup of coffee and a kind letter is a HUGE morale booster when you are miles away from home, family, and friends. Your gift is truely appreciated…”


“Good Friends at Cheetah Learning — Thank you so very much for your kind thoughts and support. An occasional Green Beans coffee or latte in the morning is a true comfort treat that reminds me of home and the morning Starbucks run on the way to work 🙂 (except here there are no sky scrapers and a lot of desert) The Soldiers here appreciate your support more than you know. Thank you again…”


“…I don’t know if I am elated because of your gratitude or because you thought of my career beyond the military. I am a proud citizen Soldier-reservist and I am always looking to expand my horizons. I will definitely look into Cheetah Learning and share this information with my fellow Soldiers. Thanks for remembering us and letting us know that folks other than our families care about us…”


“…My sincere thanks for your thoughts and Cup of Joe – little things out here make a big difference and the occasional decent cup of coffee goes a long way. I’m actually a submarine Commander in a land centric appointment (good broadening I’m told) normally specializing in project management with my last major project as Project Manager for the Refit of HMS Victorious. I’m always looking to update my PM skills so will look into what course you have on offer. Once again, many thanks and all the best…”


“Cheetah Learning, Thank you so very much for this sweet gesture! I am a true coffee fanatic and I look forward to my cup of coffee every day. Your support means so much to us over here and it is for people like ya’ll that we serve. Thank you again so much…”


“Cheetah Learning: Thank you for your generosity and your thoughtfulness…. My home and family are back in Nebraska and I plan to be back there around the beginning of November. There are not many luxuries here but one thing that I look forward to a couple times a week is going to the Green Bean and having a good cup of coffee. Next time I’m there I’ll be thinking of your generous gift while I’m enjoying my “Cup of Joe”. Blessings…”


“…Thank you for being supportive to us Troops, it means alot! And yes, the Cup of Joe is definitely a warm reminder of home; so it too is greatly appreciated! It really helps us to continue our days away from home knowing that other people are in support of what we do…Thank you again for being supportive to us..This Soldier is truly honored to serve for our wonderful Country. May you and your family be blessed… Truly…”


Find out how you too can donate a cup of coffee and brighten someone’s day at Green Beans Coffee.

Thanks For Reading,


Cheetah Run- Part III- Phoenix

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Dr. Laurie Marker at the Cheetah Learning booth

The Cheetah Conservation Fund’s mission is to work with all stakeholders within the cheetah’s ecosystem to develop best practices in research, education and ecology and create a sustainable model from which all other species, including people, will benefit.”

We had our third, and final (for this year!), Run Ror the Cheetah event in Phoenix, AZ this last weekend. This event topped off our Cheetah run adventures very nicely with yet another group of wonderful volunteers and runners. We were invited to a bag stuffing party with the volunteer group the evening before the race, and were offered tasty food and delicious wine that had been specially created to provide funds for the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF).  Together, we successfully stuffed 750 gift bags for the runners.

Even though we stuffed 750 gifts bags- more people showed up on race day than expected. This delayed race time- but lifted spirits.

We were especially excited to discover that Dr. Laurie Marker, who founded the CCF in 1990, would be attending the Phoenix event. Dr. Marker has won numerous awards in the past for her expansive humanitarian and conservationist efforts. This year Dr. Marker was awarded the prestigious 2010 Tyler Environmental Prize because of her excellent conservationist leadership abilities and the real progress that she is making through environmental restoration.

CCF's Livestock Guarding Dog program has been saving Cheetahs in Namibia since 1994

It was interesting to learn that the Cheetah Conservation Fund focuses on many different aspects related to the Cheetah’s survival, such as the Bushblok Project which aims at removing an invasive bush that is destroying the Cheetahs habitat, while at the same time creating jobs for the Namibian people. CCF also protects Cheetahs by placing Livestock Guarding Dogs to help farmers keep Cheetahs away from their livestock without having to resort to guns.

Meeting Dr. Marker was very inspirational. Her conviction and passion for this cause brought people of all ages together to support an animal that lives halfway around the world in Africa.   Dr. Marker made that cause, and that passion, real and relevant for every volunteer and runner that was present.

