Volunteering: What’s in it for me? - A Self Reflection

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Pune Chapter Newsletter Article in 2006

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Volunteering: What’s in it for me? - A Self Reflection

  1. 1. International Volunteer Day (Dec 5th ): WIIF: What’s in it for me? - A Self Reflection If you know anything about PMI, you probably know that it is an organization which has grown exponentially in the past 5 years, from about 100,000 members in 2001 to about 250,000 members in over 150 countries today. How has this Herculean growth – in both membership and reputation – been achieved? Through over 5000 volunteers like the leaders of your local PMI Chapter. This year, December 5th is International Volunteer Day!! Please make every effort to thank the volunteers who make your community and your world a better place, including your PMI Chapter volunteers. Most people think of volunteering as charitable work, something you do to help others. However, I look upon volunteering as a valuable leadership and learning journey. Volunteerism has made it possible for me to build my own community of fellow learners and leaders. Let me share some highlights from my past 4 years of experience as a PMI volunteer. These have been the best years of my life so far, and I want to share with you some of the returns I’ve seen for my effort. Locally, I’ve had the honor to serve three terms as Vice President, Finance in the BOD of the award- winning PMI Memphis TN Chapter (Chapter of the Year, President of the Year in 2002, 2005 & 2006). I also received a nomination for Chapter President in 2006 (but opted out due to the CM role offered immediately after nomination). In addition to serving as a Chapter officer, my efforts include in the development of the Chapter’s strategic plan, and implementing tactical best practices through developing a Standard Operating Procedures document. This led to a four-fold increase in activities, membership PMP certification, and Chapter revenue. I also successfully promoted a mentoring program for the Chapter, and chaired or participated on a number of committees that organized highly-rated special events with internationally acclaimed celebrity speakers; such as Bob Buckman – Father of Knowledge Management, Dr. Jerry Brightman –Leadership Guru, Harold Kerzner–PM Guru, and Joanne Gumaer – Mentoring Guru. I’ve benefited greatly from PMI’s Leadership Institute program, graduating in 2004 with a Masters in Leadership. I highly recommend this 14-month Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) program for 25 selected global PMI Leaders. It provides a patterned, intensive program for selected global PMI leaders, and is similar to courses offered to Fortune 500 Companies in providing personal leadership assessment, skills building, active learning sessions, one-on-one coaching, personal development planning, peer networking, discussions and mentoring. The 2004 program was facilitated by renowned leadership coach Dr. Jerry Brightman, whose vast global experience in over 110 countries includes membership in the elite group of Americans permitted to do business in China in the 1970s. At the PMI global organizational level, I also was able to contribute to two PMI reference works, on Strategic Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3) and Program Portfolio Management Standards (PPMS). I’ve published and/or presented 30 papers in various international journals and forums including the workshop “En “visioning” Tomorrow’s PMI Leaders – Today.” I am honored to have participated in PMI HQ activities including a second term as one of PMI’s Project of the Year (POY) Award judges for 2004 and 2005. I must also mention a very important privilege – that of representing PMI as a participant in several forums involved in the rehabilitation of communities devastated by natural disasters. The initiatives I International Volunteer Day (Dec 5th ): What is in it for me? 1/2
  2. 2. contributed in a small way were focused on Phuket, Thailand and southern India (both I visited within a month of the tsunami resulting from the Indian Ocean earthquake), the earthquake epicenter in Pakistan, and North American communities affected by Hurricane Katrina. More than financial assistance was needed in each case to develop professional standards and processes for NGO’s and governmental organizations serving the affected communities. The professional experience I can offer as a member of the global PMI volunteer team has been invaluable in enabling me to effectively support such efforts. Why do I do this? Because I feel a need to reconcile my professional achievement and personal good fortune with the responsibility of living in today’s global society. I cannot disassociate my professional status from my social responsibilities. I truly believe I can be part of this noble mission of integrating the world through the Project Management Institute. I have a “good” feeling about my achievements as a volunteer thus far, but I also realize that “good” is the enemy of “great” and I can make a great impact only if each of you are also part of this wonderful volunteer community. “The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, They will bloom like flowers” – Thich Nhat Hanh Recognizing my volunteer contribution, PMI has given me mentoring responsibility for its most crucial region, Asia (Region 9). As a Component Mentor for India, China, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and other national organizations in the area, I have been granted the opportunity to fulfill my dream of building bridges between EAST & WEST through a Global Brotherhood of PMI Chapters. Last but not least, I’m among 18 finalists for 2007-2009 PMI (Project Management Institute) Board Director- at-Large. Don’t you want to give the most precious gift you have to give – your time and knowledge – to make your local and global community bloom? Don’t you want to become part of the solution to the problems we see around us every day? Please don’t wait any longer. We need you. International Volunteer Day (Dec 5th ): What is in it for me? 2/2

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