CELEBRATING WOMEN IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT 2020 SERIES
Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands
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My career as a project manager started when I decided to move to Shanghai to find a job, right after graduating from my master’s. This choice was a big leap of faith for me, but I saw Shanghai as a city with great opportunities where I could grow and learn quickly. Almost ten years down the road, I can say that time proved me right. I have met amazing people, learned valuable lessons, and my life has been a great journey ever since. I was part of a Swedish consulting start-up, built incredible exhibition stands around the world for Fortune 500 companies, and created unique learning experiences for a private education multinational. These diverse opportunities taught me what is at the core of project management, which ultimately remained the same across industries.
Projects and circumstances change, working in different environments taught me to think outside the box, be flexible, and find the right approach. Most importantly, all these experiences allowed me to improve my communication skills, one of the most critical skills in project management. I’d recommend to anyone starting a career in project management to work in learning how to adjust your communication style depending on the situation and the audience.
In the end, this around-the-world adventure prepared me for my current job and thrilling challenge back in my home country, The Netherlands. Here, I am part of the exciting task of formalizing project management through the organisation, building good practices that streamline corporate acquisitions and process improvements, among others.
What is your project management super power?
I can easily spot the connections between different things and see you how every piece fits in the bigger picture. This allows me to help others and bring order in their chaos.
How can gender diversity be improved in the project management profession?
The key to improving gender diversity is by opening up the conversation to both parties. By putting it on the table for discussion and creating a safe environment for dialogue we can remove the stigma that goes with the topic and find a solution together. Too often it is seen as a woman’s issue, only if we make it a people issue we can overcome this.
As the profession evolves, what skills do you think will be key for future success?
The skill to manage projects remotely with an international team will become more and more important. As we move to a global world without borders, our projects will do the same. Having the skill to manage all the different pieces and people remotely, and adapting your communication skills depending on the person you are communicating with is therefore becoming an essential skill.
How do you recover from difficult situations?
The moment I find myself in a difficult situation, I usually take a mental step back and a deep breath. Time has taught me that worrying in these situations doesn’t help, and the best thing is to ensure you keep a clear mind and find out what you can do to improve the situation. Once the situation is passed, it makes sense to take a better look at what caused the situation and how you can avoid making the same mistake in the future.
What are your tips and techniques for conflict resolution?
I’ve found that conflict doesn’t usually necessary stem from someone disagreeing with you or not wanting to collaborate. Usually the other “side” is just passionate about their work and wants to protect the results on their side. By being open and trying to understand where the conflict comes from you can usually find a solution that works for all parties. Or you might even find out that there was no conflict to begin with, and it was a simple result of miscommunication.
Which 3 words best describe why you enjoy being a project manager?
People, variety and challenge.
Hello amazing women of the project management world! My Celebrating Women in Project Management Series highlights your stories to inspire others, raise the profile of women in the project management profession, and to further strengthen our global network.
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