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Debra Cunninhgam



Deb Cunningham, PMP

1500 E 5th Ave          Denver, Colorado 80218         (303) 331-8323                 

Program / Project Management

Key Account Management / Client Relationships / Program Management / Product Development

Team Building / Grant Management / Proposals / Process Improvement / Contracts

Successfully completed $22 million Federal grant. Led multi-functional teams in projects for financial services clients, web development clients and school district. Demonstrated abilities in project and vendor management, team building and client relationships. Expertise in development, documentation, and project design for business side projects and IT.  Drove successful project implementation resulting in exemplary client reviews.

Strong presentation, writing, analysis, coaching and mentoring skills. Able to build consensus, communicate at all organizational levels and implement change. Passionate about solving problems.

  • Rescued troubled $1million Lawson S3 Upgrade project, successfully implementing upgrade under budget.
  • Successfully closed out $22 million Teacher Incentive Fund grant, completing objectives and managing budget to within $20.
  • Improved grant compliance, including vendor reporting methodology recognized as DPS and Department of Education best practice.
  • Led team increasing ProComp payment accuracy by 50%, reducing customer complaints by 90%
  • Improved leadership, collaboration and communications for IQ Business Group and DPS.
  • Turned around poor client relationships, retaining Baby Einstein account and IQ client account.
  • Re-gained former client and won on-going business for Viewmark.
  • Developed Viewmark billing process, reducing error rate 90% and ensured quicker payment.
  • Successfully mentored IQ Business Group client, increasing leadership confidence.
  • Developed 457, 403(b) and 401(k) wrapped and unwrapped products.

Key Skills: Managing and implementing projects and processes successfully.  Rescuing troubled projects. Aligning projects with organizational goals. Developing effective, cohesive teams. Leading creative solutions. Communicating effectively at all levels. Creating consensus with business executives and stakeholders. Developing, prioritizing and organizing to maximize results.

BBA  Actuarial Science and Risk & Insurance, University of Wisconsin. Attained fellowship in Society of Actuaries-FSA. Project Management Professional (PMP). Certified ScrumMaster.  Formerly NASD series 6 and Series 26 licensed.  Published change management article in Projects@Work and PMI Mile Hi Chapter newsletter.

Career History & Selected Accomplishments

Program Manager, HRIS Denver Public Schools. July 2011 – Present.  Program manager and lead project manager for $5 million Lawson Landmark implementation.  Rescued troubled Lawson s3 upgrade project.

  • Successfully implemented Lawson s3 upgrade.  Assumed Program Manager role for troubled Lawson upgrade project, implementing $1million upgrade under budget.

Project Director, ProComp, Denver Public Schools. Sept 22, 2008 – July 2011.  Lead project manager for implementation of Denver’s ProComp pay-for-performance teacher incentive program with $25 million in annual spending for 4700 teacher school district.  Developed cohesive, cross-functional program team, increasing accuracy of incentive payments, decreasing response time for client issue resolution, and successfully managing ProComp system upgrades.  Coordinated ProComp teacher communications, including implementation of template for consistent communications and redesigned website. Collaboratively resolved operational issues. Managed $22 million federal Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant.  Increased accuracy of reporting by engaging diverse group of SMEs.  Developed best practice for vendor reporting that is District model.

  • Successfully Completed $22 Million Federal Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) Grant.  Closed out TIF Grant, managing the completion of project objectives and managing spending to use 100% of $22 million budget.
  • Improved accuracy of TIF Grant Federal Reporting.  Increased Department of Education confidence in grant reporting by leveraging expertise of District SMEs to rework Annual Performance Report, quarterly self evaluations, and vendor invoicing methodology.  Enhanced process reliability by documenting calculation methodology.  Vendor invoicing recognized by Dept. of Education and DPS as ‘best practice’.
  • Increased ProComp team productivity.  Leveraged change management principals to increase collaboration between business and IT, improving team communications and successfully implementing system upgrades.  Implemented processes to track, follow-up and resolve client and project issues.
  • Increased effectiveness of teacher communications.  Redesigned ProComp website to intuitively present eligibility and payment information.  Implemented communications template resulting in repeatable process for proactive, consistent, and complete ProComp communications.

Consulting Manager / Senior Project Manager, The IQ Business Group, Inc., April 2005- Sept 19, 2008. Assigned to high profile and complex projects for clients like TIAA-CREF and WPS Health Insurance for United States arm of $38M consulting organization.  Consult with clients and coordinate with teams for project completion. Managed team processes, business requirements development, project planning and daily client meetings for business side of TIAA-CREF Omni conversion (Major Cases + Automated Conversion). 

  • Successfully mentored IQ Business Group client implementing Project Portfolio management, increasing leadership confidence. Helped client build the change management foundation to implement portfolio management processes. Researched industry trends, organizing information into news bites for communications. Behind-the-scenes coach, building client confidence, earning SOW extension.
  • Improved leadership and communications for IQ Business Group, enabling success. Company needed to build internal infrastructure while nurturing employees. Organized company networking lunches, established first intranet, and built consensus that improved internal communications. Positive leadership and communication style as Practice team leader responsible for the development of junior consultants. 
  • Salvaged account for IQ Business Group and earned reference for future business.  Selected to take over client account that was not well managed. Identified client concerns. Solved major problems of data intake and communications. Improved processes and quality. Built trust and loyalty while generating client satisfaction.
  • Created virtual office for IQ Business Group. Company lacked brick and mortar office but wanted to establish a sense of business unity. Established and marketed community of practice, built stakeholder support through personal outreach and motivated colleagues participate. Used persuasion, tenacity, and technical expertise to propel project forward. Implemented SharePoint website, earning recognition from management and staff alike.

Director of Operations, Viewmark, Inc., 2000-2005.  Lead project manager for all client work. Managed customer relationships totaling $4.7M in billings.  Directed internal processes including resource management for 18 employees in support of ongoing client programs.  Client duties included project planning, requirements gathering, scheduling, website delivery, SOWs/budgets, testing and implementation.  Internal projects: supervised billing processes, developed pricing standards and supervised staff.  Oversaw HR, benefit plans, recruiting and hiring. 

  • Turned around poor client relationship and retained Baby Einstein Company account for Viewmark. Baby Einstein Company account for Viewmark was in jeopardy. Diffused the initial tension.  Outlined problems and solutions. Negotiated new deadlines and kept the client informed. Completed project on time, repaired relationship and kept account after Disney purchased Baby Einstein.
  • Re-gained former client and won on-going business for Viewmark. Major client moved website to competitor. Viewmark worked graciously with the client and new vendor to move the site by the client’s deadline. In short time client’s agreement with competitor fell apart. Client requested reload of site from archives plus on-going support. Professionalism aided in client’s return and on-going business.
  • Retained Viewmark’s largest client by revamping payment and billing terms. Client wanted to change payment terms to net 45 instead of net 30. Applied out-of-the-box approach by implementing bi-monthly invoices. Amended contract to allow for more frequent billing. The end result of billing on 15th and 30th with net 45 returned AR to status quo and enabled positive cash-flow and timeliness of pay-roll.
  • Developed Viewmark billing process, reducing error rate 90% and ensured quicker payment for projects. Billing system did not interface with accounting system. Collaborated with technology to add a module to timesheet program to generate billing info by project and task. Detail came from the timesheet so data entry was not required. Summary tasks were typed into invoices and the detail from the timesheet was included as an attachment. Increased accuracy and client satisfaction.
  • Managed technical staff.  Open Source office worked in Perl, Java, JavaScript, ActionScript and html. Projects included six content management system sites, five e-commerce sites, three localized/global content sites, and two intranets.

Assistant VP, 401(k) Products, AVP, Marketing and Product Development, AVP Savings Products. Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, Inc., 1993-2000. Developed product for 401(k) market, including selecting and negotiating vendor agreements with variable funds (mutual funds) for assets of $8.5B. Established joint venture relationship with self-directed brokerage account provider.  Performed product development and pricing for life insurance, individual and group annuities. Managed technical and marketing staff plus vendors. Outsourced production of marketing materials, saving hundreds of thousands on $3M budget. Also handled outsourcing of vendor contracting for mutual funds and 457 retirement products.          

  • As Assistant Vice President, 401(k) Products, led successful product development and introduction of 401(k) for Great-West’s $8.5 billion 401(k) block.  Current product offering was outdated. Replacement was #2 goal of business plan. Leveraged 457 and 403(b) market experience and contacts to price and introduce new product. Developed and evaluated RFP for variable funds, solicited bids, made recommendations to team.  Negotiated and signed contracts with 14 mutual fund families for 53 investment options generating $45 million in revenue.
  • While Assistant Vice President, Marketing and Product Development, responsible for marketing of 457 and 403(b) group variable annuity products.  Role focused on outsourcing marketing materials, managing vendors, and managing creative staff. Outsourced production of marketing materials, defining SOW, negotiated and signed contract, coordinated implementation. Saved hundreds of thousands on $3 million budget. Outsourced contract negotiation for 70 mutual funds, performing make vs buy analysis, negotiated and signed contract reducing development costs by 50%.
  • As Assistant Vice President, Savings Products, led product submission for first products offered through First Great-West Life & Annuity.  Lead actuary for First GWL&A company filings and products offered through New York State subsidiary.  Prepared document submission, worked with local consultants and representatives of the New York Insurance Department to gain approvals.  Separately, managed third party vendor legal agreements for 400 funds from 70 fund families.  Key development team member on propriety variable annuity for a major association program -assisted client with RFP development, coordinated Great-West responses, priced product.  Procurement lead for self-directed brokerage account investment option for $55 million in assets, where project was completed on time under a tight budget. 

Technology: MS Office suite, MS Project and Project Server, Clarity, Visio.  SharePoint, Manila and Word Press administration.


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