On the morning of August 12, 2023, I found myself in Irvine stepping into the Back Bay Conference Center with a mixture of excitement and anticipation. Why? The Mentorship Kick-Off Event was organized by the Orange County Chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI-OC). It was a day that marked the start of a transformative six-month journey, aimed at fostering connections, sharing knowledge, and nurturing professional development within the realm of project management.
Nurturing Learning through Meaningful Connections
I’ve been realizing more and more that project management is more than just a set of skills, it’s a dynamic blend of strategic thinking, technical expertise, and interpersonal finesse. This event was designed to bridge the gap between experienced project managers and those aspiring to enter the field.
The kick-off welcomed us with a sumptuous breakfast, setting the tone for a morning of learning, networking, and forging new connections. This was a great opportunity to network with other project managers and a chance to meet the person who might be my mentor.
Guidelines Set the Stage
With our plates cleared and attention-focused, the mentorship team took the stage to outline the program’s guidelines and expectations. The structure of the six-month journey was thoughtfully laid out, emphasizing the commitment both mentors and mentees were expected to bring to the table. The core requirement was a monthly engagement of at least one hour, offering flexibility through a variety of mediums such as face-to-face meetings, virtual discussions, phone calls, or any combination that suited our schedules.
The mentorship team also pointed out two significant milestones: an upcoming virtual mid-program checkpoint on October 28, 2023, and an eagerly anticipated in-person graduation ceremony on February 10, 2024. These markers would serve as moments to reflect, assess progress, and celebrate achievements.
The Excitement of Pairing Up
A highlight of the event was undoubtedly the moment of pairing mentors and mentees. There was an air of anticipation as each of us eagerly awaited our match. The procedure was comically simple: we were given slips of paper with the name of a fruit written on the back and had to find the other person who had the same fruit without saying its name. The mentorship team previously paired us and we were doing an icebreaker game to figure out who our match was.
And for me, it couldn’t have been more perfect. I was paired with a mentor whose experience and journey closely mirrored my own aspirations. The excitement of learning from someone who had walked the path I wish to explore was truly empowering.
A Journey Begins
Leaving the event, I carried with me not just a sense of excitement but also a sense of belonging to a community that values learning and growth. The event was more than a mere gathering; it was the initiation of a transformative journey.
As the next six months unfold, my mentor and I will delve into discussions that transcend textbooks – conversations that will explore real-world challenges, innovative strategies, and the art of being an effective project management professional. For me, the event was not just a starting point; it was a catalyst for growth and knowledge.
PMI-OC has provided me with the opportunities to learn, share, and connect in a way that extends far beyond this event. As I step into this journey of mentorship, I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity and excitement for the experiences that lie ahead.