Volume 1 / Issue 4

PMP® Passport
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Asia Pacific
Europe, Middle East and Africa
Latin America
North America
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Take the Lead

Four global professionals give insight into how the PMP credential helped them become better leaders.

Asia Pacific

PMP Profile: SoonKheng Khor, PMP, founder

Company: Asia ICT Project Management, Selangor, Malaysia

Quick Take: Mr. Khor's PMP helped him win members for the local PMI chapter and allowed him to aid others in their pursuit of the certification.

Lui SiehOut of Malaysia's population of 23 million, there are only 170 Project Management Professional (PMP®) credential holders, and SoonKheng Khor is proud to be one of them. Most recently, his PMP has helped him be a leader in project management training efforts. "During the last 18 months, I started as a trainer for a PMP exam preparation class, and I became the first PMP teaching a PMP exam class specializing in the information communication technology industry," he says. His PMP makes him stand out as a leader in the training field, since the scarcity of PMP holders in Malaysia means that trainers often don't have the certification themselves.

Mr. Khor also used the skills he gained while obtaining and maintaining the PMP to lead others to join the PMI Malaysia Chapter in his role as director of membership and chair for Asia Pacific Region, PMI IT & Telecom Specific Interest Group. "Although PMI-Malaysia is one of the oldest chapters in Asia Pacific, relatively we don't have that many PMP [holders]," he says. "The PMP exam preparation process and obtaining the PMP provided me with the knowledge and background to communicate with fellow members and potential members using a common lexicon and standard."

In the course of Mr. Khor's career, he has overseen project management teams on four major international airport construction projects. "The construction and ICT-based project managers have difficulty communicating with each other because they used industry-specific terminologies and expressions," he says. "After going through the PMP exam process and in-depth knowledge in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), I am now able to use the common lexicon and best practices applicable to all types of projects. I am now able to communicate better and share [my] experience with those project managers."

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Europe, Middle East and Africa

PMP Profile: Theofanis C. Giotis, PMP, CEO, chief technology officer, vice president, co-founder

Company: ITEC Total Solutions SA and ITEC Training Services SA, Athens, Greece

Quick Take: Using his PMP training, Mr. Giotis gave his communication techniques an overhaul to lead people more effectively.

Ian McAllisterWhile studying for the Project Management Professional (PMP®) exam, Mr. Giotis was influenced particularly by the Project Communications Management Knowledge Area of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). "It is natural for human beings to be impressed by good communicators," he says. "I was never paying attention to the body language. Now body language is my priority. I was interrupting people. Now I use empathetic listening most of the time."

His improved people skills have helped him mentor individuals in his training work, and also have helped him effectively lead groups. "I had given more than 80 speeches at conferences and tech days ranging from 50 to 800 participants, but after passing the PMP exam, I changed dramatically my way of giving public speeches," he says. "It is not so important to say something you know, but it is very important to say it in a way that the audience can understand it. I started doing more questions to engage people. I started using body language to understand their reactions. I started being a 100 percent listener and fully present. I became audience-oriented."

His improved leadership skills made all the difference in his efforts to revitalize the PMI Greece Chapter, of which he currently is president. In 2003, the chapter had just 23 members, and today, it has grown to 210.

"As a leader, I had to use all available communication methods to lead people to join PMI and the Greek Chapter using my PMP credential as a vehicle," he says. "On every e-mail message I sent, I promoted PMI at the end of my signature. On every discussion I had, I tried to find a way to talk about successful projects in order to explain what professional project management is, what PMI is and what [a PMP credential] is. On my suit, I always pinned the gold PMP pin—people asked about it, and I had the opportunity to explain the whole story. On every presentation or public speech I gave, I always said something about project management and PMI. PMP [certification] was the vehicle for me to lead people to join PMI and the Greek PMI Chapter."

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Latin America

PMP Profile: Michael P.A. Charles, PMP, vice president–projects

Company: Damus Limited, Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago

Quick Take: Mr. Charles uses his PMP skills to improve client communication and become a more supportive manager.

Rodrigo LoureiroAs vice president–projects at Damus Limited, Michael P.A. Charles supervises a team of project managers. The skills he acquired while obtaining and maintaining his Project Management Professional (PMP®) credential have helped him be a more supportive and proactive leader of the group. "I find I work in a much more structured and organized manner in managing my project managers," he says. "What the PMP allows me to do is to understand their problems and empathize with them. I'm also in a better position to provide structured solutions to help solve problems rather than getting emotional and upset because their project is going off the rails."

Mr. Charles co-founded the PMI Southern Caribbean Chapter (PMISCC) after he and a group of colleagues became frustrated with their repeatedly failing projects. "It was the force of necessity," he says. "We started to search the world for help and we were eventually directed to the Project Management Institute. As a result, we aligned our processes to PMI and sought to get our credentials." Mr. Charles obtained his PMP certification in 2004.

Since then, Mr. Charles led several other project managers in his company to obtain their PMP credentials. He is currently the president of the PMISCC, and speaks often to promote project management principles and the PMP. One of the greatest benefits of the certification, he says, is that it has allowed him to communicate more effectively with clients and colleagues. "That is very important in our project management world, especially when you have on one end a supplier and on the other a buyer or an owner," he says. "With the PMP, we end up talking the same language even when we have a problem. We have a common understanding of the root of the problem, and are able to solve it without coming into conflict."

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North America

PMP Profile: Marlene Orr, PMP, senior project manager

Company: AT&T Messaging, St. Louis, Mo., USA

Quick Take: The PMP credential earns Ms. Orr credibility with clients and colleagues.

Michele MillsSince obtaining her Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification in 1999, Marlene Orr has leveraged the skills it brought her to gain more autonomy and respect in her field. "The PMP definitely helped me with credibility—not only with outside customers, but also within the corporation, with the internal stakeholders of projects we worked on," she says.

At the time of her exam, she was working as a senior project manager at Ameritech (which later merged with SBC, which in turn merged with AT&T). Her first project as a PMP was a two-year networking project for Oakland County, Mich., USA. "I was able to have the autonomy to make sure everything had a single point of contact," she says. "It made the customer happy and it was not only easier on myself, but I think the company overall saved a lot of money by having someone who knew what they were doing."

Not only did the PMP earn Ms. Orr increased credibility from clients, it allowed her to become a leader within her company. In 2003 she was hand-picked to help start up SBCIP, a new subsidiary within her company. SBCIP became part of AT&T Messaging, where Ms. Orr currently is a senior project manager. She also is president of the PMI St. Louis Chapter.

Ms. Orr has found that clients and colleagues recognize and appreciate the PMP credential. "There is definitely name-recognition with the PMP, and it gets bigger all the time," she says. "It's very important for project managers to have it."

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