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RE: Marta Edmonds (By: Johnny Levy)

RE: Marta Edmonds
BY: Johnny Levy, Sales Manager, DataJoe LLC

At the time I am writing this reference, I have been working closely with Marta for about two months. I work for a software company called DataJoe, and Marta works for Source Media, Inc. as a project manager. We have been working intensely on a very large project with a tight deadline; I have been coordinating from the vendor side, while she has been coordinating from the client side. Suffice it to say, in this high pressure situation, I think I have seen some of the best and worst of her, as she has of me. I have worked with many project managers with many companies; but it is pure admiration that guides my pen in this circumstance. Marta has a rare combination of character qualities that make her an incredibly effective and powerful project manager.

Marta has many character strengths, but the ones that I notice most in her effectiveness as a project manager are boldness, gentleness, discretion, and endurance. Although some of these qualities might seem to be in opposition with one another, Marta reconciles them.

Boldness is “confidence that what I have to say or do is right, just, and true.” Gentleness is “showing consideration and personal concern for others.” The balance of these qualities is a powerful thing. Marta is a project manager; therefore she is in a position of authority. She is responsible for overseeing projects and bringing them to satisfactory completion. Boldness is important in that she must hold people accountable to time-lines and tasks, which can lead to necessary confrontation if time-lines and tasks have been neglected. Marta has the boldness to stand up for what is right, and hold others accountable to their commitments. But this boldness is tempered by gentleness, which is the magic combination. Marta is a kind, reasonable person who shows consideration for others, even in the midst of conflict. An example of this, from my personal experience, was a time in the project when we had missed a deadline. My company had its reasons for this, which I expressed to her. In my mind, it seemed justified. However, with boldness and firmness, Marta brought the conversation back to our commitments, and the importance of fulfilling these commitments. My excuses were fairly obliterated. It was a VERY difficult and humbling conversation. However, Marta was absolutely right in what she said. And above all, her final tone expressed gentleness – she was calling me (and my company) to a higher standard, but not in a cold and rigid way. She expressed great consideration and understanding for the difficulties and challenges we were facing, and appreciation for our hard work. And she did this in a sincere way, not just as a positive “wrap up.” Marta’s boldness, tempered with gentleness, is a powerful combination. As a result of this crucial discussion, I had a greater recognition of the importance of fulfilling commitments. I worked even harder to try and ensure the success of the project. If both the boldness and gentleness had not been present, I don’t think I would have been impacted in quite the same way.

Discretion is “recognizing and avoiding words, actions, and attitudes that could bring undesirable consequences.” Managing projects is also managing people; therefore discretion is incredibly important – you have no time to waste in meaningless controversies and distractions that can spin out of control. Marta maintains a demeanor that is both professional and personable. She keeps a level head, and keeps her eyes focused on the goal. In large, high pressure projects, emotions can run high. Misunderstandings can propagate, exacerbated by the stress. It is easy for conversations between vendor and client to take on a tense, fearful atmosphere, especially when the project encounters unexpected turbulence. Marta does an excellent job of keeping to the facts of the situation, and not wasting time with quarrels or blame allocation. She is firm when she needs to be, understanding when she needs to be, and encouraging when she needs to be. She keeps her attitude, words, and actions in harmony with the higher standard of “what is best for the success of the project,” and refuses to be diverted into the realm of unproductive and self indulgent quarreling. I have the utmost respect for this quality in her. For projects that encounter difficulty, it is a saving grace that can help all parties unify in purpose and contribute their very best.

Endurance is “the inward strength to withstand stress and do my best.” Every project experiences its “highs” and “lows.” It’s the low points that really reveal who you are dealing with. In the midst of the highs and lows of the project Marta and I were working on, Marta consistently maintained a good attitude in spite of the pressure. I gathered that Marta’s time was consumed with an impressive load of projects, and it appears to me that she was often working later than 7 PM at night. But in my frequent discussions with her, you would never know it. She kept a positive attitude and demeanor, demonstrating a groundedness and quiet strength that bespeak an authentic, inwrought substance of character. This is the kind of person you want on your side when you are heading into difficulty or a challenge. Marta’s endurance ensures that there will be a stable hand and a cool head when the need arises.

I feel like I have been in the foxholes of war with Marta, a fellow soldier. There is a saying: “A mark of real character is the ability to be your best self in the worst circumstances.” I believe this to be true. In my experience and observation, Marta is one of the most effective project managers I have come into contact with. Her unique gifts work together to practically benefit others, and navigate projects to successful conclusions. For this reason, I would highly recommend Marta for any position for which she is qualified. You would be very fortunate to have her on your team.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.


Johnny Adam Levy 
Sales Manager, DataJoe LLC
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Definitions for character traits come from the Character First curriculum of the “49 Character Qualities.”

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