In the summer of 2018, the Knights Association of Project Management found itself without an executive board.

KAPM is a registered student organization that helps prepare students in any major for careers in project management.

Senior management student Madison Blazei, 22, found herself taking over as the club's president soon after joining in spring 2018. 

“I stayed after [class] to talk to my teacher and she told me about KAPM. She told me it’s a project management club in UCF however there [weren't] a lot of members and there was a lot of board turnover,” Blazei said. “They had an open secretary position and within a couple of months the president and treasurer dropped KAPM and from there I was ask to take over as president.” 

Blazei said that she transitioned from just thinking about pursuing project management to becoming president of a club solely focused on it.

Even after her takeover as president, Blazei still struggled with keeping a full executive board.

“I knew it was going to be difficult,” Blazei said. “The treasurer stepped down as well and we were just left with the vice president and myself as president. Finally we had a full board, and one week before our first meeting the secretary stepped down.”

Blazei said that she feared she couldn’t get any members to stay as she saw continuous turnover within her executive board. The organization went almost a year without having an official meeting.

Wilforde Camille, 37 management major and vice president of KAPM, said the reason why it was difficult for students to stay was the lack of structure their meetings had. Most of the time they didn't even have an agenda. 

"We again found ourselves with only a few members, most that were graduating and others that were not really participating," Camille said. 

Blazei said her involvement with project management came to be when she didn’t exactly know what she wanted to do with her career. She believes many students struggle with this, especially in the College of Business.

"I found a lot of ambiguity in in it," Blazel said. "I knew I liked business, and I know I liked management side. But there are so many jobs and positions it’s kind of overwhelming."

She said is interested in a career in project management because it is extremely hands on, and project management professionals are in charge of organizing and making sure plans go smoothly.

Blazei says constant communication and planning were the biggest reasons as to why she has been able to keep KAPM going.  She also credits her her now-filled executive board

“My board and faculty advisor will call me crazy because I send emails about everything or anything at random times just to raise awareness about KAPM,” Blazei said. “I’m always trying to have us grow in some way whether it’s more members or build a presence on social media.”

Camille said the biggest issue with KAPM was lack of proper transition from an old executive board to the new one last semester.

“[When] I became vice president, the president at time kind of fell off the radar, and then our secretary graduated only a few months later in August,” Camille said.

Camille said that left them with basically no members in the summer of last year going into fall 2018. He said they found themselves with an entire board graduating and no one to replace them. This is when Madison stepped in.

“Madison took over as president and so far she’s been great. She brought to the organization a sense of purpose,” Camille said “Planning is a big part of it, she plans constantly and is constantly thinking about ideas, what to do for the members, and how to create some sort of value to the membership.”

New members of KAPM also have seen Blazei’s drive and credits her for their involvement in the organization.

Madison recruited Danielle Sebrell, a new member of KAPM, and Sebrell believes project management is perfect for those who are still trying to figure out their careers in the business world.

“Project management is kind of a hidden gem that not many know about,” Sebrell said.

Sebrell said project management can be applied to almost everything someone is passionate about. Sometimes, students need guidance and this can help get them there.

Sebrell shared her gratitude for the club and that moving forward anyone in need of guidance for their careers can benefit from KAPM.

“I’m very thankful for the club and I’m very thankful for Madison because I had no idea about it until I met her so she’s kind of been a guiding force for me to figure everything out,” Sebrell said. 

As for the future of the club, Madison wants to make sure students who are as passionate as she is, carry on the club for years to come.

“I want people with genuine interest, infatuation and passion for the industry because that’s what made me grow.” Blazei said. “It was my passion for the industry and the want to make something bigger out of it, I want to ignite a fire in somebody to make them do what I did, I want it to be long lasting.”

KAPM meets every other Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. in NSC room 147.

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