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Embracing Wellness & Sustainability in Project Management



As project managers, we constantly strive for efficiency at the project and organizational levels. But do we focus enough on the individual level? Last month, Dr. Harri Emari, PMP, offered an innovative project approach centered on wellness and sustainably just practices. 


Harri possesses an impressive background with a wide and deep array of credentials, certifications, and expertise in many project management domains. Over the years, he has built his own system synthesizing all of his experience, as well as his soft skills, into the Emari System Thinkingto build a Quality Culture Mindset. 




Harris method focuses on the core of organizations: the people. While every organization sets goals, requirements, and priorities, the path to achieving these business objectives is walked by individuals. They interpret these goals through their unique mindset and emotional spectrum, and their behavior significantly impacts the organizations trajectory. Thus, an individuals intellectual and emotional intelligence, skill set, and interpersonal relations become critical for achieving goals. Regardless of the organizations nature, prioritizing people will catalyze innovation and growth, both organizationally and personally. 


Self-care is an important component of Harris system; he suggests tailoring activities such as physical movement, a balanced diet, and meditation — whatever works for the individual or team. These components can give individuals a sense of mindfulness that helps keep them safe while achieving more. As project managers, many of us understand that ensuring mental and physical wellness is a fundamental step toward fostering a healthy and innovative workspace. As an example, our VP of Sustainability, Ina Acuña, leads us in a wellness exercise before every virtual event — something the team really appreciates and that Harri called out as a best practice.  


Harri utilizes an Eight-Dimension Wellness Quality Management model, harmonizing an individuals career, well-being, happiness, and mindfulness with the organizations strategy, operations, leadership, and sustainability. 




The core principles here are holdings (career and strategy), health, happiness, and harmony. These principles are integral both internally (within individuals) and externally (within the organization or community). 


After reviewing this system, the conversation shifted to sustainable thinking, drawing from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) strategies. Sustainability extends beyond immediate environmental considerations; it seeks an optimal balance on the triple bottom lineof people, planet, and profit. This means truly sustainable practices must also promote justice and stewardship. Harris system asks us to look beyond the immediate deliverables and requires system-level thinking to account for the interaction between each part of the triple bottom line. In short, it challenges organizations to foster a Just Culture while meeting project requirements.  


As an attendee, I was astonished by how strongly Harris system resonates with other themes the Green Team explored this year. Harri advocates for a Just Culture where individuals are safe and can thrive. This concept echoed our last event, a screening of the documentary “Offshore,” which examined how we can create Just Transitions to greener energies by helping workers and communities across every stratum touched by the fossil fuel supply chain. 


In May, we hosted an event titled “All About the Green Project Manager,” introducing the GPM-b certification. Harris system parallels core components of that system as well. For example, the GPM focuses on aligning organization goals to build Just Systems where individuals are safe and treated equitably across levels of the project. Harris system utilizes the triple bottom line of People, Planet, and Profitwhereas the GPM builds on those concepts by reframing Profitas Prosperity. 


Harris talk was the perfect close to the first half of 2023, illuminating how integral the concept of justice is on the individual, organizational, and environmental levels. As project managers, we can do more than shape our organizations; we can nurture a Just Culture that advances true sustainability. By positioning ourselves as stewards of wellness we can foster healthier environments that empower innovation and build a better planet — all while delivering superior projects.  As we stride forward in our journey lets ensure we carry these lessons with us, taking good care of ourselves as well as our stakeholders for the well-being of the world we live in. 



About Dr. Harri Emari, PMP 


Dr. Emari is a thought leader, business developer, and educator with over 24 years of experience in Contract Quality Assurance and Construction Project Management. Currently, he works at the SLAC National Laboratory with Stanford University on the Department of Energys major capital asset projects. Dr. Emari is a Civil Engineer with Ph.D. graduate studies in Facility Management and a Doctorate in Business Administration on Strategic Management. He is a life-long learner with a variety of certificates such as the PMP, DASM, CM-BIM, CQM, and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Associate for Sustainability in Green Building. Dr. Emari is active in over 14 initiatives related to his EMARI System Thinking approach on Engineering, Managing, and Reinventing Integration for digital transformation to Building Information Modeling and Metaverse using his Quality Project Management Office Methodology. 



About Doug Hahn 

Doug is a PMP-certified project manager with a strong technical background and an MFA in poetry. He uses language, accountability, and transparency to create meaningful change for his clients. Outside of work, you can find him out on the San Francisco Bay rowing in a whaleboat.  



Watch this Event & Earn PDUs:

To access this recording, email us at sustainability@pmisfbac.org to request a recording and earn PDUs. 


Learn More About Quality PMOs:

- Wellness Quality Management Community 

- Construction Quality Management Community 

- Human Performance Improvement Handbook 



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