<< Back

An Interview with Ina Acuña, VP of Sustainability




What do you hope other people will get out of the membership experience or the PMP courses?

It opens doors, you know, both the membership and the certification. That was how I transitioned my career, by getting the PMP. And I think the network that is there for us is really powerful. I'd say I've gotten three career-changing jobs through people that I've met at PMI events. I hope people feel welcome to connect with other members. Just relax and be yourself, and you will make an impact on others.

But other than that, I think that the community is really great. We meet so many people who are interested in similar things. We're interested in the welfare of the planet and all the inhabitants here on this planet. So it's a uniting factor, being part of something greater than yourself.

And if it weren't for the volunteers, there would be no chapter, so please remember and appreciate that! I just think it's really interesting- all the different kinds of people that you meet, that you get to know with the events, as you're seeing each other again and again and again.

The San Francisco Bay Area Chapter is the 15th largest chapter in the world and will be celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. What do you think makes this chapter unique? What do you think are some of the greatest achievements that this chapter has made?

Well, the Sustainability Program, of course, makes it unique. 50 percent of what we do for sustainability is social and environmental impact, and the other 50 percent is learning from sustainability experts.

What else is unique about it? I think the number of people that we have here in the Bay Area makes it unique. We're not just one city. People that are in this area also have a common bond as well, being from their own towns, but also part of the Greater Bay Area.

We're really active too. We have a lot of people coming to our events. And I don't know if it's the content or just the way that we're working together with the marketing team. I think we're doing something well. We are in this unique position where there's so many different neighboring cities that people from all over flock to to check out the different venues and events.
The chapter is a really exciting opportunity for people to come together and connect. 

Looking back 50 years, I'd come back to the support and interest in having a Sustainability Program. Vijay Ratthinam, the CEO in 2019, said, "let's reboot the Green Project Management Series as the Sustainability Program and make you the director!". He was so supportive in letting me do what I envisioned. That was when we added the social impact, which we call stewardship events.

For the first time, we received 100% support from the board and from our CEO for all the Sustainbility initiatives that we planned for the year. I just feel like there's been so much progress in the last five years in that direction.
Can you speak more about the impacts of the sustainability program and the types of initiatives that you've led?

I don't know if you're familiar with the Global Compact that PMI has with the United Nations. It supports the 17 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. Many of which have specific targets to reach by 2030. We do align all of the Sustainability initiatives with those goals, with an emphasis on Reducing Inequalities, Climate Action, and Sustainble Cities/Communities.

For example, this Saturday, we have an initiative to remove invasive species from the Loma Mar Redwoods in a joint event with the Silicon Valley chapter. We're making sure that the native plants can grow there instead of invasive plants.

We're partnering with the East Bay Housing Organization for two different events this year centered around affordable housing.
We have a lot of sustainable city initiatives, cleanup events that are now annual such as the watershed cleanups that we do with Living Arroyos. And this year, we'll also doing a soup kitchen which is aligned with Reducing Inequalities and Zero Hunger.

Zero Hunger is just one of the many goals for the U.N. I recommend that you go to our webpage to get access to articles that people have written about our past events and which sustainable development goals they're supporting.


Popular posts

View the archives

Leadership, Networking & Professional Development