As I stepped from the lift, the energy and anticipation was palpable — actually, that’s an understatement. It didn’t just wash over you, it hit you. Yes, I have just arrived at my 5th Women in Project Management conference, and I’m not surprised that this flag-ship event had sold out.
The day was packed with great speakers, great topics and great networking. Recordings and slides will be shared on the APM’s website in due course and the variety of talks, interactive sessions, table-top sessions and panel discussions will be self-evident.
It takes a huge team to pull of such a brilliant day and the APM along with its volunteers and the WiPM SIG did themselves proud. Organising an event like this takes extensive planning and preparation and, even though event management is a strand of project management, pulling off such a seemingly flawless and smooth day is no mean feat.
The WiPM Event App gave us all we needed to know about what was happening, when and who was attending and provided a great channel to ask questions. It would be remiss of me not to mention the excellent AV team who produced impressive sound and vision and were incredibly helpful and supportive to the speakers.
What will be less evident is what happened around the edges of the talks and panel discussion on the programme. Not only is the day designed to support our continuing professional development, but it’s also carefully designed to facilitate connection and networking. A welcoming breakfast-spread and plentiful tea and coffee invites us through the efficient registration desks and into a space where we can meet old friends and make new ones. Every break offered plenty of good quality sustenance and we were well-fuelled for the talks and panel discussions.
The wonderful thing about the WiPM conference is the wide variety of people it attracts; groups of work colleagues and individual project people attend with there being many opportunities to connect — and before you ask, yes, it’s not a ‘women only’ conference and it was great to see our male colleagues there too. It was a joy to watch people getting curious about their respective project experiences, supporting one another in their current roles, encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone and grow, and simply elevating and championing fellow project people to be successful.
Outside of the main event sessions there was also plenty to get involved in. The conference draws a great range of top-notch exhibitors ranging from training providers to career opportunities, to innovative PM tools, and to the APM team inviting membership, exploring CPD and, of course, encouraging PM development all the way through to Chartership. There were also tabletop sessions over lunch hosted by PM specialists facilitating group discussions on a plethora of subjects.
Running a massive event is a bit like running IT; everyone expects it to go smoothly and the team in the background seldom gets the recognition they deserve. WiPM appeared to work like clockwork and there must have been an awesome team in the background making it happen. Whilst enjoying the drinks reception at the end of the day, I reflected that, once again, WiPM has excelled itself. An event not to be missed.
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