I have always been an advocate for volunteering especially when the cause is close to my heart. This year is not any different. I continue to volunteer with Project Management Institute (PMI) as I join the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion global team. A team that is formally set up for the first time to support the institute’s commitment to raising the bar in this area.

After 2 years of Covid restrictions, PMI hosted the face to face global volunteers leadership summit in Orlando Florida. 170 people from all over the world got invited and almost 144 made it to the conference hall in person. The conference was jam packed with topics that are meaningful and puts focus into all the community’s minds on what needs to happen next.

In this blog, I will share my highlights of the conference and express my PMIwhy (the reason I volunteer with the institute).

Conference check in

I volunteer with PMI because I want to be part of the change and evolution of my own profession. I want to have my say. #PMIwhy

How volunteering is part of the Business Model

When you are a smaller organisation with a large footprint, you need to be creative with your outreach. At PMI, the model they use is the model of volunteer leadership. They have a team of creative capable employees and partners who help bring products and services to the market. They engage with volunteers from across the globe to gather feedback, insights, shape up ideas, and test products. The volunteers are members of the institute. This means that the passion and commitment is already a given.

Volunteering Business Model

I volunteer because PMI’s success is my success. #PMIwhy

Global Volunteers Summit Highlights

For more than 2 years, PMI and its volunteers have been working virtually. All connection is via an online engagement; that includes meetings, brainstorming, webinars, workgroups, etc.. With covid restrictions easing off, and an appetite to have face to face interactions, PMI hosted the first summit in person, Global Volunteers Summit by Leadership Institute. Here are the highlights of the conference:

  • Project Management Institute 4.0 Strategy: A panel discussion by the Executive Leadership with audience Q&A
  • Leading PMI into the Future: A panel discussion by execs and board members with audience Q&A
  • The Fourth Option: a workshop on bringing and assessing new ideas
  • Culture Journey: a workshop to assess PMI culture: by PMI for PMI
  • On the Hot Seat: a quick 5 min questions fired at members of the audience to get to the know them
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI): a workshop to raise awareness on micro-aggression and its impact on projects
  • Music Paradigm: an interactive session with an orchestra on the power of trust and leadership

I volunteer because a diverse team; diverse in thought, culture, background, and experience; opens up the horizon to implementing meaningful initiatives that makes change engaging. #PMIwhy

This was the first Global Volunteer Summit I attend. Like any conference, I was attending with a bit of apprehension of what/how/who will make this conference. I was impressed by the thought and effort that has gone into making this conference a meaningful reality. The agenda was well planned and topics were placed in a logical sequence that helped me build on each topic. The gathering of all teams from all over the world added an immense value, especially as breakouts and discussions continued on shaping up the future of project management. And the commitment to DEI within the institute and the profession was clearly visible. I am part of the DEI global team helping PMI shape up what toolkits and deployment strategy the institute should have in the area. The team was founded Jan 2022, and to have the topic on the agenda, having us facilitate breakout sessions after the keynote speaker demonstrates the leadership commitment.

And with this, I will share with you my true highlight of the conference and my final PMIwhy:

The true highlight for me is meeting the DEI team face to face after 3 months of online meetings and DEI workshops. The team was already trying to form and establish working grounds. Meeting everyone in person meant that I can understand and engage with the little cultural nuances each one of us brings to the table. Our team is from the USA, UK, Switzerland, Pakistan, Canada, South Africa and Australia, and many of us have another cultural dimension to the countries listed above. To say it is a joy and an honour to work with all of them would be an understatement.

Because the energy and sense of excitement that comes out of putting all our passion into the same pot is an unquantifiable value! #PMIwhy

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