Interview with Brantlee Underhill


Interview with Brantlee Underhill

Managing Director, North America
Project Management Institute (PMI)

Interviewed by Ipek Sahra Ozguler
International Correspondent
Istanbul, Turkey

Introduction to interviewee

Brantlee Underhill serves as Managing Director, North America at Project Management Institute (PMI), the world’s leading professional association for the global community of project professionals and changemakers. In her more than 20 years at PMI, Brantlee has led chapter and volunteer leadership development, creating greater value and engagement opportunities for PMI members around the globe. In her current role, Brantlee is responsible for the North American business plan and performance. Brantlee holds a bachelor’s degree in German, Russian and political science from West Chester University, and she is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) through the American Society of Association Executives.


Ipek Sahra Ozguler (Ozguler):  First of all, thank you for accepting an interview request from PMWJ. To get us started, can you tell us a bit about why education is important to you?

Brantlee Underhill (Underhill):        Thank you for having me. I’m motivated by education in a few ways. That includes being curious to learn, to find connections, and to achieve some type of outcome. I discovered this in my teenage years when I had the opportunity to learn a foreign language in junior high school, and I was so delighted to learn German. My grandfather was of German descent, so that made me feel more connected to my heritage.  And we got pen pals and got to take a school trip to Germany (hence the outcome or reward!). I continued to study language throughout college and eventually paired language with political science, thinking I would work in Washington D.C. after graduation. Instead, I found an opportunity with a global not-for-profit membership organization where I interact with people from all around the world to advocate for their profession. I know that every step of my education and my choices led me to where I am today.

Also, my son is currently in elementary school, so I have a vested interest in education and his experience within the education system — in addition to those who are now growing up in his generation. And during these pandemic times, it certainly is interesting, disruptive, frightening, and exciting all at once.

Ozguler:        What are the biggest challenges students face in a virtual learning environment, and how can project management skills help them overcome those challenges?

Underhill:     One of the biggest challenges students face in a virtual learning environment is difficulty with managing their time. Some distractions can easily impede a student’s ability to focus on schoolwork at home, including family, pets, cell phones, and other devices and distractions. Additionally, some students may lack a designated quiet area to work in, resulting in difficulty getting into a routine and following a structured plan without a teacher in the room to guide them. These factors result in students struggling to manage their time and work seamlessly in an environment that was so drastically different from what they were used to when they were physically in the classroom with their teacher and peers.

Ozguler:     What new skills have students taken away from learning in a virtual environment, and how can they be applied when students return to in-person learning?


To read entire interview, click here

How to cite this work: Ozguler, I.S. (2021). Interview with Brantlee Underhill, PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue X, October. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/pmwj110-Oct2021-Ozguler-interview-with-Brantlee-Underhill.pdf

About the Interviewer

Ipek Sahra Ozguler

Istanbul, Turkey


Ipek Sahra Ozguler graduated from the Istanbul University, Turkey with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering and from Middle East Technical University, Turkey with an MSc degree in Software Management. As a project manager, she has more than 13 years of experience in various areas such as portfolio management, program management, project management, software management, business analysis. She became a certified PMP in 2012 and a certified SCRUM Master in 2014.

She has gained broader insights in a variety of projects across manufacturing, defence, FMCG (Cola Cola), insurance (Euler Hermes), audit (Deloitte), telecommunication, aviation and finance sectors. In addition, she has been working as an international correspondent for the PM World Journal since 2014.

Ipek is the creator and editor of the highly acclaimed book, The Perspective of Women Project Management Professionals, interviews with leading female PM experts and professionals around the world. The book was published in March 2020 and is available here.

Ipek is based in Istanbul,Turkey and can be contacted at ipeksahra@gmail.com. Her portfolio is published at the http://ipeksahra.strikingly.com/ and https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/ipek-sahra-ozguler/.