Shelley Row


HANDOUT for presentation


Presentation: “Complex Decision-Making: Why More Data Isn’t the Answer”


Abstract: Complex decisions can be over-whelming with a tangle of variables to consider. As project managers, it’s easy to assume that more data will provide the answer. But grasping for more data can lead to over-thinking, analysis paralysis, and sleepless nights. That’s because complex decisions require more than just the data. Using neuroscience, learn a 4-step process to stop over-thinking, uncover the real issues so that you make the decision and move on.

  • Recognize the over-thinking cycle. Are you going over the same question again and again and asking for more and more data?
  • Ask different questions for deeper insight.
  • Listen for clues inside your brain to understand what’s really going on.
  • Resolve the real problem, make the decision, and move on.

PMI Talent Triangle: Leadership (Power Skills)

BiographyShelley Row, PE, CSP, An Inc. Magazine top 100 leadership speaker and one of eight engineers worldwide who is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), Shelley Row, PE, CSP, is a professional engineer and former government and association executive. As founder and CEO of Blue Fjord Leaders, Shelley’s work focuses on engineering leaders to see beyond the data.  The Blue Fjord Leadership System grows your organization by growing the management skills of technical staff. At Blue Fjord Leaders we provide foundational management skills to enable decision-making, delegation, critical conversations, and more. Shelley Row’s one-on-one organizational assessment leads to customized professional development to achieve your goals. 

Shelley is a high-energy, engaging speaker and consultant working with top managers and leaders in technical industries. She interviewed more than three dozen executives from the public, private, academic and political sectors on leadership skills needed by technical professionals. Interview results combined with neuroscience provide a practical, real-world approach to all programs. 

Shelley learned the hard way that technical skills are not enough to be successful as a manager or leader. After plateauing in her career growth, she realized that you can’t think your way to the top. Success comes when you learn to think, feel and act. It is the integration of all three that makes a leader stand out. This realization transformed her from a woman engineer to a woman executive, from over-thinker to decision-maker, and from having a dream to living her dream. In 2010, Shelley and her husband left their careers and moved to a Provençal village for ten months and traveled around the world to return home to Annapolis, Maryland.  Shelley published three books written about life and travel abroad. 

Shelley founded Blue Fjord Leaders following a distinguished 30-year transportation career. Her career as a transportation engineer started in 1984 when women engineers were few. She worked as a transportation engineer in Texas, California, Arizona, North Carolina and Georgia during the 1996 Olympic Games. She finished her career in the Senior Executive Service with the U.S. Department of Transportation where she ran a research program on connected and automated cars. She is an award-winning leader with top honors in her agency. Shelley is widely-known within the transportation community for her leadership, vision and organizational skills. 

Shelley is a sought-after speaker with hundreds of presentations to her credit including for national and international groups from 20 to 2000. She has articles published in Forbes, Fast Company, HuffPost Business, SmartBlog on Leadership, Realizing Leadership Magazine, CEO Magazine, ITE Journal, Thinking Highways and more. Her latest book is, Think Less. Live More. Lessons from a Recovering Over-Thinker. She is a certified virtual presenter, trained coach, a certified trainer for Business DNA Behavior self-assessment tools, and she completed training with the NeuroLeadership Institute. She is the past president of the National Speakers Association Washington, DC chapter. You can follow her work through Twitter (@shelleyrow), LinkedIn, Facebook or by signing up for her newsletter on her website (

Shelley holds Bachelor degrees in Civil Engineering and Architecture from Texas Tech University and an MBA from Virginia Tech.  She is a registered professional engineer. Blue Fjord Leaders is a 100% woman-owned business with MBE certifications.