2024 Symposium Speakers Featured in PM Point of View Podcasts

Eight of our 2024 Project Management Symposium speakers were featured in PM Point of View podcasts, an audio podcast that looks at project management from all the angles.

The first podcast, People in Projects at the UMD PM Symposium 2024, was released March 1st and focuses on the intersection between people and projects, and the business value of mentorship.

Host Kendall Lott, president and CEO of M Powered Strategies, delves into these topics with three presenters of the 2024 Symposium: Kevin Coleman, a visionary leader and the founder and CEO of KMC Empowerment, John Eskander, a seasoned professional in project controls at Exelon and graduate of the UMD PM program, and Meah-Ali, a manager of construction services at the National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago.

Kevin’s presentation and podcast interview on “Resilient Leadership In Project Management!” discusses the principles and insight involved in the process of becoming a leader.  These are elements that people can use to refine their leadership skills regardless of what profession they’re in. Attendees will discover the true definition of leadership. Leadership is not management, but rather influence and it’s not something someone is born with. Hence, leadership is a skill that everyone can learn. It’s not a matter of just managing people if you can’t get them to listen to and follow you. As a leader, you make the decisions and others will follow – you paint the vision, and they will back you up. Leaders take charge because they are depended on by others.

Through John Eskander’s presentation, “Developing Young Professionals in the Field of Project Mangement” and interview, listeners will learn about the importance of developing young professionals in the field of project management. He highlights the large demand for project managers and the need to start training PMs at younger ages to bring them into the work force. By covering Exelon’s new recruiting strategy, John walks through the steps used for this development process. The first strategy was to explain the relation between the one project the associate PM is working on and the bigger picture of the organization, because seeing the bigger picture is crucial. Next, an extensive training course was developed to capture how project management is done at Exelon specifically. Mentorship was another strategy and was heavily relied on in this process. Lastly, relationships between the associate PMs were built so that they provided a support network for one another. Implementing and relying on these strategies resulted in the promotion of several, newly hired associate PMs to project managers who are operating independently.

Abbigail Meah-Ali’s presentation and interview on her session “Guiding the Future of Project Management: The Power of Mentorship” emphasizes the integral role of mentoring for the upcoming generation of project managers. She delves into the power of mentorship in the project management realm and highlights its significance for aspiring and seasoned professionals alike. Key take-aways are mapped out as unlocking mentorship’s potential, effective mentoring strategies, and shaping the future of project management. Mentorship is not just a preference but a fundamental need for the field of project management and acts as the catalyst for nurturing the next generation of PMs. Abbigail constructs a compelling case for implementing mentorships strategies and focuses her approach on practicality, incorporating real-world examples and insights.

Listen to the March 1st, 2024 podcast People in Projects at the UMD PM Symposium 2024

The second March podcast is joined by Lakshmi Sowjanya Uppala from Amazon, clinical project manager Jiwan Giri, and accomplished author John M Quigley, and focuses on risks and resilience in project management.

Lakshmi Sowjanya Uppala’s session “Preventive Risk Management | Building resilience in programs beyond being proactive using mechanisms” and podcast interview speaks to the critical aspect of effective risk management in ensuring program success. Risk management is often thought of in terms of proactive risk management, meaning that the program owner identifies risks before they happen and constructs a plan that avoids or mitigates the risk. However, despite that this approach might lead to one program success, other programs and the organization and team’s overall goals can be detrimentally impacted. Preventive risk management uses mechanism that solves problems ahead of time, making the program more resilient overall.

Jiwan Giri’s presentation “Team Resilience in Action: Risk Management in Clinical Research Projects During Ebola Outbreak in West Africa” and interview delves into the wide range of risk uncertainties that clinical research project managers face when dealing with public health crises, such as the COVID-19 epidemic and the Ebola outbreak. Jiwan focuses on the fundamental risk management strategies and development of team resilience to effectively handle these threats to research integrity and operational continuity. Using lessons learned from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, practical insights are provided for facilitating clinical research projects. Jiwan emphasizes the need for cultural awareness, stakeholder engagement, effective risk communication, and leadership support in clinical research projects.

Jon Quigley’s session “Risk: Muse and Metrics” and interview also focuses on effective risk management for facilitating successful project management. Beyond the selected project strategy, PMs must also identify, analyze, plan, track, and control. Jon expands on and provides insight into each of these unique and critical elements. He will introduce a few approaches specifically for identifying what can go wrong, prioritizing the most damaging and likely events, and establishing metrics to determine if the risks are imminent.

Listen to the March 15th, 2024 podcast Risk and Resilience at the UMD PM Symposium.

April’s podcast, “PM Discipline Integration in the Federal Government,” highlights the perspectives of speakers Jason Traquair, Kellie Cenzano, Daryl Frazier, and Joe Giraldi on their collaborations aimed at enhancing program and project management disciplines across their respective organizations. As key members from the USDA and NOAA, these leaders discuss the concrete steps they are taking to develop project management as not just a discipline but the fabric of effective and predictive government operations.

Listen to the April 2024 podcast, PM Discipline Integration in the Federal Government