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Conversations with the Inspiring Tiffany Muller

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tiffany Muller.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Tiffany. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My journey into being a Project Manager has been somewhat backwards. Before I knew Project Management was an actual career, I was already performing duties as one. When it came to various projects I would work on for myself, for others, and in my other jobs, the management and organization always came very naturally for me. One day my brother said to me, “Tiffany, why don’t you get your PMP and be a Project Manager, you do all of that already.” Him asking me that question ignited a fire inside and it had me looking into what it took to get my PMP that very same day. I enrolled back in school and not too long after that, I earned my degree in Organizational Leadership and Project Management. Fast forward to today and I have been with Business & Decision for over two years now as a Project Manager in the IT industry and I couldn’t be happier. I absolutely love what I do, my team, the projects we work on and the company as a whole. Having turned my natural management and organization into an official degree and certified career path has been nothing short of joyous and I feel truly blessed to not only have found my niche but to be making a living while doing so.

A little over a year and a half ago, I was presented an opportunity to become part-owner and Co-CEO of a major, nationally published hip hop magazine, Hip Hop Weekly. Having grown up with hip-hop running through my blood, I was all in right away. After about a year of being behind the scenes, I am now very much in the front and doing a revamp of the magazine and its impact with hip hop; the culture, the music and the artists. Amazing things are to come, and I am very excited about the direction we are moving in.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I approach the smooth road and struggles in getting where I am today a bit differently. It was a smooth road for me because I made it a smooth road. I don’t complicate things and I keep it as simple as possible, eliminating any outside noise, distractions, and potential struggles.

I stayed focused on what I needed to do to become a professional and reach my goals, no matter what it took. This consisted of me working full-time, attending ASU full-time and still taking time out for myself to get to the gym every day.

The journey in reaching your goals does come with a level of sacrifice. My advice to women who are just starting their journey is to understand the sacrifices that are needed in order for them to accomplish their goals are only short-term sacrifices; short-term sacrifices that will yield a far greater good. You will miss nights out with the girls, an occasional party here and there, maybe even some trips and this is OK. This is all OK because once you accomplish your goals, once you get to where you know you can be and open that new door for yourself, your friends will be there to celebrate with you, those nights out with the girls will pick right back up and funny enough, the quality of those nights will be greater than they once were and the trips you are now able to go on will be more meaningful; your overall quality of life improves, not only with yourself but with those you love.

Stay the course and keep your eye on the prize at all times. You will never hear a successful person complain about how them staying focused on reaching their goals negatively impacted their life or deterred them in some way. But you will hear people who allowed outside noise to deter them from their professional desires offer their “shoulda, coulda, woulda’s” if they could do it all over again.

Keep yourself as your #1 priority. No matter how much you take on, remember to always take time out for yourself, your physical health and your mental health. Time management is key and pace yourself. We only get one chance to make the most out of this life so why not do it in the biggest and the healthiest way possible!

What should we know about Business & Decision and Hip Hop Weekly Magazine? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
In my role as an IT Project Manager, I lead and manage a team of Developers, an Enterprise Architect, a DevOps Engineer and a Quality Assurance Analyst in developing, migrating and implementing web portal based applications for both the public and private sectors.

What I am most proud of as an organization is my team. I have the greatest team I could have ever possibly asked for, all of which are absolute Rockstars in their specialized roles and put us together, we are absolute force. Having a solid team to complement each other’s strengths and uplift our weaknesses is paramount to having a successful project go live, to having a successful organization and office culture. Loving what you do and who you work with makes coming into work an absolute joy.

What I am most proud of as a service provider is the quality of our work, the professional level of responsiveness to our customers and the happiness and satisfaction they receive not only throughout the development of the project but also at its completion.

In my role as Co-CEO/Co-Owner of Hip Hop Weekly, I manage and lead everything that takes place in, for and around the magazine, while coming up with new ideas to implement to expand the brand, reach a wider audience, as well as provide more content and promote engagement for our readers.

What I am most proud of as a brand is, we serve as a national publication platform for the hip-hop industry. Where hip hop was once a genre of music, it has now evolved into an entire culture. Hip Hop Weekly is more than just the latest music and newest artists. We are here to showcase the industry as a whole, to discuss what is going on, the good, the bad and the ugly. To give new artists a platform to show the world who they are, along with their artistry and their journey in how they got to this point. I am proud to be a part of this magazine and very excited about the new things that are to come… so definitely stay tuned.

What sets me apart from others is my love for project management and leadership. I take a genuine interest in people, in my team, not only in who they are at work and the role they have, but who they are outside of the office, the studio, or the media room; it is about who they are as a person. It’s important for me that my team knows I care about them. My leadership approach has always been one of encouragement and positivity, to have fun while you work and to love what you do. If anyone on my team is struggling with anything, work or outside of work, I am there to help them through it. I lead by example and promote a healthy work/life balance. Having a happy and healthy team both in and out of the workplace will also reflect on their stellar performance.

What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
I feel the biggest barrier today to female leadership is having a voice and having that voice heard. For so long, women were second to men in leadership, oftentimes not taken seriously, and that was considered to be “the norm.” Women now having a presence in leadership has naturally come with resistance from those who don’t like change. However, with all change, there is typically a greater good that comes out of it. Most women in management are natural leaders. Strong, proud, confident women will naturally have their presence felt when they walk into a room and by default, their voice will be heard, even by those who may initially be reluctant to listen.

Being a female leader not only in IT but also with the magazine, both of which are highly male-dominated, expectations of my performance are set higher from the very start. I automatically come in with man-made obstacles to overcome in order to prove myself worthy of the position. Having a strong mind and confidence in my abilities and knowledge is what will overpower these man-made obstacles every time.

Gone are the days of a woman playing small in the workforce. Now are the days where women are a force to be reckoned with. While gender-based barriers may never fully be gone for women, women are gaining more and more respect as leaders and we have only scratched the surface of our potential.

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