Jean Seely: PM alumna builds career to new heights as CEO

Jean Seely

This year, as part of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s 45th anniversary of providing distance education, we will be sharing the stories of notable alumni and their work. These features not only celebrate these talented individuals’ achievements, but the distance education they received along the way to help them reach their goals. UW-Platteville is proud to have helped so many students find success and will continue to pioneer distance education excellence heading into the future. 

As the chief executive officer of the independent consultant firm, Seely Inc., Jean Seely is a professional of many interests. With a background in both information technology and business management, Seely specializes in helping organizations optimize their software products and improve overall processes. She achieves this by utilizing her knowledge of project management frameworks, such as Agile and Scrum, as well as privacy compliance regulations, to ensure her clients reach their desired goals. 

Every organization presents a different challenge, but Seely is well-equipped for each task. After all, her position is one she didn’t achieve overnight, but through years of hard work and industry experience. Over the course of her career, Seely advanced from software development to more program management-focused roles at prominent companies, including Expedia and Microsoft. During this time, she also familiarized herself with compliance measures, adding to her growing skillset. 

Wishing to further develop these skills, Seely decided to return to school in 2017. 

“When I transitioned from being a developer to a program manager, I knew I needed more tools in my tool belt,” Seely said. “To accomplish this, I had a couple of routes I could go. I could get a PMP certification, I could get a certificate in project management, or I could get a full master's degree. After thinking things over, I decided to go for the degree, as that would get me a well-rounded foundation.”

After discovering that the University of Wisconsin-Platteville offered an online graduate program in project management, Seely knew she’d found the right school for her.

“It was a no-brainer,” Seely said on choosing UW-Platteville. “My husband Scott had graduated from UW-Platteville. I met him while he was in his senior year and I became familiar with the university. It was no question that Platteville was where I was going.”

Reflecting on her academic journey, Seely remarked the ability to apply the concepts learned in class immediately to her work proved especially helpful. In every class she either learned something to better herself at her job or understand why management made the certain decisions they did. She also shared this knowledge with her co-workers, which improved the overall work environment.

Shortly after graduating in December 2021, Seely took the lessons she learned and started Seely Inc. with her husband. This decision came from wanting to work with a variety of customers, in addition to being her own boss and choosing her own projects. Seely’s experience of pivoting from a software developer to a program manager to a business owner is not the pathway of most project managers, but to her it’s a fine accomplishment on an ever-growing list. It’s a pathway others can make for themselves too, provided they take the right steps.

“For those going into project management, I highly recommend getting your PMP® certification at some point,” Seely said. “Having a master’s degree is great, but certification is what people recognize. You can open a lot of doors with that as well.”

A completed UW-Platteville Master of Science in Project Management degree counts as one-third of the project management work experience required for the PMP® certification. To learn more, visit our program’s webpage.