• Varsha

    Solutions for Project Management and other Business Operations ​

  • about me

    Learn a little about who I am

    beyond the resume

    Hi, I’m Varsha...a well-caffeinated trivia-enthusiast, recovering cricket addict, and Very Serious Board Game Player. I'm multilingual and an aspiring polyglot.
     
    I live in Seattle, but grew up in the segregated but vibrant township of Chatsworth, near the sugar plantations on the east coast of South Africa. Part of me still lives there. I’m still deeply attached to the metric system, and firmly believe that the season before winter is called autumn.

    When I’m not spending time with my family, I enjoy hair-raising pursuits like reading, conducting experiments on sugary confections, reading even more, watching only the most cerebral shows on Netflix (like Secret Lives of Bollywood Wives), and challenging assumptions about moms with career breaks.

    Many moons ago, I began my career looking down a microscope, but now I enjoy taking a more macroscopic view of problems to connect all the moving parts. I love streamlining processes, uncovering new and better ways to solve problems, and simplifying complex ideas to make them more intuitive. I believe that just like with projects, continuous improvement can also be applied to personal and professional development.
     
    I'm incredibly passionate about connecting people with opportunity, especially people from vulnerable or marginalized populations who face compounded disadvantages. I believe we're collectively enriched through our varied experiences, and I'd love to work in a place that shares these values.


     

     

     

     

     


     

     

  • education

    BS First Class Honors

    University of Natal

    South Africa
     
    • Biotechnology

    BS

    University of Natal

    South Africa
     
    • Cell Biology
    • Environmental Biology
  • professional development & continued learning

    I'm curious with an unflinching willingness to learn.

    I learn fast, adapt, apply, and solve.

    Google Project Management Professional Certificate
    Google

    A rigorous, hands-on 6-month program with 100+ practical assessments to simulate real-world scenarios, resulting in two inception-to-completion applied learning projects

    Agile with Jira Certificate
     
    Atlassian

     

     

    Using Jira as a tool to perform practical, real-world labs to implement agile principles for project work

    Introduction to Agile Development and scrum certificate
    IBM

    Applying agile concepts of adaptive planning, iterative development, and continuous improvement through realistic scenario-based labs using GitHub & ZenHub

    Scrum Master Certification Specialization
    Learnquest

    Deep understanding of all facets of Scrum

    SAS Visual business Analytics Professional Certificate
    SAS

    Using SAS Visual Analytics to access, manipulate, and analyze data with interactive reports, and to design and share dashboards to visualize data

    Facebook Certified Digital Marketing Associate
    Facebook

    Managed a social media marketing campaign, including analyzing dashboards and measuring data, optimizing campaigns with A/B testing, communicating and presenting results

  • CORE COMPETENCIES

    operational SKILLS

    • Agile Project Management 
    • Scrum 
    • Kanban
    • Project Planning & Scoping 
    • Process Improvement
    • Risk Management  
    • Strategic Communication 
    • Change Management  
    • Stakeholder Analysis 
    • Quality Planning 
    • Data Analysis 
    • Data Visualization

    technical skills & tools

    • Asana 
    • Jira 
    • ZenHub 
    • Microsoft Project 
    • SAS 
    • Excel 
    • Tableau 
    • SQL 
    • HTML/CSS
    • Google Workspace
    • Facebook Ads Manager
    • Labware LIMS

  • personal skills

    strengths

    More details about my personal skills

    Communication » In a noisy world filled with fragments of information, it is important to create stories that resonate with others, and to transform information into compelling narratives. I have created sense from messy information for many projects, which helped to inform and shape decisions. I am knowledgeable about strategic communication, influencing without authority, listening intentionally, negotiating with empathy, and customizing information according to audience interest.

     

    Organization » I like to keep knowledge clean, manageable, transparent, and available. I have fastidious time management skills, can delegate tasks efficiently; and prioritize and process concurrent workflows with a balance of pace and precision.

     

    Collaboration » I observe, and listen to understand. I see the team as the biggest asset, and take time to understand each person’s motivations, strengths and challenges so everyone can move toward a common goal.


    Customer-centricity » I take time to understand customer goals as deeply as possible, build trustworthy relationships, and ensure that their voice is heard.


    Problem-Solving » I always try to ask better questions to define problems correctly, solve the right problem, resist anti-patterns, and avoid mental traps.

     

    Resilience » I've achieved excellent results under time pressure by motivating people to develop a positive attitude under stress, and rebound from setbacks with a "lessons learned" mindset.

