MProfiles: Patricia McMullen
For the second installment of our MProfiles series, we spoke with our own Patricia “Patti” McMullen. Patti shared her wisdom on all things VA, professional development, and growing to be more like Leslie Knope.
What did you do prior to joining MPS and what do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Patti: Before I came to MPS, I was pursuing a Master’s Degree at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs. While I was studying there, I worked at the Veterans Affairs medical center in Bloomington doing health research and development work. Outside of work, I happen to be a big trivia fan, love running, and find myself re-watching Parks and Recreation whenever I can.
What would you say to people looking to make a career out of management consulting?
Patti: There are a lot of different areas in which to get involved, and the best way to find your niche is to jump in head first and start exploring what areas pique your interest. At MPS, it’s very easy to navigate your personal interests in relation to your professional client delivery as long as you communicate effectively and work efficiently.
How did you come to find MPS and why did you stay?
Patti: Having worked at the Department of Veterans Affairs in graduate school, my interest to continue working in public service in a new and different location like Washington, D.C. only grew. MPS gave me the ability to continue supporting the VA in a new way. I love working here because of the fluid style of leadership. You’re able to get involved in a lot of different facets of the company beyond your client delivery work as long as you raise your hand and work hard.
You help coordinate the PACE program. Could you describe it briefly for those that may not know all the details surrounding it?
Patti: The PACE program is a 25-week program under what is called PREP which is an ANSI-accredited program. The purpose of the PACE program is to support professional development via weekly coaching sessions and weekly trainings on various different topics. There is a skills evaluation component in which PACE participants present a business case in a written form and in an oral presentation. This process integrates new employees into the federal contracting and consulting world by helping them be prepared and qualified for this industry.
From what you can tell, is there a quality or trait that the most successful PACErs tend to exhibit?
Patti: In my experience, having a drive to demonstrate that you are interested in making a difference for both the clients we work for and for the company as a whole has made for very successful PACE apprentices in the past. MPS isn’t a company where you’re encouraged to coast, so when a PACE apprentice dedicates time and interest into getting involved in various different levels, that indicates someone that can have a lot of success here.
Why do you believe in PACE, and what motivates you to run the program more successfully in the future?
Patti: One of the biggest components of MPS is the overall focus on professional development. And if I can be a part of creating a more engaged workforce and helping employees have satisfaction in their jobs every day, then that’s more than enough of a motivating factor for me to improve the program incrementally every time it is conducted.
What do you hope to achieve in your career that MPS has helped you with so far?
Patti: Initially, I was very set on a career trajectory focused on higher education, and I think working at MPS has allowed me to explore different avenues that I didn’t think were possible for myself previously. One area has been getting involved with psychometric analysis and how that is applied in governments and organizations. The depth that MPS provides to implementing psychometrics into my work every day has been an exciting development that I hope to continue in the future.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future at MPS or what do you hope to see out of the company in the future?
Patti: One area would be to expand into new agencies where there are really great organizations with a lot of opportunities to create new work for our team to do in the future.