Adriana Girdler Celebrating Women in Project Management

Adriana Girdler Celebrating Women in Project Management

Adriana Girdler


Location: Burlington, Canada

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People ask me all the time what an efficiency officer is and the answer is simple. I help both people and organizations do what they do – better. I’m a productivity specialist, entrepreneur, professional speaker, facilitator, visioning wizard, and author. Since founding CornerStone Dynamics in 2008, I’ve been cited as Canada’s foremost business productivity expert. I’ve been featured and quoted in radio and online television, newspapers and leading-edge trade magazines. I’m a TedX speaker, Huff Post and Thrive Global contributor. I’ve appeared on Global, CBC, CTV, CHCH, 680News Radio, Newstalk 1010, Sirius XM and been published in The Globe and Mail and numerous industry magazines. My expertise is based on years of schooling and real life experiences. I’m a certified Master Black Belt Lean Six Sigma and carry both PMP (Project Management Professional) and CET (Certified Engineering Technologist) designations. I completed my Foundations of Applied Mindfulness Certification at the University of Toronto in July 2017.

What I enjoy most about being a project manager is:

When I think of my experience running many types of projects, both large and small, it’s the consistency of the tools, methodology and dedication to execute those projects in a very structured and systematic way that have led to my project success over the years. It means when things veer off course, I can call upon my experience and project tools to get my team and the project back on track. It feels good to know whatever problem the project experiences, we can fix it. Ultimately, we will be successful. I’m very passionate about project management because I have seen time and time again that when projects are run properly and use the PMI guidelines, how successful they are.

The three most important skills I use to successfully deliver projects are:

The first one would be communication; you can’t communicate too much on a project. If you’re going to be a great project manager, you even need to over-communicate. My golden rule is that I never say things once. It just ensures that everyone is on the same page and no one misses critical information required for the project to be successful.

It’s always important to inspire your team. I like to do this by bringing some fun into the project; introducing a mascot and creating an inspiration statement are some examples of how to do this. When there’s something inspiring the team, they are brought together and the project becomes truly enjoyable.

I believe in flexibility and open-mindedness as a project manager. Sometimes, when we’re in checklist mode, it becomes “my way or the highway” but that is not going to work for a successful project. If you want to really empower your team, you need to be flexible. While there are some fundamental things that I don’t negotiate on, there are other things I’m very flexible on; I always listen to the team.

I build and nurture my professional network by:

I build and nurture my professional network by reaching out to people via email and/or phone call. I love using social media platforms to connect as well from a professional standpoint – especially LinkedIn. However, I believe that it’s not just about reaching out when we want something but connecting outside of that as well. I send out gratitude to those I meet because I’m a big believer in gratitude. Doing this ensures a positive and nurtured professional network.

At the start of my career, the one thing I wish I had known is:

At the start of my career, I wish I’d understood that everything is a stepping stone you can learn from. I didn’t realize the connectivity of everything; I thought it was all black and white. The more experienced I get, the more I realize how connected everything is, which is why I always tell people not to burn bridges and to learn from every opportunity. When I look back, I can see all my stepping stones that got me to where I am now; I wish I’d been confident in everything from the start. Now that I am, I love the wisdom I have today and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Women who have inspired me so far in my career journey are:

A few women have truly inspired me in my life and my career; both individuals I’ve met and others that are well-known. Maya Angelou is the first that comes to mind; she is a brilliant woman of wisdom. I admire her thought process and her ability to learn from situations and persevere through challenges she’s faced. Oprah Winfrey is someone who followed her heart, and Naomi Wolf’s books have empowered me. As well, there are women I’ve met over the years who are professional executives who have had to climb the corporate ladder. Throughout their careers, they’ve remained true to who they are, which is something I really admire.

The most valuable advice I have ever been given is:

The most valuable advice I’ve received has been linked to spirituality and the soul – simply to be in the present moment. To live in the past is to not appreciate what we have and it keeps us stuck, which doesn’t allow for growth. To only think of the future is to forget to enjoy the moments we have right now. The power of now is real and is powerful. This advice has grounded me and given me peace which has allowed me to live the life that I love living at this moment.

My advice for women on finding success as a project manager is:

In no particular order, there are 3 pieces of advice that I believe are critical to follow if you want to be a successful project manager. One is to get your PMP designation – it opens up the doors to any industry and it is great practice. Similarly, get as much experience running different projects as possible and learn the common threads of project management success amongst them. Lastly, you can be strong and tough as a project manager… but be fair and respectful as well. You need people to follow your format and structure but you also want to think about accomplishing overall success for the whole team.


Hello amazing women of the project management world!

My observation after two decades of working in the project management industry is that our voices as women are simply not heard enough online in articles, podcasts, and across social media channels. Let’s change that!

  1. If you’re a woman working in project management, I want to hear from you! Submit your profile today to make sure to be included in this years event which has already begun.
  2. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn to be inspired by daily posts as we celebrate all of these wonderful women in project management! Feel motivated by their stories, achievements and perspectives.
  3. Tell us how you feel and support other women by including #CelebratingWomenInProjectManagement in your social media posts.
  4. Join our FREE exclusive Celebrating Women in Project Management Facebook group – a new space for women in project management to come together and discuss ideas, give advice, provide support, and network with women from all over the globe.



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