Sarah Chen Contributes Her Employment Success to Onward to Opportunity

Sarah Chen, a military spouse at Joint Base San Antonio, recently graduated from IVMF’s Onward to Opportunity program. Thanks to her hard work in the O2O program – even through a pandemic and lockdown – she got hired as a freelance project manager at The Becker Group in May 2020.

Sarah writes:

After I passed the PMP exam, the goal for springtime was to continue to network with O2O and hopefully secure something part-time heading into Summer/Fall that could be potentially portable when we PCS next Summer.

The friends at Hire Our Heroes offered to set me up with a mentoring conversation – another PMP certified project manager – who could speak with me about how she explored opportunities and was eventually hired. We spoke right before the sky fell and the lockdown began. This ACP mentor connected me with her friend who works as a full-time remote project manager out of Argentina where he resides with his girlfriend who’s in school. He hired me!

O2O graduate Sarah ChenI am still astonished this month – even amidst the pandemic and lockdown – even with the children home and homeschooling – that I had the self-confidence to push for professional goals. I decided no I wasn’t going to let fear stop me, and yes, I was capable and qualified, and that yes we are living in the golden age of remote work and “WHY NOT ME?”

O2O program’s flexibility was an initial concern for me. Attending a three-day symposium was tricky because I am the full-time caretaker of my three small children, only two of whom are in school. My mother was able to come down and watch the youngest for me so I could attend the full three days. I am fortunate that I had that option. Completing the remainder of the coursework remotely was truly the only way I could have accomplished the certification. I appreciated the curriculum’s accessibility and had zero technical issues. This enabled me to squeeze the learning into all the cracks of life and provided good milestones for me to work towards.

I went for it. It worked out. The position was sub-contracted, fully remote, and I earned some cash to gain some experience in the industry. That was always the goal. I know you know the challenges that balancing motherhood and working and military life can bring. I wanted to be part of that juggle. So I joined the circus, ha!

A sincere thanks to O2O for investing in me. The time spent in the 3-day workshop was transcendent for me and deeply impactful. It helped give me that jolt of confidence I didn’t realize I so sorely needed. I plan to continue to explore opportunities and set professional goals for myself. Thank you for guiding me through that process. IVMF and O2O’s generous offering to pay for my certification made the difference in my ability to earn my PMP this year and face pandemic unemployment with an industry gold-standard certification!

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