January 2019 Print

Across the Board -- Supercharge Your Skills

Supercharge Your Skills: Volunteer for a Professional

Non Profit Such as PMI 


Through coaching young professionals and being approached by students with questions on the project and program management field, the same questions tend to pop up:

“'How can I learn more about what project managers do and what fields are there?'

‘How can I make my resume more attractive to recruiters for a project management role or similar?’

Students tend to think that if they take more project management courses or send more job applications, eventually someone will respond with an interview request. The truth is that the market is hot for talent that can combine project management with technical expertise, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area where I live. Volunteering is a great way to give but also to receive (in experience that is). Such is the case when you volunteer with a professional organization such as the Project Management Institute (PMI). I would like to tell you about my experience volunteering for PMI in the San Francisco Bay Area chapter in the hopes of answering some of the questions presented above.


Back in 2011, I met a few technology consultants who really impressed me with their skills and expertise solving problems at various client sites. Looking into their backgrounds, project management was showcased as a major skill to have to opt for consulting roles. Soon I discovered that a lot of management roles required project management experience. These were major forces that drove me to want to learn more about project management. I found that volunteering was an excellent way to give to the professional community while at the same time learning about the field more.

Here are my top 3 reasons for why you should volunteer with a non-profit professional organization such as PMI:


1.   Grow your Professional Network:

Through interacting with volunteers and speakers and attending various PMI SF events, I got to meet a lot of experienced project managers. I got to learn about what project managers do in other areas such as finance, pharma, and technology. At that time, I also wanted to learn more about doing consulting work. I remember meeting PMI chapter members who worked for consulting firms such as IBM and Accenture. They provided a wealth of knowledge on how the life of a consultant was and what kind of experiences I would be exposed to. Their input helped me understand what I was getting into before I decided to take the plunge and join a consulting firm myself a few years later.


2.   Get First Hand Experience:

When I started volunteering for PMI San Francisco back in 2011, various opportunities were available to choose from. I chose to work in the Event Program Management team where the volunteer coordinates the chapter’s events from beginning to end including speaker and venue contracts, logistics, and financials. Soon we discovered that there were no standard processes and templates the team used, so I volunteered to create them to help us have consistency in planning, executing, and closing. Eventually, the number of events for the chapter started increasing and I stepped in to become the Manager for the Event Program Management team. I had direct experience growing, training, and coaching the team of volunteers through the processes I created and working with them to continually improve it. I also got involved in developing metrics for measuring event performance to find improvement areas. Volunteers can get outside their comfort zone by stepping into roles that they may not have experience in. Due to the nature of a non-profit organization, there is always work to be done and not enough hands to do them.


3.   Gain Leadership Skills:

In 2014, I took a break from volunteering for the chapter since my new job required weekly travel. I continued to be connected with the chapter through participating as an election committee member, screening candidates for different positions. Around 2011, PMI San Francisco chapter started transitioning into a Policy Governance Model in which there is a separation between operations and the Board of Directors in service of the members. Having spent years in the operational side of the chapter, I considered that volunteering as part of an elected member for the Board of Directors would be an amazing experience to extend my abilities and get out of my comfort zone. I joined the PMI SF chapter Board of Directors in early 2018. I love that I am learning about a new aspect of the chapter and from other experienced board members.


We often think that volunteering is giving time and effort for a cause but in volunteering for a professional organization you also gain in professional experience, new skills, and network.

If you want to learn how you can get involved with PMI San Francisco Chapter look here.

Paloma Mejia is a PMP, CSM, PMI-SFBAC Board member

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Building Relationships To Support Diversity and Inclusion - 2019 Region 7 Leadership Summit in SF

“Building Relationships To Support Diversity and Inclusion”

is this year’s theme for the 2019 Region 7 Leadership Summit.  Only two months away to this amazing 3-day event on March 14 through March 16 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in the heart of the vibrant city of San Francisco.

Register now for the best registration and hotel rates:

The REGION 7 SUMMIT is open to all PMI Chapter Volunteer Members across Region 7.

Join us!  You won't want to miss this.

  • Nathan Mellin, PMP - Region 7 Summit Co-Chair
  • Anup Deshpande, PMP, ACP - Region 7 Summit Co-Chair
  • John Jones, PMP, Region 7 Mentor 2019

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SFBAC Mentorship Program - Volunteers Needed

Volunteers Needed for Mentorship Pilot Program

We are fortunate to have a large number of experienced Project Managers at our Chapter.  In an effort to proactively help our Chapter Members to grow and succeed at their profession, we are developing a Mentorship program to connect some of our experienced project managers with next generation PMs.

A pilot program will start on January 21 and run through the end of February.  We are looking for volunteers who can enroll as Mentor or Mentee to actively take part in this pilot program and provide feedback.

Each volunteer should spend at least 2 hours during this period with his or her Mentor/Mentee and additional 1 hour with Mentorship team to share his or her experience. If you are interested in helping us during the pilot program, please follow the link below :



For more guidelines and highlights about the program:

If you have any questions, please reach out to the Mentorship Team:

Prabhu Gopalan [email protected] 

Tim Graham  [email protected]

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January 2019 Events

January calendar of events

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat

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Meet Your New Newsletter Editor(s)

Please welcome Cynthia Estalilla as our new Newsletter Editor. Cynthia began contributing to our publication in 2018. Cynthia is the Vice President, Client Service Manager, for Investment & Fiduciary Services (IFS), Wealth Management Group at Wells Fargo.  Cynthia manages a team of Investment & Fiduciary Services associates, servicing high-net-worth clients within the San Francisco region.

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Golden Gate University with a concentration in human resources management.  She is a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM®) and is currently pursuing her Project Management Professional (PMP®) designation.

She is a member of the Project Management Institute, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, the Project Management Community of Practice for Wells Fargo, Society for Human Resources Management and the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association. Her hobbies and interests include reading, boating and fishing, listening to 80’s music, watching tennis and football and playing billiards.  She has a new-found passion for yoga and practices meditation daily. 

Having gotten to know Cynthia a bit over the last year as we worked on the newsletter, I can tell you that our publication is in good hands! She is a skilled communicator, so please reach out to her with any questions, comments or suggestions at [email protected]. I look forward to working with her throughout the year as part of the chapter’s Marketing-Volunteering-Membership Team.

Michael McMorrow is Director of Volunteer Management, PMI-SFBAC.

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Volunteer Opportunities

  • Do you need PDUs?
  • Want great networking opportunities?
  • Learn and practice new skills?
  • Make new friends?


The PMI SF Bay Area Chapter is always looking for volunteers! Email us at [email protected] to get started.

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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 [email protected].

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