Question: You are the departing vice-president of the Chapter and I know that you held a leading role with the Chapter before. Can you tell us about your journey at the Chapter, how did you get involved, why, what roles did you hold? When I enrolled for my PMP in 2015, I enquired about joining the Luxembourg Chapter. I was informed that the Chapter was not operational at the time, but I was asked to help revive the Chapter structure.
With a small interim board and about 40 members, we kick-started chapter activities and started holding events again. We reached out to past members and tried to get exposure in the local press in order to attract members.
During the first board elections, I was nominated as vice-president and secretary and held this position until the end of 2016. after a break of 2 years, I was again nominated in this board role in 2019 and will complete my term at the end of this year.
Question:During the long time you have been a Chapter member, how has the Chapter changed over this period? As I mentioned, when the Chapter was restarted, we were only about 40 members. We are now over 200 members.
I think events are a main draw card for Chapter growth, as people enjoy the opportunity to network with other Project Managers.
As the Chapter matured, we put a better structure in place, helping us to have at least one event per month. On top of events, we facilitate regular mentoring sessions, as well as newcomer on-boarding sessions.
Initially, all activities had to be managed by the board members, but currently we have more volunteers that are taking on specific projects to help the chapter run more smoothly and deliver value to its members.
Question: What has been the most satisfying part of your role as a Vice President and what has been the biggest challenge you faced (or facing) in this role? One of the most satisfying experiences was attending the Leadership Institute Meeting (or LIM) of the PMI, held in Dublin in 2019. It was valuable to meet other Chapter leaders from the greater region, as well as from the rest of the world. We also had the opportunity to meet members of the Global PMI Board.
This year has probably been the most challenging in my experience in the PMI, due to Covid-19 restrictions.
We cannot underestimate the value of face-to-face networking events. Although virtual events have proven very successful for webcasts or training, the networking component is lost.
Question:What would you say to someone that considers pursuing a leading role with the Chapter, what does it take to be a Vice President of the Chapter and what are the main responsibilities? It is important to understand that being on the board is not just a nice addition to your CV or LinkedIn profile. There is a real commitment required to be present and actively participate in board meetings.
I see the role of Chapter Vice President as one of strategic input and support, rather than operational execution.
In my role as Secretary there is more of an operational component.
I am responsible to support the president and lead board meetings, driving the agenda and keeping meeting minutes. I also took ownership of the internal SharePoint site for document retention and the tools that the board use to communicate and share information.
I would suggest that any member who wishes to take on a board role in the future, starts by volunteering. In this way you get known by the other Chapter members and start to understand the demands of the Chapter.
Question:From your perspective, what added value does chapter membership bring? A primary benefit of Chapter membership is the ability to participate in Chapter events, like presentations, mentoring programs and networking opportunities. Meeting people who understand the challenges project managers experience is very valuable, especially outside a work environment.
There are many lessons to be learnt from informal interaction after events, which can be carried back into the workplace to improve your own effectiveness as a project manager.
Question:According to your experience as a long-standing volunteer for our Chapter, how can the Chapter manage to attract more members? We need to ensure we understand our member demographic and address the needs of the different groups.
Some members are early in their careers, and networking, mentoring and other learning opportunities are very valuable to them. Volunteer opportunities is an ideal way for members to grow their skills in a very practical way, with a supportive and skilled team around them.
For those who have been in their careers for longer, opportunities to contribute through mentoring should be exploited.
Exposing our members to the range of projects through events - from IT to manufacturing to finance - also broadens their understanding of the discipline.
Question:How has the pandemic changed your (working, personal, volunteering) life? Despite an initial adjustment, especially during the strict lock-down period in March, I have managed to navigate this period quite well.
Most of my work projects continued to show progress and could deliver on schedule.
Although I personally prefer to be physically in the office, I have enjoyed the flexibility that working from home has offered.
I think the main impact has been on the face-to-face aspect of the PMI Chapter activities - events and networking - that could not take place due to the social distancing rules.
Question:Apart from Project Management, what are you passionate about? I have quite a wide interest range and it is seldom that I would say I am bored. I try to run at least three times a week (up to 10kms per run) and I walk my two dogs daily - preferably in the forest.
I read quite a lot and quite broadly - business books, biography and fiction.
I am originally from South Africa and the one thing I probably miss the most, is being close to the sea.
The people behind the roles: meet outgoing Vice President & Secretary
We continue with the series of board member interviews, find out how he got involved in the Chapter, Henry Dixon, and what roles he played.