A Cheetah enthusiast. She is making a difference.

I’d also like to give a big THANK YOU to Claudia for organizing this event, and a thanks to the entire group of volunteers for making the Run for the Cheetah- Phoenix, such a memorable experience. Find out how you too can help at the Cheetah Conservation Fund website.

The earth is not ours; it is a treasure we hold in trust for future generations.

Thanks for reading,


Cheetah Run- Part II- in the Windy City

Monday, April 12th, 2010

"Did you know...."

"Did you know... "

This weekend, Cheetah Learning participated in the second part of the three-piece series of the Cheetah Conservation Fund sponsorship (Including a run in Portland, Chicago, and Phoenix) – The Run for the Cheetah, Chicago style.

This had been my first time to visit Chicago, and while we experienced some of the tourist’s “must-dos”, such as a boat tour down the Chicago River and into Lake Michigan (I would like to give a shout out to our fantastic tour guide, Mallory- you rocked!), and indulged in mouth watering Chicago Pizza (Pizano’s Pizza and Pasta would be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a perfect world…), the highlight of our trip by far was the Run for the Cheetah event that we participated in this past Sunday.

"...That there are only about 12,000 Cheetah's Alive Today?"

"...That there are only about 12,000 Cheetah's Alive Today?"

My coworker, Miquette, and I arrived at the race early to set up our Cheetah Learning stand-up signs and to register for the 5k race. As we set up our signs, we realized that the windy city would not be gentle on us – our large “stand-up” signs refused to… stand-up. We put our MacGyver hats on, and after using some skillfully tied balloon strings, which were strategically anchored to anything that was static- we managed to have semi upright signs that only swayed slightly in the gusts of wind. Chicago has rightfully earned its name, “The Windy City”.

The Chicago group of Cheetah Runners was a massive conglomerate of gusto, exuberance, and Cheetah face paint. From small children to… not so small “children” ;-), everyone was there to have a good time, and to support a very good cause.

"... That Cheetah's can run over 60 mpg?"

"... That Cheetah's can run over 60 mph?"

"...And that YOU can help get them off of the Endangered Species List?"

There were signs posted throughout the race that displayed facts about the Cheetah, and reminded us of why the run was so important.  My takeaway from this event is an ever growing conviction that a few people can make a significant and important difference in this world when motivation is combined with action.

Thank you Kris and Jayne for organizing this event, thanks to the entire group of volunteers and sponsors of the Run for the Cheetah- Chicago, for making this event ROCK! Find out how you too can help at the Cheetah Conservation Fund website, and come visit us at the Cheetah Run in Phoenix.

Thanks for reading,


Run for the Cheetah’s

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

This past weekend Cheetah Learning went to Portland,   Oregon to support our fellow Cheetah’s- and we’re not talking about the fast paced career savvy folks that take our Cheetah Learning courses and move on to conquer the word.

We’re talking about another type of Cheetah, the kind that runs at speeds of 70 mph, the most specialized member of the cat family, and the kind that are now endangered due to a population decline of at least 30% in the past 18 years.

Why have Cheetah’s become endangered? The reason that the Cheetah population has lowered so drastically is threefold:

  • Human encroachment
  • Shortage of prey sources due to human hunting
  • Increased deaths of cheetah cubs due to predation by lions, hyenas, and other carnivores that are

What is being done to reverse population decline?

  • Education for live stock farmers about how to reduce cheetah/livestock interaction
  • Teaching farmers how to avoid conflict by monitoring breeding schedules.
  • Teaching farmers to use dogs to protect livestock rather than guns.
  • Promoting stronger enforcement anti-poaching laws and habitat restoration

How can you help? Visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund site to see how you can help.

In an effort to help reverse the cheetah population decline, Cheetah Learning sponsored the Portland Run for the Cheetah, and will be sponsoring the Chicago (April 11th) and the Phoenix (April 25th) Run for the Cheetah events.

Our experience at the Portland Cheetah Run was very exciting. We arrived at the run at 6am sharp to a pitch-black field and a downpour of rain. We found our very cheery Cheetah Run host’s in rain jackets and sipping warm java, and ready to help us set up our booth.

