In this installment of our Championing Change series, we’re chatting with Lea Labastida, Director of Marketing Project Management at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. With Wrike as her foundation for project management, Lea leads a team of project managers and oversees over 165 projects across various departments, all with the express purpose of furthering the goals of advancement and alumni engagement. 

When our customers say the magic words, “I prefer not to use email,” we know Wrike is really improving their personal and organizational processes. “I’ve fully integrated Wrike into my work process by utilizing it as my central project management tool,” Lea said. “I use Wrike to create and manage tasks, track progress, collaborate with team members, and prioritize work effectively.”

However, full use of Wrike wasn’t always the way at Emory University. Previous use by her team was limited at best. But, under Lea’s direction, Wrike has enabled a diverse range of over 20 teams to connect and collaborate, streamlining project management significantly. 

Leaning on Wrike’s help center to increase user knowledge

Lea inherited Wrike as a project management platform when she joined Emory University’s staff several years ago, and she explained that many team members weren’t up to speed on its functionality. “I stepped in to bridge this gap by creating knowledge bases, blueprints, and standard procedures to facilitate effective use of Wrike in project management,” she said. 

Lea explained that while Wrike was already the team’s tool of choice when she was hired, “many team members were unfamiliar with its functionality.” Lea took a two-pronged approach to bring her team up to speed with full Wrike functionality: “To help aid in the change, I ensured open and transparent communication with team members about the reasons for change, the expected outcomes, and how it will impact their roles and responsibilities. I also provided comprehensive training sessions to equip team members with the necessary skills and knowledge to adapt to the changes effectively.” 

Of course, teaching an entire team how to use Wrike meant Lea had to become a Wrike expert herself. “When I was hired, there was no formal training for Wrike, so I taught myself by watching all the videos available in the Wrike Academy and by reading articles in the Wrike Help Center,” she said. As a visual learner, she relied especially on the resources that included detailed screenshots showing exactly how to use a particular Wrike feature. “These tools were invaluable in helping me understand and utilize Wrike effectively,” she reported. 

Now that she has created a team of Wrike champions at Emory, she continues to ensure everyone stays up to date with the latest Wrike improvements: “I frequently share links to resources, such as guides, on changing work schedules, approving files, and more, to help team members resolve their issues independently.” 

No more estimates and guesswork for project planning

Once Lea’s team at Emory was able to maximize their use of Wrike for project management, they really started to see improved results. She started by creating the first set of blueprints to provide a clear structure for projects. “This tool has enabled us to accurately track the time required for various tasks, such as sending an email or completing a proposal or campaign with multiple deliverables.” 

Wrike has given Lea’s PMO at Emory instant views of the big picture for project timelines, thanks to precise data. She explained: 

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Before Wrike, we relied on estimates and guesswork. Now, we have concrete data that enhances our planning and efficiency.

Lea Labastida, Emory University

Lea reported that her organization relies on custom workflows and templates for recurring projects, resulting in improved consistency and considerable time saved. Project managers at Emory have also been able to eliminate duplicated efforts across similar projects, thanks to Wrike’s blueprints. Lea summed up this Wrike benefit: “Overall, Wrike has enabled us to work more efficiently by reducing the time spent on routine tasks and improving overall project visibility.”

product screenshot of wrike blueprint on aqua background
Example of Wrike’s blueprint feature

Improving visibility and eliminating duplicated work

The departments at Emory using Wrike are also benefiting from another of Wrike’s top benefits: increased visibility that results in less wasted time. “Team members can easily access project details, timelines, and task assignments directly in Wrike, reducing the need for repetitive explanations,” said Lea. She also reported that they’ve minimized the need for frequent status update meetings by centralizing project information and communication within Wrike. 

In the running for Lea’s favorite Wrike feature is our nifty automation bot. “I jokingly refer to the automation bot as ‘Jayme, my assistant’ because it has been incredibly helpful.” Lea explained that Jayme assists in notifying project team members when schedules change and when their work windows begin, and even automatically fills in custom fields. “Automating these tasks has freed up my time to focus on more critical project management activities.”

product screenshot of wrike automation on aqua background
Example of Wrike’s automation feature 

Connecting over 20 departments with ease

Not only has Wrike enabled Emory to streamline communication within Lea’s team, our project management platform has supercharged collaboration, enhancing efficiency and productivity within their entire division. “Wrike has facilitated easier interaction with departments such as Donor Relations, University Relations, and Donor Participation,” explained Lea. 

In fact, Lea reported that Wrike use has grown and the organization has reaped the rewards, “Adopting Wrike was a strategic decision for our company, enabling over 20 different departments to collaborate seamlessly using a single tool.” 

Supporting team members through transition

Lea found that offering ongoing support and guidance to team members during the transition to using Wrike fully was the key to the successful implementation of Wrike at Emory. This enabled her to address their challenges and any resistance they were facing quickly. “It’s crucial to listen and communicate clearly,” she added. 

While there was initial reluctance due to busy schedules and limited time for learning new tools, this quickly changed. “Once we demonstrated the tool’s efficiency gains, enthusiasm grew,” Lea said. Additionally, by adding Wrike analysis to their set of procedures, best practices, and blueprints, Lea’s team has been able to efficiently complete projects and align their work with company objectives. 

Lea’s commitment to ensuring her team and department can use Wrike to the fullest is leading to impressive results, which will surely inspire readers to dig deeper into their current tech stack. 

If you’re interested in using Wrike for your project management organization, start a free trial today and discover the type of transformation Lea enabled at Emory University.