CELEBRATING WOMEN IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT SERIES
Location: Leicester, UK
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Samantha Blunt is the Head of the Portfolio Management Office at Samworth Brothers; a group of food manufacturing companies spread across the UK. Samantha has been working in the PMO industry for 10 years now and has been involved or overseen successful implementations of governance in the form of Project, Programme and Portfolio Offices.
Samantha has worked closely with the APM PMO SIG over the years as her innovative approach to both the introduction, management and measurement of PMOs helps her to lead the way with a collaborative style.
Why do you enjoy working in the field of project management?
Variety – no two days are ever the same.
What are your greatest achievements as a Project Manager?
My current role, being a Head of a PMO allows me to use all the skills I have acquired over the years. I can be supportive and act as a coach when needed but I can also bring control and leadership to a situation if required. I also get to bring a different perspective to Leadership meetings that don’t have many other female voices in the room.
Why is a career as a Project Manager a great choice for women?
Because you are responsible for your own diary it allows you (if you have a good employer) to work flexible hours around other commitments. I know that for me, being a Mum, is job number one but a career in Project Management allows me to show that other side of me and progress within my chosen field.
How can women stand out in the field of Project Management?
For me, it’s about being yourself and allowing your natural abilities to shine through whilst working on your development areas. I think women, naturally, are keen to improve on any gaps that they have but this should’t mean that you dampen down many of the things that you are good at.
If you are bossy in nature, tackle the big demanding projects that require someone to keep pushing for results. If, however, you prefer to coach and develop people in Project Management then a role within a PMO might be right up your street.
The benefit of working in Project Management is that there isn’t a ‘one size fits all mentality’. The organisation and the role that you pick should be the one that suits you best.
What are some of the challenges women face as Project Managers?
I think the challenges we face are the same as any man might face. Slashing the size of your budget, not enough resource to go around or people trying to add scope to your already stretched timelines. Be strong, present the facts and be passionate but don’t get emotional about decisions that have to be made.
What can we do to help women to be exceptional Project Managers?
With any of the roles within Project Management available to us, select the one that is right for you. Be encouraging of our colleagues and champion each others achievements. If we belittle or dampen the work of other women, we only end up hurting ourselves.
Any other comments about Women in Project Management?
PMO’s are a great space to start within Project Management and allow you to experience the good, the bad and the ugly of how projects can be run. This can give you a great footing to either develop further within a PMO or move in to a PM role. Don’t dismiss the many different roles that could make your career within the Project Management field.
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!
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