For transforming current processes—while bringing up a cadre of future-focused project managers
Even as Toyin Fatubarin immerses herself in the here and now of the projects she’s managing, she’s always looking at what’s ahead—and what it will take to succeed. “The future needs project leaders who can adapt to change and who can make and learn from mistakes—quickly,” she says.
Fatubarin honed her ability to adapt during six intense years juggling projects at telecom giant Ericsson. And it wasn’t just the variety of schedules and scopes that kept things interesting for Fatubarin; it was the wide range of people she was collaborating with. “The mix of individuals on-site and the international teams we interfaced with meant I was always learning,” she says.
Fatubarin drew on that deep and diverse experience when she became the first project management hire at Exchange Technology Services in 2017. She swiftly established enterprise-wide processes and governance along with a project management office, which under her watch oversaw a portfolio of 50-plus projects. With that win, she moved to Online Business Systems, where she now consults with organizations on strengthening agile ways of working and other project management essentials.
The result? No matter what project or problem hits her desk, she likely has a relevant lesson to draw upon as she teaches the next generation of project managers. The underpinnings of modern challenges—and solutions—are one of the lessons she tries to impart on her students.
“Project management in Brazil or the Philippines or Nigeria or any part of the world is pretty much the same as project management here in Canada,” she says. “These are a universal skill set to be used on projects of all stripes.”
Fatubarin tries to emphasize that idea by centering class discussions on real-world examples of project management in action. She knows both she and her students may soon be managing projects that they can barely fathom right now. So along with a rock-solid foundation in project management, she hopes to convey the importance of authentic leadership and an always-on agile mindset.
“Thriving is about adapting to the changes we see in the environment,” she says.
Q&A: Toyin Fatubarin on remaining curious and being ready for anything
What’s your project management superpower?
My faith, because it keeps me going at all times. I also understand how to see beyond the curve and ask questions that create clear objectives. This inspires the team to ask even more questions, leading to movement in the right direction.
What moonshot project would you most like to work on?
I’m on board for working on any incredible ideas that make our world better and lives easier.