As a global company with 18 regional offices, IIL has employees and associates in every corner of the world. Each month, you’ll get to know a member or dear friend of the IIL Team in our “IIL Spotlight” series. Here, we introduce Craig Kilford, partner of IIL, IPM Day 2013 speaker and CEO of Course Conductor.com – a new customer review website positively disrupting the project management training industry.

If you are involved in project portfolio management, it’s hard to not come across the name Craig Kilford, co-author of Management of Portfolios, the UK Government Standard for Project Portfolio Management.

Kilford is a compassionate professional who managed an eclectic portfolio of projects, which today form the solid foundation upon which he has built his new business venture, CourseConductor.com. From “Killy Kilford” the artist to “Course Conductor,” the education tech startup, his various works range from painting musical artists to unique community-building projects.

Through a neurological phenomenon known as sound-color synesthesia, his ability to paint is inspired by the colors he sees when he hears music. Using this ability and taking on the alias “Killy Kilford,” he started his artistic career as a music painter, where he’d join musicians on stage and paint large abstract musical canvases as they perform.

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Craig painting alongside Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Kilford worked alongside nearly 100 different bands over 10 years and was first artist to paint live on stage at Knebworth, one of England’s largest concert venues. Each band enjoyed their custom painting as it was a unique representation of their own musical art. Through many performances, he recalls two of his most memorable.

“One of my favorite gigs was The Black Eyed Peas because it was the first time I painted with total freedom,” said Kilford. “Iggy & The Stooges was also very special – it was at Knebworth in front of 70,000 people – which is something I’ll never forget.”

In 2013, Kilford moved to New York City from the United Kingdom. As he was happily walking around the city, he noticed what he believed to be ‘negative’ street signs such as the “Don’t Honk $350 Penalty” sign. With that particular dose of inspiration, he went home and recreated the sign but changed the words to read “Honk Less Love More” which he felt would have a more motivational impact on the people of the city.

As he further developed the idea, Kilford took it upon himself to manufacture 200 government specification street signs containing more positive messages such as “New York Loves You” and “Listen To Your Heart.” He assembled a team of 50 volunteers and together they installed 200 of these Happy Street Signs™ across Manhattan and Brooklyn.

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Craig with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka

Although the signs were illegal, the project gained media attention and so he moved on to the city of Newark, New Jersey to begin working on a new project that brought the Happy Street Signs™ to life.

With no history or previous connection to Newark, Kilford was inspired to get involved in that community when he saw a news story about a Christmas shooting that resulted in the death of two teens in the city. In the aftermath of this event, he felt that he could do something through his art to somehow “inspire positive social change through public art installations.”

After contacting schools, Juvenile Detention Centers, and the Traffic Department, he ran Happy Street Sign workshops and worked with young people to define Newark’s own positive messages within the signs. He then contacted Newark Mayor Ras Baraka who instantly loved the concept and saw it as a way to increase feelings of well-being around the city.

Kilford then formed a partnership with Newark’s Anti-Violence Coalition, city government departments and community groups including social outreach workers and gang leaders. During a press conference on October 15, 2014, Kilford and Baraka offically installed Newark’s first Happy Street Sign “Love Up Guns Down” and gathered the community to install another 199.

“The challenge was how to collaborate with all the various people in Newark when you don’t know anyone… but where there is a will there is a way,” Kilford said. “Every single person I met in Newark welcomed me with open arms; it was incredibly warming and after 10 months of teamwork. Newark became the first city in the world to officially install Happy Street Signs as a way to enhance feelings of well-being across the city.”

In parallel to these creative projects that Kilford took on in the past years, he maintains his professional ties with his own consultancy work and IIL, previously as an IPM Day 2013 presentation speaker.

“IIL is one of the leading training providers for Management of Portfolios, so it was a pleasure to be involved [with] IPM Day where I talked about how organizations can implement project portfolio management in 100 days,” said Kilford.

After the combination of these creative and scientific projects past, what does it all lead up to today? All the effort enabled Kilford’s most recent project; a customer review website that helps every professional in the project management industry find the best course using reviews written by fellow professionals (taken in the last five years), aptly named “Course Conductor.”

Course Conductor officially launched its beta platform in June 2016 and IIL was the first of 25 Founding Members to get involved. The community is growing fast, now listing all accredited project management providers in the world, which accounts to nearly 2000.

CourseConductor logoKilford says: “I started CourseConductor.com because I wanted to find out who was running the best course for Management of Portfolios and couldn’t; then I realized that this pain is felt by everyone in the industry as they spend hours trying to compared courses looking for the best ones.”

Positive feedback from people in the industry has been a big help, as many professionals have already written course reviews helping to elevate their personal brand, as well as helping fellow professionals make their course-purchasing decisions. Large corporate organizations are now using the site to source the highest quality training partners.

“Training providers are loving us and claiming their Course Conductor profiles so they can use their customer ratings to show how good they are on an unbiased platform,” said Kilford. “To top it all off, we are just about to release incredible statistics and infographics about the project management industry – none of which have been seen before in the market.”

Not only is its main objective to help every professional find the best courses via an easily accessible platform, but Course Conductor also has a mission aimed towards social sustainability, with its promise to clean a gallon of infected water for each newly posted review as a contribution to making a better world.

Bringing his portfolio management and artistic expertise to the table, Kilford has been, and continues, to be a part of those who seek to improve our world through his diverse talents and interests.

Learn more and visit Course Conductor here.

Previously taken a course with us? Please help us help more professionals by taking two minutes to give us a review on our Course Conductor page.