Volunteering is vital for APM, and it’s also a rewarding experience for project professionals, personally and professionally. We interviewed some of our project management volunteers to find out how volunteering has benefited them. Here are some of the rewards they’ve reaped, and you can too:
1. Enhance your professional skills
Volunteering can be as new or familiar to you as you want; and there are so many opportunities for you to get involved in writing, speaking, reviewing and more. Teri Okoro ChPP FAPM RPP, director at TOCA and co-chair of the APM People Specific Interest Group (SIG), shares her experiences and skill growth:
“I became a more confident public speaker, gained numerous transferable skills (for example, producing a video, conference planning and designing surveys) and attended or presented at numerous events around the UK when I became chair of the APM Women in Project Management SIG”. Moreover, involvement as a volunteer has contributed to Teri achieving the Fellowship status which has benefited her career.
Volunteering has also been a great opportunity for Adetoun Abiola, MAPM, assistant project manager at TfL, "I have got a lot out of volunteering with APM. I have developed a lot of transferable skills which have been very useful in other areas of my life. [Volunteering] has given me better insight into the different parts of the profession, along with a range of skills and knowledge that I would not have acquired if all I had done was go to work."
2. Bridge industry gaps
By volunteering with APM, you can get involved in various activities to build connections between various sectors and organisations too. “As a human resources professional and project practitioner I led HR functions with different organisations” explains Amerjit Walia FAPM, director of project programmes at AK Optimise.
“I always felt there was a gap between the two professions. I believed that by volunteering and contributing to APM’s Body of Knowledge and some of its guides I could help plug the gap and bring a different perspective.”
3. Fulfill personal goals
If there is a cause or topic you are passionate about and want to talk about more, volunteering to write blogs, articles for Project journal, or review books is a great way to do this. Vijay Luthra, FAPM, ChPP, general manager at Prenetics, talks about his “passion for supporting organisations to access the right capability for them to be able to grow and succeed.” Vijay is interested in promoting diversity, equality and inclusion in the project profession.
“Innovation is a significant part of this and a huge key to unlocking innovation is to create an environment where ideas can be shared and challenged. The basic principle is that anyone can have an idea and it’s important that the culture of organisations is inclusive to enable people from all backgrounds to feel safe in articulating new ideas, particularly when it involves challenging 'perceived wisdom'. Supporting APM in its diversity and inclusion journey is a great way for me to fulfil this mission and make an impact much more widely than I would if I were just trying to do it on my own or in one organisation.”
4. Find support and build connections
You will meet so many different people from across the world and across the project profession as a volunteer. Many of our volunteers express how helpful and useful it is to be given a unique opportunity to build genuine connections:
“I have gained so much learning from other volunteers with diverse skills, different project sectors, various individual perspectives, and levels of experiences. My SIG colleagues gave me tips to deal with my work situation, which increased my confidence in the workplace and equipped me with new skill sets to be more effective in my career journey,” shares Obiora Ozonzeadi.
“Quite simply, volunteering helps me grow” shares Amerjit. “It also allows me to network with project professionals and put something back into the community of practice. APM brings together diverse people from diverse sectors and industries who have an array of talent and experience in managing and delivering projects, programmes and portfolios. It's a real pleasure to be a part of that.”
5. Feel really good and positive
Vijay explains how he’s “got a huge sense of satisfaction from contributing to something that benefits friends and colleagues across the profession and potentially more widely”. Volunteering will help you feel all warm and fuzzy inside – and who doesn’t want that?
“Volunteering promotes optimism and helps us to develop a more positive outlook,” Manish Khanna FAPM, a project controls manager, says. “It lets us pause for a moment to reflect on something we have in our life right now which can be shared instead of always striving for more. The other hidden benefit is that it helps my mental wellbeing, enhances empathy, open doors to more networking and learnings from other experienced professionals in the field.”
If you’ve been inspired to get involved as a volunteer, click here to be part of APM’s branch and SIG community. We also invite you to join in with our APM’s branch and SIG elections from May to July. Nominations are currently open and close on 18 June.