Donna Kirk Celebrating Women in Project Management

Donna Slater Celebrating Women in Project Management

Donna Slater


Location: Brisbane, Australia

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Accidental Project Manager with a background in sales & marketing along with client-side management from various sectors including construction/manufacturing/services. I’m now working to promote, advocate and support project managers across Queensland through AIPM.

What I enjoy most about being a project manager is:

As a connector of people, I meet people just going about their business, creating amazing outcomes! Something someone told me a long time ago was ‘Donna, don’t wait to be the CEO to know you can influence & make a difference’, project managers can and do this almost every day!

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

Energy especially when a project isn’t meeting its outcomes.

Connecting people with the necessary skill sets for various components of the project.

Communication Communication Communication! So often we talk or email to be heard and its overrun with agendas or other peoples priorities. Finding ways to connect and listen is my first step in communication.

I build and nurture my professional network by:

Being authentic, being me and encouraging others to do the same. Having only lived in Australia for just on 6 years now and being a mum of 2 young men, one of which has special needs, finding time to attend events can be a challenge. I’ve found reaching out and connecting via LinkedIn, then by phone then looking for opportunities to meet in person has helped build my network.

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

That Project Management was a career and one didn’t necessarily require a degree for skills to be recognised I would have applied for those other jobs sooner and understood my abilities and skill set sooner.

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

Former NZ Prime Minister Ms Helen Clark for her energy, compassion, and ability to keep it real despite her leadership roles.

Karen Boyes for her determination at getting things over the line regardless of the roadblocks.

The most valuable advice I have ever been given is:

Stick to your core principles & maintain your integrity by doing the right thing even when its tough.

This was tough when a former boss, a great guy was stealing from the company. I was young however knew it wasn’t OK however didn’t quite know the best way to deal with it. Talking with a senior manager offsite resulted in investigations and my boss was let go.

I was seen as a nark by most of the remaining team as they benefited from the theft and it was a dark period of going to work each day listening to the ridicule, having my work thwarted at every opportunity.

It was a card from the CEO that said, “Donna thank you. Your honest & integrity will take you a long way” stuck with me as did the advice & support from another Manager who took me under her wing and helped me become the next manager which provided a different set of challenges in managing people who literally hated me!

Sometimes doing the right thing is hard but you do it anyway. It hasn’t always been a great outcome financially, but I can look my children in the eye and know it was right.

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

Asking for assistance is not a weakness – it is a strength, and with all strengths, just because you have it doesn’t mean you should use it all the time…

Find ‘your line in the sand’, be it personal or work. be confident with that especially in negotiations. Knowing how far you will step forward or back can help you better achieve what you want and less likely to just accept what is given.


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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