    +

    (I Care! » Caring about people builds a positive feedback loop that benefits everyone. I always look for pathways to translate good intentions into intentional action to increase happiness.)

     

     

     

     

     

  • experience

    I have 8 years of work experience in the environmental and biological sciences domain.

    My work bridged my intuition for creative problem-solving with my technical education in science.

    Career Break
    2012-

    Engaged in extensive and immersive volunteer work, informal work, and continuous professional development during career hiatus. Led, co-led or contributed to dozens of school district volunteer projects over the past 10 years, with special emphasis on integrating under-represented children in academic competitions.

     

     

    Environmental Operations Analyst
    bcx, South Africa, 2006-2011

    BCX is a leading technology consulting company in South Africa. Coordinated and supported projects to develop safe, reliable and cost-effective solutions for the mining industry to mitigate environmental risks.

    Program Coordinator - Tree Quality
    CSIR, South Africa, 2002-2006

    CSIR is the preeminent research institute in SA. Reported to the Director of the Forestry Research Program on physical chemistry and molecular biology lab operations, and coordinated the paper quality program, with an increase in sample acceptance rate and reduction in testing time.

  • portfolio

    A Brief Tour of my Work

    Sauce & Spoon restaurant project

    • Sauce & Spoon is the Google Certificate Capstone Project, entailing the rollout of digital tabletop menus at two restaurant locations in order to expedite the ordering process. This project simulated real-world complexities, including analyzing communications to extract key information, evaluating decision-making protocols, mediating conflict, and prioritizing tasks.  
    • The Project Closeout Report is the master document that curates a selection of project artifacts including: the Project Proposal, OKRs, Project Charter, SMART goals, Project Plan with Task Brainstorm, Time Estimation, Domain Research, Quality Standards Criteria, Evaluation Questions, Evaluation Indicators, Survey Questions and Descriptions, Evaluation Findings Presentation, Retrospective Review, Project Impact Report, and much more.

    Office Green plant pals project

    • Office Green is a hypothetical project with the goal of developing an Operations and Training plan to create sustainable fulfillment practices for the new Plant Pals project day-to-day operations.
    • The Project Closeout Report links to extensive project documentation including the Project Plan, Project Charter, Stakeholder Analysis, RACI charts, Gantt Charts, WBS, SOW, Budget Plan, Risk Management Plan, Communications Plan, Operations Status Report, ROAM Analysis etc. Key Agile steps include product backlog with epics, user stories, acceptance criteria, backlog estimation, backlog refinement, time estimation techniques, story point estimation methods, and much more.

    The English Lab

    • I'm passionate about language-learning and strongly believe that access to literacy is a key catalyst for social upliftment. As a lifelong learner, I also feel deeply moved to help others on their learning journeys. The English Lab is my own initiative to deliver access to ESL learning for marginalized communities who have suffered economic displacement due to apartheid policies in South Africa. My website contains my teaching philosophy, teaching purpose, teaching style, my toolbox of pedagogic methods, strategic lesson plans (including tech-ed lesson plans). 

    calla & ivy Social Media Management Project

    • The Facebook Capstone project showcases development of customer personas, mapping a customer journey, capturing requirements to write compelling creative briefs, creating ad campaigns using Facebook Ads Manager, optimizing campaigns with split testing, analyzing data, presenting insights, projecting solutions, and many more concepts to manage projects in the social media / digital marketing domain.
  • faq

    Let’s address the elephant in the room. You have a long career break. Why should I consider you?

    I count my career break as a period of growth that is as important as that of my education and work experience. It gave me an opportunity to explore freely, clarify purpose, discover what I love to do, and expand my skill set.

     

    Why did you leave work?

    I emigrated to the US with an H4 visa during a recession. At the time, it was not legal to work on a H4 visa*, so I decided to pause my career and assumed the primary caregiver role for my family. (*I've since become a US citizen and do not require sponsorship to work).

     

    What are you looking for?

    I'm looking for companies with an inclusive culture that accommodates people with diverse life experiences, including people with nonlinear career trajectories. I'm open to all roles where I can apply my interdisciplinary skills to create impact. This includes internships, returnships, contract roles, part-time or fulltime. I prefer remote work while Covid conditions prevail, but am open to relocation at a later time.


    More questions? Ask me!

  • blog

    Documenting a return-to-work journey with a long career gap + project management perspectives.
    In development.

  • reach out to me

    (OR...

    you can also just enjoy watching this magnificent sea turtle :) )

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