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Reflections on Nine Years as an Eastern Iowa Chapter Volunteer

Reflections on Nine Years as an Eastern Iowa Chapter Volunteer

Carol Scherrman

Nine years. Yes, you read that correctly. I can hardly believe myself that I’ve been volunteering on the PMI Eastern Iowa Chapter leadership team for that long. Way back in April 2009, I attended my first chapter meeting as a newly minted Project Management Professional (PMP®). At that first meeting, one of the existing board members introduced herself and asked if I would be interested in volunteering. As a classic introvert, my first inclination was to say “no.” However, having just sat through the PMP exam, I was eager to start earning Professional Development Units (PDUs) so that I never had to take that test again. Instead, I answered “sure, I might consider helping out.”

Fast forward about a week and I was appointed as the new Director of Professional Development to replace the current director who was changing careers and would no longer be a practicing project manager. Over the course of the next nine years, I would serve as the Director of Professional Development, Vice President of Operations, President, Past President, and currently the Vice President of Finance.

I’m proud to look back at the things we achieved as a chapter during my tenure. We’ve delivered 10 terrific Professional Development Days (PDDs) with more than 1,200 attendees, implemented streamlined registration and payment processes, hosted a successful Region 2 event, provided innovative chapter programming at different venues, celebrated our 20th anniversary as a chapter, and maintained strong fiscal stewardship of chapter funds.

What I think about most, though, is what being a chapter volunteer has given to me. During the past nine years, I have built strong friendships with my fellow volunteers and you, our members. This extended network gives me peace of mind knowing that I can reach out to any of you for advice or feedback on a project management issue. I’ve also gained friendships throughout our PMI region and the country. I was fortunate to be able to represent the chapter at multiple North America (NA) and Regional Leadership Institute Meetings (LIMs). I can’t stress enough what a great opportunity these events presented to spend 2-3 days with like-minded project management professionals who also hold down “day jobs” but are committed to promoting project management through their local chapters. Being on the leadership team also helped me strengthen my leadership style, overcome my fear of public speaking, and put my project management skills to work in a non-profit environment with small budgets and big dreams.

I’ve relocated out of the Corridor to help my parents, so when my term expires in December I will be stepping away from the Leadership Team. I strongly encourage anyone looking to build their skills, contribute to a great organization, earn PDUs, make lasting friendships, and help shape the future of the chapter to consider running for an open board position or volunteering for one of the director positions. Trust me…I didn’t know what I was doing nine years ago when I said “yes.” But, you jump in, share your ideas and figure it out. The great thing is there are really no wrong answers! A favorite quote of mine from Helen Keller is “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

Be on the lookout for information on our upcoming elections for 2019…and volunteer!

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