Ask Project Manager Derek Schmitz what he loves about his job, and he’ll say: “My passion is in really understanding my clients, and helping their users make the most of their tools.”
As a Unified Communications (UC) Project Manager, Derek is always aiming to deliver excellent client experiences and to drive client satisfaction. His job encompasses every aspect of making projects successful: from customer workshops to layout project design, status meetings to discuss project goals and tasks, to behind the scene tasks like telephony user management and porting requests.
Derek hasn’t always been a UC Project Manager with us. His career at the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd. has evolved since he arrived 5 years ago. We met with him to find out more about his evolution within the business and his ambitions for the future.
Q. What does it mean to you to work for the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd.?
I love where we’re at as an organization. Especially in these difficult times, we are helping our customers to connect and collaborate, and to hopefully succeed with their business goals.
Q. You’ve noted in your video that you moved jobs several times while working here. What’s helped you most on your career journey?
Having management who’ve given me the chance to develop my skills. And who’ve provided support when it’s been needed. I’d say these have been the most important aspects.
Q. Your LinkedIn profile shows that you’ve been managing client relationships for quite a while. When did you realize this was the career path you wanted to follow?
I started my professional life as an Account Manager and in this role I discovered how much I enjoyed helping customers and managing relationships. I found it a very sales focused role, which was fine, but quite reactive. Soon, I realized that what I wanted to do was be in front of clients and proactively drive those relationships. All my roles at the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd. have allowed me to do that.
Q. Can you share a story with us from your time working here?
One of the most memorable projects I have worked on was with our client Jensen Hughes. The project was led by Alexandra Wassenaar and I was the Change Management lead. There were lots of challenges along the way, but we had an outstanding relationship with the client, The project was a great success and our work made for a great case study. This was used as part of our submission for the Microsoft Partner of the Year awards and it was one of my proudest moments with the company when we were selected as Microsoft Intelligent Communications Partner of the Year. It was a huge team effort across the whole company, but to be part of something as important like this was really fulfilling.
Q. What advice would you give for someone who wants to follow a career like yours?
Always put yourself in the client’s shoes and always be upfront and honest with them about what they are trying to achieve.