Nadia Clifford

Title: Sr Director, Engineering Program Management


Education: BS, Chemical Engineering
Boston, MA, USA


Nadia Clifford has over 25 years of hands-on experience delivering complex technology initiatives and has been at the forefront of digital business transformations across a diverse range of industry leaders in retail, media, financial services, and technology. She not only propels delivery forward through more efficient processes, but she does it while encouraging positive collaboration and harnessing group intelligence. Nadia is especially adept at building empowered self-organizing teams, creating visibility into internal processes, fostering clear communication channels, and transforming silos into connected structures.
Nadia’s recent endeavors include completing MIT’s digital transformation program and building out Program Management from the ground up for a highly innovative IoT Engineering organization.


Transforming organizations through collaboration and technology.

Featured Video

I am willing to travel

More than 100 miles

When it comes to payments

Everything is negotiable


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Best Story

When we talk about maximizing personal value, we talk about growth. And growth and comfort do not co-exist. We need to have the mindset of regularly stepping out of our comfort zone, doing something just out of reach. We also need to challenge our own limiting beliefs.

I want to share a personal story.

Just before the pandemic, in February 2020, I went to Costa Rica to learn how to surf. It’s been a long-standing dream. Due to circumstances, I went alone.

Did I step out of my comfort zone? Heck yeah. It was scary to travel to semi-rural Central America as a single female. I had never surfed before; nonetheless, I had signed up for an entire week of lessons. I do not speak any Spanish.

Did I challenge my limiting beliefs? At least a few come to mind.
• People don’t go on vacation alone.
• You cannot have fun if you travel alone.
• You cannot learn to surf in your forties.
Well, I went alone, lived to tell the tale, had a ton of fun, met a few fantastic people, and yes, I was able to stand up on the board and catch some waves!

This experience helped me grow and maximize my personal value in so many ways.

• As a mother, I demonstrated to my kids that it’s ok to do things you want to do, even if they are scary and unconventional.
• As a leader, I gained confidence that I can do hard and scary things.
• As a change agent, I gained an appreciation for what it feels like to be going through something completely new and challenging.

How often do you feel comfortable being uncomfortable? What can you do to step out of your comfort zone? It does not have to be a big trip to Costa Rica. Think of something small you can do today.

Origin Story

My entire career I have been at the forefront of Digital Transformations before this term even existed.

Over 25 years ago I was the first employee at my mother’s new business venture in international transport logistics. I was a Chemical Engineering major with one semester of computer science under my belt and a ton of enthusiasm. I set out to convert our paper, fax, and swivel chair process into a digital format.

It quickly became apparent that I was exceptionally adept at talking to people and translating vague ideas into crisp technical features. The application I created allowed us to scale the business from the two of us to over 70 people in just three years. I became fascinated with technology and how it can shape business processes.

This became the theme of my entire career. I took on progressively more complex business scenarios and drove outcomes through technology. I thrive on taking on new challenges which propelled me into different industries throughout the years – biotech, HR & payroll, retail, media, financial services: crypto and banking. I have also worked in a range of roles– from a Java software engineer to an analyst, a Scrum Master, a Product Owner, and various management roles. And it’s that range of experience that makes me an effective leader and coach.

I am a change agent. I bring people together and encourage positive collaboration through self-organizing teams. I bring the best out of people. And I propel delivery forward through building more efficient processes and focusing on what matters the most.

There are three main principles that I came to value over the years.

1️⃣ Something that I learned from a very young age is that growth and comfort do not co-exist. We need to step out of our comfort zone to grow as individuals and as organizations.

2️⃣ Innovation happens when the ideas of every single individual are respected and brought to the table, but then we have to coalesce behind a single shared vision, succinct and clear to everyone.

3️⃣ The third one I learned from Steve Jobs. We cannot just say yes to the best idea, we also have to say no to the hundred other good ideas. It’s staying focused on the right thing is what delivers results.

Example talks

The Yin and the Yang of managing complex technical projects

Nadia Clifford is a seasoned technology delivery leader. She has worked on highly complex projects - from a biotech science system to a crypto platform to the largest IoT network on public transit. As a result, Nadia knows firsthand the pitfalls of traditional linear thinking of fitting high complexity into the neat boxes of project milestones or even Agile sprints. In this talk, she reveals the secrets of approaching complexity in technology (and beyond) using the ancient philosophy of the Yin and the Yang, balancing Structure and Flow. Find out how this new old mindset can help you see complexity and risk management in a completely new light.

Maximize Value Delivered

This talk has been delivered in the past as a 2-hour workshop to general or technical audiences, with a co-facilitator, Luba Sakharuk. it can be adjusted as needed.

In this workshop two seasoned agilists and Digital Transformation experts, Nadia Clifford and Luba Sakharuk, will walk the attendees through hands-on exercises on how to define and maximize value. Peppered with lots of real-life examples, our discussion will include what value is, what it means to deliver product value, business value, and personal value. The attendees will walk away with a clear understanding of who their internal and external customers are, will define tangible and intangible value for their customers, and will generate a list of concrete steps to maximize the value they can deliver.