Meet Gillian Cline: A Story of Finding Strength in Trying Times - Haneke Design

Buzz / 12 15, 2023


Gillian Cline, Software Development Project Manager, has just celebrated her first anniversary at Haneke Design, and we’re excited to spotlight her and her integral role within our team. 

Gillian loves to start new projects – each one is an opportunity waiting to be discovered.

At Haneke Design, we refer to the initial discovery process as a ‘definition sprint’. It’s those exciting moments when we get together with a new client and learn what’s important to them and their business,” says Gillian.  

As a project manager, Gillian’s day-to-day duties include leading client communication and meetings, creating project plans, and managing project resources, timelines and budgets – a role that requires attention to detail, clear communication, and of course, planning skills.  

When asked when she discovered that she was a natural planner, she laughed and noted that planning was a skill that did not come naturally to her. But life has a way of forcing plans upon us, like when we enter college and quickly learn that juggling advanced coursework requires a plan, or at least a weekly planner. Or when a family member falls ill.

“Over the years, sort of out of necessity, I figured out what I needed to do to keep my own life organized and plan things in a way that worked for me,” says Cline. “So it actually came from a place of not being a natural strength of mine. I really had to dig in.”

Gillian’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years back, and she stepped in to help run the family business while her mother recovered from surgery. Gillian acted as an interim manager before moving into a project management role when her mother was fully recovered and returned to work. That’s when she realized that this is what she wanted to do – this is what she was good at.

“It’s also when I realized that I really enjoy process optimization and process improvements. I wanted to make sure that my mom was set up to be in a good place once I left and that she’d be able to manage everything on her own, so I designed a task management system and implemented it before I left.”

That last quote says a lot about Gillian’s approach to project management, and it sheds light on why she’s been so successful in managing her projects over the last year. For Gillian, it’s not just about the final deliverable, it’s about the journey it takes to get there and the team effort that is required.

How do you set a team up for success? The short answer is you have to get to know your team members. Understanding people’s motivations is a less obvious skill for a project manager, but something Cline is perhaps even more passionate about than productivity tools (Gillian recommends Notion and TickTick if you’re looking for a Task Manager to help you get organized).

“My greatest strength now is planning, of course,” says Cline. “But then there’s another one that people don’t necessarily think about when they think of project management. It’s understanding people’s motivations and what’s behind certain behaviors.”

As Gillian celebrates her first anniversary at Haneke Design, she reflects on what she enjoys about working at a small company like Haneke Design.

“You have a lot more freedom at a small company, and I have a team and leadership that has valued my voice and my opinion from day one. Whenever I notice something that can be improved upon, I can bring it to the team and we’ll workshop it – It’s really nice to have that freedom and level of accessibility.”

​​Gillian Cline’s journey from familial responsibilities to professional success is a testament to resilience and adaptability. Her strength lies not just in planning and organization, but in her deep understanding of people – a quality that elevates her role beyond conventional project management. As she marks her first year at Haneke Design, we not only celebrate her achievements but also her story – a narrative that serves as an inspiration, reminding us that amidst complexity, both in life and projects, lies the potential for growth and excellence.


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