Yesterday was the inaugural Women in Project Management Conference in Dublin, Ireland and I was honoured to be one of the speakers of the day.
One of the reasons that I was attracted to this conference was because of a chat I had with the organiser: Raymond Poole once I had submitted my proposal. His attitude and opinion convinced me that this conference would be something unique and different to other Project Management conferences that I’ve attended and he didn’t disappoint. Firstly, the organisation is absolutely superb and the attention to detail is astounding. I felt certainly well taken care of! The conference venue really went above and beyond to help me, not only as a speaker but as a mother.
The day was a very early start for me as I flew from Amsterdam and it was made extra stressful by including my 11week old son on the journey. He turned out to be the star of the day and the one that seemed to make the presentation! I was very lucky that he stayed asleep so that I could present without any distractions.
The Day started with a great keynote from: Vicky Phelan. I never heard of her before this conference but she is an absolutely inspirational woman who’s insights and raw knowledge really gave food for thought about seizing opportunities and not taking life for granted.
The next speakers: Mary Tuite and Gillian Holohan really gave some interesting points on what skills we’d need for successful Delivery Management / emotional intelligence.
Then it came to my session. I always feel like I have things to improve and with every session, it gets better. Today, was the first time that I presented this particular topic and I wasnt 100% sure how it would go down with the audience but I had a lot of people come up afterwards and say how relatable it was and it made them realise how small changes can bring about big differences in their projects.
My original plan was to hand over Noah before the session to the organiser and then present as normal… But Noah decided to stay asleep for the entire time and to avoid waking him up, I just kept him on me throughout the entire session. This gave way to a lot of picture’s showing just how versatile women can be as project managers!
After my session was the formidable Adele Smyth and her session on: I’m here because all my plans failed and she was followed by Kirsten de Bouter Shillam who was giving more insights called: Tapping into People Power. Kirsten also has a new book which I saw in a lot of the attendees bags afterwards!
Over lunch, it was a great opportunity to have some food and network with other professionals. What stood out for me during this entire day was how positive and optimistic everyone was. There was a real encouraging atmosphere throughout and the topics of discussion were around personal improvement and development.
The afternoon sessions certainly did not disappoint! The second keynote was: Nikki Bradley and once again she inspired the audience and made us extremely humble with her inspiring stories of living her life with cancer.
One of the final sessions of the day was Carole Osterwell. Her interactive and thought-provoking session on emotional intelligence, stress and resilience gave the audience a lot to take away and back to their jobs.
I remain extremely grateful to Vicky and Raymond For their support and organisation and for taking such good care of the speakers. If you are a budding speaker, I can thoroughly recommend their conferences.
My key takeaways from this conference are:
- Resilience and knowing what makes you tick are invaluable to minimising and reducing your stress levels
- Managing your stakeholders and management needs to be done with the sensitivity of the UN to make sure that you’re able to work with them more effectively
- You need to have the confidence in your abilities to know that you can deliver complex programs and projects.
- Feeling pressure is absolutely normal but it’s about being ready for the challenge