Roselyn Unegbu has over 20 years working in project, programme and portfolio management within construction and leadership, and is founder of Projects in Prism, an inclusive and accessible networking initiative that supports the enhancement of females from a global majority within the project profession.
An APM Fellow (FAPM), Roselyn is very passionate about project management as a career choice and she’s keen to see women succeed and thrive in their profession.
For over 15 years, Roselyn has worked with the organisation Inspiring Education and Employment and with APM. This has involved talks and mentorships of young adults in education about the benefits and value project management provides. It has also involved showing the options available to young women who had previously not thought about project management as a career choice, both as a construction professional or as a career pathway.
What is Projects in Prism and what is it trying to achieve?
The vision is to demystify the view that women from a global majority can achieve successful careers in project management and leadership.
This initiative is about having conversations that dispel the notions of limitations in a way that is collaborative and seeks to find a resolution, with a view to changing it. I wanted to create a safe space for women from a global majority. To sit down and share our stories, be challenged, supported, mentored, nurtured and engage with thought leaders within the profession. As well as organisations who understand the value that diversity, inclusion and belonging brings to commercial and organisational success by looking at its impact through social value as well as looking to the future, to see what it means to be a well-adjusted change making organisation in the 22nd century.
Why did you launch Projects in Prism?
When women as a whole come into the workspace, there are gender complexities that are part of the fabric of the “glass ceiling” principle throughout their careers. However, with women from a global majority, there is the added complexity of race, class and notions of “difference”.
The elements of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are terms that have finally found a voice in society and most especially, in the workplace. Prior to this, it wasn't an acknowledged understanding that women from a global majority experienced difference nuances of bias within the workplace.
From a personal perspective, a conversation with a friend where she shared challenges at work highlighted a lack of career progression; despite being a high performing individual, the pace of progress had stalled and her frustration was palpable. It got me deliberating on the reasons behind this and how she could be supported. The kernels of what has now become Project in Prism were born.
Another element emerged during the research undertaken for my dissertation during the completion of my MBA. Gender and race bias were identified as playing a significant part in the reasons for a number of women leaving construction and project management as a profession. It struck me that we needed to do better to support women from a global majority; and here we are.
How will Projects in Prism achieve its goal of dispelling the notions of limitations?
To challenge and debate. To get people in one space to share thoughts and network with others who have mastered strategies to deal with challenges arising from being a women project manager from a global majority. The intent is to hold sessions that will have differing themes, but there will be some consistent parallels. We will have speakers from people of industry, people who will share lived experiences and facilitated round table discussions. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions, share their stories and learn strategies to help them navigate the complexities of the workplace. We will have authors talking about their books on relevant subject matter. If the issues are personal, then we use this space to address them so that people can learn and become better. In essence, we show them how to dare, greatly.
On one hand, it will bring women from all corners of the country together to network and be a part of a wider sisterhood. On the other hand, we have organisations interested in hearing what people have to say about these issues and we have an opportunity for them to come along and tell us about the services they provide and how these can help support the discussion around diversity of thought and the richness it brings. Projects in Prism brings these two things together and views them holistically.
How was the launch event of Projects in Prism?
Projects in Prism was launched on Thursday, 9 November. It was very successful. We received a lot of positive feedback, including one comment that which filled me with a sense of humility and responsibility:
“I was feeling at a standstill recently and professionally. [The Projects in Prism launch event] gave me the inspiration I needed to keep pushing forward, as project management is very saturated. I had become a little uninspired and the wonderful stories encouraged me and gave me a sense of pride in the profession”.
“The event and future events allow people to share, network and empathetically talk about those very difficult conversations around equity. It's really rewarding to be able to use my experience to help people connect with speakers so that they can ask questions, allowing them to grow. Projects in Prism can do that.”
The next Projects in Prism event is 29 February 2024:
For more information on Projects in Prism, you can visit their website or watch an interview with the founders of Projects in Prism