I ran in the 8k run, which helped to warm me up and get me energized on that chilly morning. The run took us by a river, and twice around the Portland International Raceway, and brought us back along the river to a finish line full of cheering cheetah supporters.

As the morning went on, the clouds became less ominous and there was soon just a small drizzle. We couldn’t have asked for a better crowd there, from enthused Cheetah activist to little tykes in cheetah jump suites, the mood was cheerful and upbeat throughout the morning.

We look forward to the next event – Chicago here we come!

Celebrate Alfred Hitchcock Day- the PM Way

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Projects come in all sizes and forms, but sometimes a project experience can be a complete nightmare. How can we prevent reruns of horror movie projects?  One of the best ways to avoid PM Horror is to learn from others past mistakes, so that we can pull from a collective lessons learned and increase our chances of having a successful project and avoiding common (or not so common) pitfalls that can lead to project disaster.

To help celebrate Alfred Hitchcock Day, which is this Friday, March 12th, we at Cheetah Learning are taking a collection of PM Horror Stories. If you have a PM Horror story that you would like to share, please go to our PM Horror page to find out how you can participate. Just by entering your story, you will automatically receive 5% off all Cheetah courses or Certificate Programs.  You will also be entered to win free PDU courses. We will post the stories (only the stories of the people who AGREE to share on this blog) here on to increase the project management communities collective lessons learned.

Cheetah Learning would like to wish you a PM Horror Free Day!

Thanks for reading,


Drive to Completion Creates Success for Kyle Fossman

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

Kyle's Drive to Completion in Every Element of His Life Brings Him The Rewards of Success.

Kyle's Drive to Completion in Every Element of His Life Brings Him The Rewards of Success.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers – he points out the key to success for any professional is spending at least ten thousand hours honing their craft.   Many people feel success is about “luck.”   Now this is a “feeling” – not a thought, not backed up by anything concrete.   Success is far and away about dedication and this “drive to completion” that successful people have is an embedded part of who they are.   The question that Malcolm Gladwell poses – is this level of dedication something that each of us can attain, or do we have some factors of “luck” that create a better situation for one person than another?

In Kyle’s situation – Kyle and his family created their own luck.   Kyle is the star basketball player for this small town, Haines, Alaska – being named the statewide MVP his sophomore year by bringing in the only state championship title in basketball the town has ever had.  In Gladwell’s Outlier’s book, he points out that most athletes are born in January. Kyle’s birthday is in November. He wasn’t born into a famous athletic family, didn’t live in a school district that was known for it’s sports prowess, didn’t have any of the precursors to “success” outlined in Gladwell’s book. Kyle’s “luck” is from consistent hard work and a drive to succeed that is palpable throughout his life (he is the Valedictorian of his high school class as well). Kyle just signed on with the division 2 basketball program at University of Alaska, Anchorage.  In 2008, UAA was ranked #4 in Division 2, had a winning season of 18 wins and 6 losses and made it to the final four of the NCAA tournament. Another good score for Kyle Fossman.

As Gladwell points out in his book Outliers, for young people to be successful in sports, they have to get more time on the court.   Kyle’s family went to extraordinary measures to insure that happened.   They spent thousands of hours coaching his high school team, found all types of opportunities for him around the country to play in leagues during the off season.  And all summer long, you can see Kyle running “Cemetary Hill” near his home in Haines, wearing a weight harness so he gets a more rigorous workout.   When 75% of the population from age 17 – 24 is unfit for military service, this shows a dedication that not many young people will undertake these days.

My deepest congratulations to the Fossman family and to Kyle – this success is not about luck.  It’s a testament to their hard work, dedication, and drive to completion.

First Day of Cooking School

Thursday, November 5th, 2009
Carey and I learn how to boil Italian water at cooking school.

Carey and I learn how to boil Italian water at cooking school.

