Emily, what is your background and how did you get into project management?
My background is very much non-traditional! I have studied German and History at University and only really started a formal education in Project Management when I
entered work but before that, I’ve always had an interest in Project Management. I’m definitely what you can consider to be a ‘careerist’ Project Manager (as opposed to someone who is first an
engineer and transitions into Project Management).
What would you advise somebody with an untraditional Project Management background to get up to speed quickly in Project
Look at your local PMI Chapter or consider volunteering to be able to gather the
necessary experience to start getting Project Management jobs. There are some great initiatives out there that are
looking for people with a passion for projects. I’d also consider getting yourself a mentor or coach to be able to help you if you run into issues.
You have dedicated a lot of your time to volunteering. How did you benefit from that professionally and
I’ve been an active volunteer with the PMI since 2011 when I became certified as I wanted to give back to the community but also widen my professional network.
Volunteering has opened many doors and opportunities to me and is one reason why I’m employed against other Project Managers at interviews. On a personal level, I’ve met some incredibly inspiring
people who I can now call friends and they continue to inspire me both professionally and personally.
What does volunteering mean for you in the broader picture?
Volunteering isn’t just about helping out at events or supporting your chapter, it’s about opening a dialogue with other Project Managers and giving yourself the
platform to explore new ideas, new opportunities and possibilities. Volunteering was a means for me to maintain my PMP Credential but it soon turned into something way more valuable!
You have a blog on project management
- what do you like to share with your readers in a nutshell?
I like to share experiences and what life is like as a Project Manager. This includes issues that I’ve had in my project but also issues I’ve seen in the workplace.
One of the most important articles that I had feedback / comments on was about the gender divide in Project Management and how it
affects how we run projects and how female project managers can be empowered to move into higher positions in Project Management.
Why do you think diversity is so important in Project Management?
I’ve always worked in an international environment and one which has always been filled with different nationalities, cultures and opinions for how to do things and I honestly love it! I love learning about other cultures and how others work for how I can improve and make myself more effective at my job.
I’ve also seen both sides of the diversity divide from active discrimination to more passive forms of discrimination against gender / race and ethnicity. Having a diversified project team and working with other project managers can truly open your mind-set to an alternative way of working. For me, I enjoy working with a mixing pot of cultures and always find something new to learn!
A fully diversified working environment allows us the opportunity to bring the best people in to work on our projects.
What do you personally like about project management?
I really like being able to help others and being able to add value. I really enjoy the projects where I can see the difference that is being made and it can be anything from improving users efficiencies to supporting initiatives for social good.
Project Management is in my blood. I’ve been running projects since before I knew they were projects (e.g. school activities, activities within University etc.) and I love being able to do something that I enjoy and get a lot of energy from.