September is Project Management month over here at Girls In Tech Switzerland! We have the pleasure of partnering up with PMI Switzerland this month for a workshop series on project management skills.
We recently had the opportunity to chat with PMI Switzerland’s president Karolina Letowska to learn all about the Project Management Institute and the amazing work they do.
Karolina has 15 years of experience working in the financial industry in the UK, Poland & Switzerland. She has worked across a wide range of divisions both as a business analyst and a project manager.
She has been highly involved in non-profit organisations for the past 10 years working notably for PMI and The Football Foundation for Africa.
Additionally, she is a big advocate of wellbeing and has recently gotten a degree in nutrition and health coaching which she wants to develop further.
Gender equality is also a topic that is very important to her. Having worked in the corporate world in different countries, she always tries to encourage other women around her to speak up and mentor younger women when she has the opportunity to do so.
How did you start your journey with PMI?
Back in 2011, I was working for Thomson Reuters and I got contacted to help organise summer camps for underprivileged children in Poland. The camp was organised using the PMI methodology and the kids also got to learn about project management. It was an amazing experience which was also my first encounter with the Project Management Institute.
I was then asked to become the program manager for the Social Good Project in Poland, an initiative which then grew in other countries as well. Through Social Good, I had the opportunity to be in touch with a lot of different chapters around the world and help amazing NGOs.
I have learned so much from PMI and have grown an amazing network which has helped me understand what I wanted to do in my career, giving me the skills to get the job I wanted and also supported me as I moved to several countries.
Hence, when I moved to Switzerland 5 years ago, the President of the Swiss Chapter asked me to join the board first as VP of Finance and now as President.
Tell us more about PMI and what you do?
PMI Global is over 50 years old and is an organization focused on education around project management knowledge. Its offerings include globally recognized standards, certifications, online courses, thought leadership, tools, digital publications, and communities. PMI is also the owner of the PMP certification, a leading project management certification.
The Swiss chapter was founded by a woman 20 years ago and we still have volunteers who have been with us since day 1. We currently have 100 volunteers and around 1’500 members in Switzerland, making us one of the leading chapters worldwide.
As a local chapter, we focus on building a community which is composed of everyone who is PMP-certified, people who work in project management or want to learn about project management irrespective of their seniority. We organise workshops, conferences, networking events and various other activities around project management.
Last year, we also kicked-off a monthly morning coffee with the board to give our members and non-members the opportunity to ask any questions they want.
What do you love most about PMI?
Over the years. I have made so many friends across the world thanks to PMI. We have a lot of meetings across chapters. As I moved from Poland to London and then Switzerland, I knew I had an anchor in each country through the PMI network even though I did not know anyone when I first arrived.
We are all volunteers so it is an amazing group of enthusiastic, motivated people. I have also lost count of how many PMI weddings I have seen over the years!
What is one piece of advice you’d like to share with our community?
My main advice would be for women to try and find an experienced mentor, someone they can talk to. And this applies at all levels of your career, even if you are already quite senior.
Something I also tell to the people I work with is; “What do you want people to remember for you when you’re gone?” It really helps put things into perspective and reflect about your priorities in life and your work-life balance.
Thank you so much to Karolina for taking the time to chat with us! You can learn more about PMI Switzerland here.
And don’t forget to sign up now for our September project management workshops.
Author: Anne-Sophie Scharff
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