CELEBRATING WOMEN IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT SERIES
Location: North Sydney, Australia
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Kestrel Stone is a highly qualified and experienced project management expert, with a Masters in Project Management and over 13 years’ experience spanning a wide range of project-based industries.
Kestrel specialises in designing and delivering professional development programs for project personnel; engaging project management communities through bespoke workshops and simulations; and working with clients to assess and uplift organisational capability in project and program management.
Kestrel has built an outstanding reputation as a corporate trainer, combining broad industry experience with deep expertise in vocational education, adult learning, and psychology. Her project management experience ranges from ‘hard’ projects, such as those in Defence, engineering, transport, and construction; through to ‘soft’ (complex adaptive) projects, such as organisational transformations, policy implementations, health, community service, Indigenous, and climate change initiatives.
Through this broad project management experience, Kestrel has developed a practical understanding of how to appropriately tailor project management frameworks, concepts, processes, tools, and techniques, to suit different types of projects in different industries and sectors.
Kestrel has developed and delivered dozens of project and program management training programs, stakeholder workshops, project planning sessions, lectures, industry presentations, and project management simulations across Australia, and overseas. She brings passion, enthusiasm, and professionalism to each engagement and has earned a reputation for exceptional delivery and a warm, approachable style.
In 2012, Kestrel founded Elemental Projects – a Sydney-based consultancy specialising in project, program and portfolio management. She is an adjunct lecturer at ACU and the University of Sydney, and a NSW Chapter Councilor with the Australian Institute of Project Management, where she currently chairs the Professional Advancement portfolio for New South Wales.
Why do you enjoy working in the field of project management?
Working with professionals across industry/gov
What are your greatest achievements as a Project Manager?
Helping people to tailor generic project management tools and frameworks to create an environment in which groups of diverse professionals become high-performing teams with a shared understanding of what needs to be done, the drive to do their part, and a commitment to project success. This is what leads to the achievement of long-term benefits for stakeholders, regardless of whether those benefits are financial, commercial, environmental, or social.
Why is a career as a Project Manager a great choice for women?
Project management is an incredible versatile skill-set, highly valued in most, if not all industries. With the gig-economy emerging, most of the future workforce will work on short-term “gigs” – aka “projects”. This suits professionals who want flexibility and work-life balance, as well as a variety of challenges and experiences throughout their career.
How can women stand out in the field of Project Management?
I think networking is very important. Fortunately, there are plenty of avenues to do this, both face-to-face and digitally, such as industry bodies, meet-ups, corporate groups, mentoring programs, LinkedIn and other platforms that support communities of practice. I also think it’s important to ‘give back’ whenever you can – help causes that you believe in, connect people with each other, partner, collaborate and share.
What are some of the challenges women face as Project Managers?
Unfortunately, caring for children and other family members is still a very real challenge, shouldered disproportionately by women. Staying at the top of your game when you have a breast-feeding infant, school drop-offs and pick-ups, and hours of domestic work on top of paid work is a challenge that many women deal with on a daily basis. Things are definitely changing, which is great, but we need to find a way for work, family duties, rest and relaxation to co-exist in a more sustainable way.
I also think we can create a challenge unnecessarily through our own perception of what it means to be a “professional”, and what is or isn’t ok in the modern workplace. I’ve stopped using the phrase “work-life balance”… I now call it “work-life mush” because I’ve found it’s inefficient to neatly segment those parts of my life – sometimes my kids come to work events, sometimes I put the washing out between telecons, and sometimes I bring the laptop on holidays.
Of course, working mothers aren’t the only women who have challenges – there is still a significant wage gap in Australia, and under-representation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics-based industries, not to mention the challenges that automation will bring for all workers. But with challenges, come opportunities, and project managers are great at leveraging opportunity in uncertain environments!
What can we do to help women to be exceptional Project Managers?
Help each other. Show how you do your work, share good practice, offer to connect people, recommend people, leave good reviews on LinkedIn and Google business pages, talk openly about how you have dealt with challenges, got promotions, got jobs, and got paid more.
Any other comments about Women in Project Management?
Project, program and portfolio management is truly an amazing and inspiring profession, and in my experience women bring so much to the table in terms of capability, capacity, and innovation. I look forward to the day when women participate equally in all industries, and at all levels of leadership, in both commercial and government arenas.
To celebrate International Women’s Day for 2018, I will be sharing the profiles and stories of some incredible women who have flourished in their project management careers. May they inspire you and the women around you to kick goals in the world of project management.
Read more about my ‘Celebrating Women in Project Management’ 50-day series here. Starts February 1, 2018.
Join the conversation!
- Submit your own profile as a PM to be shared and celebrated online!
- #CelebratingWomenInProjectManagement (Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn)