May 2019 Print

Across the Board: NextGen Leaders and the PMI-SFBAC

Organizations that want to be successful in the long term always have proactive plans, invest in grooming future talent internally, and create the model to retain this groomed talent. The Project Management Institute's San Francisco Bay Area Chapter (PMI-SFBAC) is one of the chapters that provide the perfect incubator for Next Generation (NextGen) leaders to develop their leadership skills before they join the real world of the project management profession. Recently, the chapter implemented the Academic Outreach program that recruited for NextGen volunteers, created a NextGen Board of Directors and Executive Operations positions, and gave opportunities to bring fresh and innovative ideas to the chapter while nurturing coordination, organization, management, and leadership skills.

As a matter of fact, the SFBAC chapter was the host for the 2019 Region 7 leadership summit, which was held March 14 to 16. The theme of the conference was "Building Relationships to Support Diversity and Inclusion." Referring to my two-year experience as a volunteer in the chapter, I can confidently say that this is not only the theme of the conference, but also a kind of mission statement that this chapter has embranced to attract the volunteers of different generations and backgrounds. We NextGen leaders are diverse, young members; however, the chapter has included us in all different layers of the organization from the volunteer to the Board of Director roles. It is a great honor for me to be elected to the NextGen Board of Directors for one year. Therefore I would like to share the following key takeaways and success factors of the chapter's NextGen program.

Who are NextGen leaders?

NextGen leaders, aka "Emerging Professionals," are an instrumental part of the chapter's leadership pipeline. They will be the people leading the chapter to future success. In order to be NextGen leaders, they must be students working toward their first bachelor's or master's degree. In addition, they must serve as volunteers in the chapter's operations or Board based on their interests, professional goals, and the chapter's needs. Per PMI Global, the age of the NextGen leader is below 40 years old.

NextGen leaders' roles

In order to accelerate the development of future leaders, PMI-SFBAC has created three major roles that NextGen leaders can represent: NextGen volunteer, NextGen Executive Operations, and NextGen Board of Directors. Hence, it can be clearly seen that our chapter has addressed the roles of NextGen in all three levels of the organization: Tactical Execution, Operational, and Strategic.

NextGen involvement in chapter activities

NextGen leaders can get involved in several chapter events. The big event in which they can fully participate and contribute their leadership, organization, and event coordination skills is the Annual General Meeting, aka the "Member Appreciation Day." This is an annual event usually held in the second or third quarter of the year. The second big event is the International Project Managers Professional Development Day (IPM PDD). Since it is a full day event, NextGen leaders have numerous opportunities to take part and can contribute something to the success of the event. Finally, there are several monthly and evening events where NextGen leaders can demonstrate their relevant skills and expertise.

Aside from the SFBAC chapter events, the most successful events entirely organized by the NextGen leaders are the Region 7 NextGen Leadership Virtual Meetings. These meetings are monthly networking and educational opportunities for project management students who are starting their career as project management professionals. The purpose of the meeting is to transfer knowledge and experience to the new generation and engage project management students in their local chapters, network with other project management students, and provide information about the project management profession and related work in the Region.

What do NextGen leaders bring?

By giving opportunities to the NextGen leaders, fresh perspectives and different ways of thinking with great enthusiasm, productivity, adaptability, and agility can be achieved and sustained not only in the chapter, but also in the project management profession. In addition, the average age of PMI members can be lowered by promoting roles within NextGen leadership.

All in all, it was a great pleasure and honor for me to be part of this fun community. I have heard project managers proudly say "Good things happen when you get involved with PMI" and I believe it is definitely true. On top of this, I would like to add a little twist: "Exciting things happen when the NextGens get involved with PMI."


Thi Han is an active volunteer and current NextGen Board of Directors of PMI San Francisco Bay Area Chapter. Furthermore, he also volunteers in the GGU PM Club as the VP of Finance. He is passionate about building the network among the students, NextGen leaders and the experienced PM professionals in the Chapter and the Region 7 areas.

He graduated with B.Arch (Bachelor of Architecture) from Yangon Technological University, and has over 13 years of working experience in Project Coordination, Construction Management, Architectural Planning, Engineering Design and Graphic Design in Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore and the United States.

PMI-SFBAC is also pleased to announce that Thi is graduating with his Master of Science in Project Management (MS PM) this year from Golden Gate University. He can be reached at

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Tyrone Navarro Receives 2017-2018 Outstanding Chapter President Award

Pictured at center: Tyrone Navarro holding the award
Left: Nathan Mellin, PMP, PMI-SFBAC Past President 2018-19
Right: Anup Deshpande, PMP, PMI-ACP, current PMI-SFBAC President 2019-20

The Project Management Institute® has recently awarded Tyrone Navarro, PMP, our own past Board President (2017-18), an award with deep appreciation for his visionary guidance and leadership. Our chapter will be indebted to his efforts for years to come. This picture depicts our chapter’s rich culture of being blessed with active engagement from multiple past presidents supporting our current endeavors.

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Recognize This!

Each month, PMI-SFBAC volunteers are nominated to receive the volunteer of the month Star Award for his/her outstanding contributions and service to the Chapter.  Amongst those nominated, a winner is selected. The winner is awarded a $25 gift card.

Congratulations to our Star Award Winner!

Khaled Turkmani, VP, Professional Development

Thank you for your exceptional contributions!

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Calendar of Events

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More upcoming events!



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Meet Your New Newsletter Editor(s)

I am pleased to introduce to you our new newsletter editors, Sheena Chen and Paloma Mejia.

Sheena graduated from UC Berkeley with a bachelor's and a master's in Public Health. She did reporting and freelance writing from high school through college, and her first job out of college was a technical writer for a small Oakland-based software company. Sheena developed her project management skills during her time at Kaiser Permanente, and earned her CAPM in 2014. After leaving Kaiser, she worked at a few healthcare-focused organizations including athenahealth Inc. and the California Department of Public Health. She earned her PMP in 2018 and has been a senior project manager with Delta Dental of California since July 2018. What Sheena enjoys most about being a project manager are creating useful documentation and helping optimize workflows. Over the years, she has enjoyed various hobbies including lifeguarding, volunteering, and singing for a band. She recently joined the Yelp elite squad, a group of enthusiastic business reviewers for the Yelp website that participate in community-organized parties and other events.

Many of you may already know Paloma. She has been a volunteer with the chapter since 2011. She has had roles on the operational side as well as being part of the Board of Directors most recently. Paloma has also been a frequent contributor to our chapter’s newsletter, writing various articles of significant value to our chapter members. She currently works as a program manager and engineer at Facebook, Inc. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Golden Gate University, teaching analytics courses in the Masters of Business Analytics program. She also coaches students one on one to pass the PMP and CAPM exams in her free time. Paloma lives in the East Bay with her husband and 6-month old daughter.

I am thrilled at the contributions that these two very talented and experienced chapter volunteers has to contribute to the newsletter going forward. Please join me in welcoming them and in providing any input that you have to offer to continue the success of the newsletter for the benefit of our project management community.

Cynthia Estalilla is former Newsletter Editor and a newsletter contributor since 2018. She currently serves as the COO of the PMI-SFBAC chapter. 

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Got Input?

Have an idea or feedback? Want to write an article for PDU credit? Need to promote a chapter event?

Contact us at

  • Editor: Sheena Chen
  • Editor: Paloma Mejia
  • PMI-SFBAC CEO: Vijay Ratthinam,

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