Well, it is now the fourth day of cooking school, and I am just getting around to writing in the blog about the first day of school.  They keep us busy here from early morning to late at night.   Mostly in EATING.   Yes I am learning quite a bit about Italian cooking – which I am coming to find out is as much about selecting the correct ingredients and enjoying a fine meal as it is about cooking.   The Italians are very passionate about their food.  More than five hours every day is devoted to meals.   This explains why I am having to play late night catch up on the blog.

Oddly enough with all this attention on eating, my pants are getting looser, while many of my classmates are having the opposite problem.   WOW what does that say about my eating habits at home?   A big part of the Italian cooking class is also learning how to consume wine with every meal and not get too inebriated.   I unfortunately am allergic to alcohol.  So while most of my classmates are getting a good number of calories from the wine, I am just doing the tasting meals.  Which is lots of little portions.   And lots of time in between.  Slow eating, over a couple of hours, small quantities of food and LOTS of walking in between time.  That explains it all.

Overall the experience with Academia Barilla in Parma has been fantastic.  My classmates are primarily woman – most over 40.  Two brought their husbands.  The rest came with friends or solo.   It’s a group of woman who love to cook and have a great time.   The laughter has been non-stop.   What I love even more about it – I am NOT IN CHARGE.   If there is a problem, it is someone else’s to solve.  (I did have to get one of my classmate’s computers to work on the internet – but as a volunteer it didn’t matter if I succeeded at that or not).

We spent the first day in a lecture where we learned about the quality certifications on the foods produced in Parma and how to distinguish the real thing from the fakes produced all over the world.  Very insightful education.   Sounds like the food industry has the same problems the Project Management industry has with people presenting knock offs as just as good as the real thing (non-certified PMs vs. PMPs).   Then we went to their incredible kitchen classroom.   We were in groups of four working on the recipes for a five course meal.  For every two groups, we had a dedicated chef to help us.   One of the woman in our group was trained at Cordon Bleu (what she was doing in this class for untrained folks was beyond me).   I learned “knife” skills the first day. by our in group “expert.”   The Academia Barilla chef, Nicola, seemed fine with my knife skills but taught me some  techniques if I wanted to try something new.   I preferred his approach.   After almost 40 years of cooking,  I wasn’t doing everything wrong with the knife.  I learned more about group interaction styles and what approaches work well in a team and what don’t more than I learned about knife skills from our group’s self proclaimed expert.

One of the other woman taught me how she chops up rosemary – never really had given much thought to how I chopped up rosemary or that it even needed to be chopped.  But then she explained all the different ways she used chopped rosemary with cooking her own beef as well.  We became good friends fast – a fellow cattle woman.   Now we’re exchanging stories on installing windmills.  Maybe we woman who love to cook and are willing to travel to Italy to learn more, have more in common than we realize.   And since I am not the teacher in this group – I am allowed to have favorites.  Mary Jimmy is one of my favorites – she is an emergency room nurse.  If I ever find myself in need of an emergency room nurse near the Jack Daniels distillery in Tennessee, I will be in good hands at her hospital.  I think we need to write the definitive guide to cooking an entire cow.

I’ve made lots of other friends in class as well.   An elegant woman who on a wing and a prayer made a dramatic life change to follow her heart and start her life over in San Diego – she was as beautiful as she was gutsy.   Another was  a recently widowed full of life woman from LA.  And then there was the truffle loving  veterinarian who took copius notes.  I became fast friends with “Mom and Dad” – a recently liberated couple who sold their chain of hotels.  And by the end of the week was discussing entreprenurial opportunities with this spit fire mom-preneur from Georgia who was on the trip with her Mom.   I also got to know  two wonderful employees from Sur La Table (good move sending those two to this class).  When we reconnect with each other back in the states – at least we know we can all cook.

I’ll write more tomorrow – it’s almost 1 AM and we’re taking a boat to some island to try out various olive oils tomorrow.

Value of Project Management- Now a Quantifiable Study

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

By Kristen LaBrosse, CAPM

The real value of project management is not just a general consensus among professionals within the project management industry, but has been proven in a quantifiable study.

Everyone who is experienced in the Project Management industry knows the value of a PMP certification. You can sense it in the increased communication and efficiency of the project team, feel it in improved productivity in the day-in-day-out tasks, and see it in the cost savings strategies implemented and in the improved bottom line figures. But what is the real value to organizations of using a Project Management Professional and implementing PM industry standards to their projects?

