For Expert Project Manager Shamli Nikam, The Keys To Success Are Determination And A Balance Of Big-Picture Thinking And Detailed Strategy

Shamli Nikam

Project managers are in high demand, as businesses across all industries are investing substantially in leadership expertise to reach their business goals. Project management covers a wide array of responsibilities and is typically a very demanding and fast-paced role. It takes a real professional to juggle it all, without losing their cool or blowing their budget.

For expert project manager Shamli Nikam, there is no team too challenging, nor task too daunting. She explains: "I have worked on projects of all sizes for different industries. I have rescued projects that were failing, and I have been pulled into projects that were [veering off] track. I am able to foresee risks and put together a sustainable mitigation plan for those risks. I have solid experience in breaking down work items and aligning them with overall project goals."

Shamli has shown incredible determination since her early days of post-secondary studies. She first earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree from North Maharashtra University, India. Thereafter, she boldly moved to the U.S. to study marketing and business administration at UC Irvine. She was young and knew no one, so she poured all of her time into her studies, even taking on a college internship. Finally, she earned her master's degree in business administration from Southern States University in San Diego.

Although she had a wealth of education under her belt, entering the workforce during the recession of 2009 was no easy feat. Unwilling to waste any time, she continued to study and completed several certification exams to further develop her skills. She kept her sights set on the big picture while dedicating consistent effort to taking steps forward to make herself a valuable asset.

She was finally able to land a position as a Sales Operations Business Analyst with a hospitality company that owned multiple hotels across the U.S., and it was there that she first became acquainted with Salesforce. The hotel had tasked her with investigating the platform to determine if they would work with it and, at that time, the system had no training tools. She worked tirelessly to learn the ins and outs and, although the hotel opted out of its use, she was unwavering in her conviction about the potential that it held. Salesforce was her new love, and she decided to follow it onwards and upwards.

Over the next 12 years, Shamli helped to implement and optimize the Salesforce platform with companies such as Qualcomm, Blue Cross of Idaho, and Micron. Having also completed the rigorous testing for both PMP and CRM certifications, she was able to lead each project with confidence and patience. She integrated strategies from Waterfall and Agile management methods and successfully completed projects across a variety of industries, such as finance, healthcare, education, marketing, and even the non-profit sector. She led each team towards the big-picture goal, but also seamlessly managed every detail of strategy in order to hit that target. She has proven success at managing stakeholder expectations and developing solutions that lower operations costs and lead to process improvement.

Nowadays, Shamli leads the Salesforce cloud system at Simplot, a giant family-owned international food and agriculture company. Farming is a sector near and dear to her heart, as her father owns farmland back in India and she also tends her own garden every summer. Shamli deeply values and aligns with Simplot's guiding principles: Passion for People, Spirit of Innovation, and Respect for Resources.

Outside the office, she plans to continue using her skills for positive impact, working to bring more women into technology and, in particular, will focus on the Women's and Children's Association of Boise. Having been in an abusive relationship herself, Shamli recognizes how difficult it can be for women to get out and become financially independent. In addition, as an immigrant, she is also uniquely positioned to help at the large refugee center in Boise. Undeniably, they will be fortunate to have her.