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November 2020 | Across the Board: PMI-SFBAC and the Virtual LIM

The Leadership Institute Management (LIM) meeting is an annual event for PMI chapter leaders and volunteers that allows them to connect with others in PMI’s global network and learn about ideal ways to support the chapter and about the latest PMI updates. The event is typically attended each year by PMI-SFBAC’s board of directors and operations leaders so that we can benefit from seeing what other chapters are doing and also share our experiences on our own lessons learned.

This year’s event definitely had a different feel from the events of the past. Originally planned to be held in Seattle, Washington this year, it moved to a virtual event given the constraints of the pandemic and was condensed into one day instead of the typical three. Regardless, this year’s virtual event did not disappoint. We had an amazing day focused on the future of the project management profession, gained helpful tips on how to navigate the uncertainty of the future given the pandemic, and also benefited from seeing how other project management professionals are driving change in the industry. The event also provided numerous opportunities to virtually network with other leaders and share information.

The keynote address that opened the conference was delivered by Sunil Prashara, president and CEO of PMI, and Tony Appleby, PMI board chair. They emphasized that PMI was in the middle of its transformation journey when the pandemic hit and quickly had to shift gears and strategy to ensure that project management professionals, PMI members, and most importantly, our volunteers, had the tools and support needed to pivot in their existing roles. Another topic they emphasized was the importance of cultivating young leadership in the profession and in chapters as a driver of change. They also covered how to manage expectations after the pandemic given that we have members who may be comfortable going back to events in person, while some preferred a hybrid format and others wanted to stay virtual. The most important takeaway was how project management is not just a career path, but a lifelong skill that benefits individuals in multiple aspects of their lives, not just professionally.

Since the LIM was an opportunity for chapters to network with other leaders and showcase what has been successful in local chapters, we were excited that Vijay Ratthinam, CEO of PMI-SFBAC, led the session titled Creating Diverse, Inclusive and Successful Chapter Teams, which provided an overview of three elements fundamental to achieving this goal: culture, safety, and vision & feedback. As one of the largest chapters in the global network, PMI-SFBAC has consistently had a reputation for cultivating and maintaining exceptional volunteer talent, and Vijay was able to discuss why we are successful in this endeavor. He also highlighted profiles of key volunteers that contributed significantly to the chapter and who continue to grow in leadership roles within the organization.

There were many additional sessions offered that addressed topics such as handling chapter maturity, collaborating in social media, improving diversity and inclusion, and managing budgets. A focus on volunteers was also strong with topics such as how to cultivate volunteer opportunities beyond the chapter and how to prepare for social outreach. Additional sessions that focused on certification discussed updated guidelines and continued development of disciplined agile as a way to optimize business agility.

Overall, there were many takeaways from this year’s LIM that we were able to learn about and share with our colleagues. We all look forward to next year when we can hopefully meet again in person and share the amazing work that we are doing here in PMI-SFBAC.

 

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Stephanie Salazar is a certified project manager (PMP, CSM) with extensive experience leading projects for financial services and IT organizations in the Bay Area and abroad. She spent a significant part of her career managing system implementations and IT projects for microfinance organizations with operations in Latin America, Africa, and Central Asia. She attended UC Berkeley and has a Master of Arts in International Relations and Economics from Johns Hopkins University, SAIS. She is currently a project lead at the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco.

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