Question: As a Director of Volunteers, what has been the biggest challenge in this role and what has been the most satisfying part for you? The basic idea of Volunteering is that you have free time and some skills that you want to dedicate to a community. My role is to ensure that we propose interesting roles, that inspire and have potential for growth. It is extremely challenging due to the size and market specificity of our chapter.
Satisfaction comes from the results I see looking backward, we have a solid volunteer base, the percentage of members that are active volunteers 20% (average for other chapters is 10%); a constant growth and a positive community.
Question: Next year, you will assume additionally the role of director of membership. How do you feel about having two roles and what are your expectations and plans in the new role?
It is not the first time in the double role, when I joined in 2016, I had a temporary mandate with both. At the time, the main challenge was to keep members coming and rebuild Chapter activities and connection. Now the role is highly strategic and requires a different set of skills: I will have to rely on my Managers and develop a higher degree of delegation. We are launching a new mentoring program, there is a new survey in pipeline, and new ways to engage with our members. I will open the role for associate directors in order to be able to continue developing activities and opportunities for our members and volunteers I plan to ensure consistency and create a good base of future Board Members.
Question: With you taking up 2 director positions and Margarita Sotirov assuming the role of Vice President next year and then Saskia as the President, it seems that the Board will become quite gender balanced as opposed to the previous years. How do you feel about that? I see this as great success. I have often see that women keep the bar to high for themselves, and I discuss often with others on the concept of “good enough”, and it seams that what we do rarely reach that bar. We keep ourselves to a higher standard and make the path more difficult that it really is. I think that Saskia, Liane (our previous director) and I were able to show that there is space and opportunities, we just need to propose ourselves more.
I know for a fact that it can be complicated to accommodate Board activities with full time jobs and family obligations and this can be discouraging. But PMI is an organisation that strives on diversity and should do all that is possible for diversity to find its place. If this includes having to bring toddlers to board meeting... well I can share a few tips.
We are project managers after all, it’s just a matter of organisation.
Question: What would you say to someone considering to become a volunteer, what is the added value that volunteering for the chapter brings? Give me a call 😊. It offers you possibilities that might not be available in you current job, skills you wish to develop, connection to make. PM community is a very friendly place, there is a lot to learn, share and have fun with.
Question: How has the pandemic changed your (working, personal, volunteering) life? It has been complicated, as I think for most parents having kids at home, full time jobs and limited space. I was not able to follow up on some activities as I wished to, several projects were postponed and we are restarting now. Engaging volunteers has been difficult: some have lost their job, some have been swamped into Zoom calls, home-schooling etc. We have to reset our expectation and manage what we can.
Question: What personal passion project are you working on? I really have too many hobbies, I am a keen gardener and cook, a lazy photographer, and furniture up cycler without enough space. My latest project has been a cooking one: Home Made Panettone. Almost 3 days of preparation, result were not good-looking but tasted amazing. I will try again next year.
Question: Do you have a role model? My grandmothers, they were 2 formidable and very different women and taught me very different lessons. I also know they were wrong on a lot of things, which is totally ok. Life is imperfect, we just have to take the time to be happy as we live it.
The People behind the roles: meet our Director of Volunteers!
We continue with the series of board member interviews, find out what Eloïse Le Vot's biggest challenge has been in this role what was the most satisfying part for her?