Ivana M.

Training Specialist Project Manager
“I love it when data verifies that learners are positively impacted by effective training. Witnessing visible improvements in others’ performance and experiencing improvements in my own performance, are two of the most satisfying and inspiring parts of my job.”


To achieve much success, starting early can help. Ivana M. did just that when, as a middle schooler, she created interactive training materials for her mother who was an educator. Little did she know that generating curriculum and creating outstanding training would later become part of her professional legacy.

Originally from Bowie, Maryland, Ivana later chose to pursue a B.A. from Towson University and an M.A. from the University of Phoenix.

Her first introduction to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) came when she began to work as a contractor in the Office of Finance. After four years, Ivana jumped at the opportunity to become a federal civil servant, where she redesigned the Transit Subsidy Program and carried the agency through strategic change management. She remained in the role for seven years.

“I immediately resonated with the USPTO’s vision of championing innovation,” Ivana says.

The USPTO is Ivana’s first federal agency. After her initial role, Ivana moved to the Enterprise Training Division in the USPTO’s Office of Human Resources. There, she effectively redesigned the Administrative Professionals Excellence Program (APEX) and New Employee Orientation.

Now, Ivana serves as a Training Specialist Project Manager in the Office of Patent Training, where she enjoys implementing and maintaining the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) in the Office of Patent Training (OPT).

“I love it when data verifies that learners are positively impacted by effective training. Witnessing visible improvements in others’ performance and experiencing improvements in my own performance, are two of the most satisfying and inspiring parts of my job,” Ivana says.

She’s also got a passion for synthesizing information and sharing it with others. “I love acquiring and passing along information to others,” Ivana shares. “I also enjoy analyzing data and making comparisons. It’s fun to take challenging topics and make them accessible for people of all ages and learning abilities.”

Creating Community

Ivana brings this kind of enthusiasm and energy to her role every day, but also goes above and beyond to positively contribute to the overall USPTO community.

When it comes to community at the USPTO, Ivana has not just discovered it—she helped to create it! She is the co-founder of the Bright Knights Chapter of Federally Employed Women (FEW) at the USPTO. She is also an active member of ResponsAbility, the USPTO’s disability advocacy and empowerment group, in addition to several other employee resource organizations.

Involvement in USPTO life inspired Ivana to write and perform a spoof song called “It’s All About the Money” for an in-person USPTO Community Day event. A group of CFO employees performed live onstage complete with costumes and backup dancers!

Ivana’s inspiration for excellence

Affecting positive change is what energizes Ivana the most. At work, this often includes implementing new practices to improve an existing situation. It also involves bringing enthusiastic energy to a situation.

“Mission critical does not equal boring,” she remarks, “Engaging people and holding their interest is critical to learning and moving any mission forward.”

When asked about the best part of her job, Ivana immediately replies: “Delivering results. Often, people have terrific ideas but do not understand how to move the ball forward into execution and completion. I love completing quality projects and serving our customers well along the way.”

A career pathway to success

Ivana’s career path from a contractor in finance to a federal civil servant working in upskilling is not a traditional one. What advice does she give to others who consider making a similar change?

“Make a list of your transferrable skills from every area of life. I brought my experiences from sales, Human Resources, project management, training, finance, sports marketing, writing, coaching, directing, and onstage performance,” says Ivana with a smile.

She also knew that her life experiences were valuable assets feeding into her holistic professional profile. “I acquired unexpected skills as a homeschooling parent and then as a single parent. It’s my analytical skills, resilience, and tenacity that have carried me through each stage of my career. “

It’s no surprise that open-mindedness, resilience, and creativity are the most important soft skills Ivana believes team members at the USPTO use to succeed. “Also of critical importance are teamwork, effective communication, dependability, emotional intelligence (especially empathy), and agility,” she notes.

Ivana has high hopes for her own future, and the future of the USPTO. “Right now, I can see the USPTO moving from a collective fixed mindset to a growth mindset. As leadership teams evolve, we’re asking more questions and allowing ourselves to consider making changes to practices that worked well in the past, but no longer serve us. I also see leadership embracing hard topics of conversation and encouraging dialogue across teams and business units.”

Ivana is certainly one of those USPTO leaders who is paving the way.