In pursuit of answering this very question, PMI commissioned a three-year study on the “Value of Project Management” that looked at over 60 case studies from projects in various industries and around the globe in order to ascertain benchmarks for companies to calculate the ROI when they implement industry standard project management programs. 

A quote by Edwin J. Anders, PHD, director of Academic and Education Programs & Services at PMI, encapsulates the importance of this study very well:

“The Value of Project Management research findings have attracted special interest at our fifth biennial research conference.  This is the most definitive research ever commissioned to study the value of the implementation of project management.  The findings are expected to quantify that project, program, and portfolio managers are making significant contributions to organizations by implementing standardized project management programs to deliver projects and programs on time and within budget.  Full report findings will be published and released in October.”

This video provides an overview of the Value of Project Management study. The report not only describes the value add that Project Management Professionals provide, but also the negative effects of the lack of investment in PM development. The takeaway of his study has been deemed worthy for review by both Project Managers and Executive leaders alike in order to improve Project Management investment decision-making.

Part of this reports talks about the need for focus on continuously adding value within organizations. Companies who stop focusing on value, or think that they may be “done” with investing in PM development, have the history of actually destroying value within their organization. A continuous focus on actively providing value is crucial in order to maintain a viable company, let along a thriving one.

So what can you take away from reviewing this Value of Project Management Report? Perhaps a different view of how your own organization conducts projects, and a better idea of why an increased focus on investing in the professional development of Project Managers can add quantifiable value and results. 

Thanks for reading,


Spotlight on CAPM Certification- IT PAYS!

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Kristen LaBrosse, CAPM 

I recently sat down with Sarah, a 26-year-old professional who works as an Administrative Assistant at a Financial Firm in San Diego, to ask her about her recent promotion to a Project Manager. Sarah was ready for a change in her career, and saw the opportunity for growth within her company in the project management field, so she decided to take Cheetah’s Exam Prep for the CAPM®
 Online Program to help reach her goals.  After the 3-weeks course, Sarah sat for the CAPM exam, passed, and received a promotion and a pay raise one week later.

In an interview with Sarah, I discovered why she decided to obtain her CAPM, and how she benefited from this certification instantaneously.

Q: Prior to obtaining your CAPM certification, what was your job title?

A: I had been an Administrative Assistant for 2 years.

Q: Post CAPM certification, what is your job title, and did your salary change?

A: One week after I obtained my CAPM certification I landed a job as a Project Manager and receive a 20% salary increase. 

Q: “Do you think that obtaining your CAPM has given you a hand up in your career?”

A: “Absolutely- my company is coming around to the formal PM processes, so being CAPM certified shows that I’m taking the initiative to hop on that band wagon and willing and ready for that change. Also, I didn’t have much PM experience and am trying to get my foot in the door, so taking this test showed my imitative and that I am a self-starter. It’s an great resume builder and you learn all the fancy PM jargon to boot.”

Q: What are your long-term career goals? Do you think obtaining your CAPM was a good stepping-stone in achieving these goals? And if so, how, and if not, why?

A: My dream job in 5 years is to be a successful contractor running larger than life projects.  My dream job in 10 years is to be a contractor running larger than life INTERNATIONAL projects.  I have to start somewhere- and the CAPM seemed the most logical. 

Q: What steps would you recommend other Administrative assistance take if they wished to pursue a career in PM? 

A: Put yourself out there! Tell your boss and your teams that you want to get into PM and that you want to start taking on projects and shadowing them on larger projects.  I am so grateful that so many people at my company were more that willing to give me projects and mentor me along the way.  I’d tell them to show the initiative by taking classes, reading the books, joining PMI and going after the CAPM.


Thank you Sarah for sharing your success story with us.  

If you are interesting in finding out more about the CAPM certification, please contact me at, and check out our  PM Fundamentals Certifcate Program where you can learn the basics of Project Management and obtain your CAPM certification, and get 5% off when you use promotional code CAPMsmart09


Thanks for Reading,