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A Trip Around The World in 18 Hours

careers mark burnett pmo professional development project management Nov 08, 2022

On Monday, October 17, 2022, at 9:00 am Perth (UTC +8), two Jamaican Project Managers started the journey of a trip around the world in 18 hours! This quest started with excitement, curiosity, and an eagerness to explore and learn more about the challenges, trends, and best practices in Project Management. The destination was none other than The PMO Leader 2nd Annual Conference. Two strangers came together for a common purpose, a love for Project Management. Coincidentally, they were the only two Jamaicans attending this conference. Mark Burnett, the Principal Consultant at ECONO-ProjectEX, was a Host and Moderator. Zoya Salmon-Powell, the Principal Consultant at Global Projects Consultancy, LLC, was an Attendee at this historic event. Mark’s mission was to impart knowledge and facilitate knowledge sharing based on the nature of his role in the event, and Zoya’s mission was centered around continuous learning and growth. 

The PMO Leader Conference had an extensive lineup of talented speakers who presented on diverse topics relevant to the realities of the Project Management field. There were 40 sessions held over 18 hours across three regions- Asia-Pacific (APAC); Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA); and The Americas. This marathon-style knowledge fest imparted great lessons, insights, and tips from project management experts worldwide. The event boasted a diverse audience, with attendees from Jamaica, Nigeria, France, UAE, Vietnam, Columbia, the United States, El Salvador, Australia, and more. There were over 1100 registrants from a total of 80 different countries. It was an exciting two days with multiple opportunities to converse with other professionals to improve Delivery Teams, Project Management, and PMO globally. 

We were both fully engaged on this journey and actively involved in the summit, which covered information about our industry, specialty, and methodology. This event was particularly special to us because it “followed the sun” with speakers from nearly all continents and attendees from practically every time zone. We explored what project management and PMO should look like after the pandemic crisis and the challenges affecting existing and potential clients. We examined how to develop content and provide tools to help build relationships and find the solutions to help teams elevate and counterbalance project management and PMO pain points. One of the great pleasures of these forums is that they are always high in the strength of humor! That is not necessarily what we think about conferences of this magnitude- and that is a source of great conversation all on its own. 

We also discovered dynamic presenters who are humble, talented, and genuinely love to speak about project management and their areas of specialization. The conference allowed us to ponder whether the less frequently endorsed or emphasized strengths are the ones we should give rise to within ourselves to strengthen the quality of service we offer. It was great to network with fellow Project Managers who sought solutions to common problems and imparted wisdom as the sessions progressed. Mark, an ambassador and member of the organizing committee for the conference, expertly hosted and moderated three sessions with Ruth Pearce, Grace Ogbomo, and Paul Williams. Great conversation, as always! 

All 40 events were terrific. And just like that, 18 hours were over! We were grateful for the knowledge sharing, expert guidance, and opportunity to network. Thanks to the organizers, presenters, sponsors, volunteers, and all the attendees who joined in to showcase the value, strength, and dynamism of the PM Community. It was a genuinely impactful conference that exceeded all expectations. We had a blast learning from the over 30 presenters covering many different topics. We hit on PMO Leadership, Change Management, Strategy, Volunteering, Technology, Agile, Organizational Politics, and much more. It was a success, and we loved it! 

Around the world, there are small communities creating pockets of PMO knowledge and interaction. These communities occasionally come together at conferences and industry events like this one. We often think of the PMO Leader in PMO terms while ignoring Leadership. However, we understand that one is not more important than the other. Outside the conference, The PMO Leader provides a wealth of information to keep the PM community growing and honing valuable and relevant skills. The community offers knowledge-sharing experiences and solutions ranging from online courses to professional services to the latest PMO technology and peer interaction forums for the good of the industry. Likewise, the community encourages you to take the time to explore the site and see all the Articles, Books, Coaches, Consultants, Podcasts, PPM Solutions, Speakers, and Trainers. Become a Community Member and interact with your peers in group discussions.

There is great value in volunteering and positioning yourself in the right places at the right time to network with like-minded individuals. Mark was eager to volunteer his time to help with the successful planning and execution of the event. Zoya was hungry for knowledge from experts in the field while networking with professionals worldwide. We met for the very first time at this conference, and our energies clicked! Here we are, collaborating on this article and more exciting future ventures. In this life, we meet different people for different reasons. For a moment, for a season, and lasting reasons in rare instances. 

We encourage Project Management Professionals (and all professionals) to actively seek out conferences, workshops, courses, and other intellectually stimulating events to help them to hone their skills. Being a Project Manager requires keeping abreast of trends and best practices to effectively serve our organizations, clients, and other stakeholders. Never shy away from events like this. You never know what can come from attending just a one-day (or even an 18-hour marathon) event and how it can transform your life, mindset, and perspective. New levels become unlocked, your network pool grows, and opportunities abound. We cannot wait for the next PMO Leader conference. See you all next year; maybe we will see 24 hours instead of just 18. 😊 

Thank you to The PMO Leader, the Pilot of this trip, for including us on this adventurous journey and offering such a great opportunity! 

About the Authors

Zoya Salmon- Powell is a dynamic and passionate professional and entrepreneur with over 14 years of experience in Leadership and Management, now focused primarily on Project Management, Programme Management, and Data Protection. Zoya is a Globally Certified Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Scrum Master (CSM), and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University (Virginia, USA). She is also a Certified EU GDPR Data Protection Officer. Her quality of work is underpinned by a solid commitment to being values-focused, solutions-driven, results-oriented, disciplined, and diligent. Zoya's training, experience, and expertise garnered throughout the years are the winning formula used to optimize the strategic performance outcomes of any organization.

Zoya has worked with cross-functional and multicultural teams on various strategic projects for companies operating in the Telecommunications and Advertising industries across their multiple markets. She is a Project Management Consultant and the CEO of Global Projects Consultancy, LLC (the USA registered Parent Company) and Global PM Consultancy Limited (registered in Jamaica). This consultancy provides organizations with specialized knowledge and skills to make informed decisions throughout the project life cycle, from strategic planning to successful completion. GPC is an innovative project management consulting firm targeting companies of various sizes across multiple industries. The company offers professional Remote and On-Site Project Management services in markets such as the USA and Jamaica. The services range from End-to-End Project Management to Project Review & Recovery to PMO Deployment & Operations.

Mark Burnett empowers customer projects through an introspective climate that allows the teams to become the most powerful version of themselves. Hailing from Kingston, Jamaica, Mark believes that all projects should be given the proper respect, and standardization is the key to successful project delivery. Mark is a Project Management Consultant and the CEO of ECONO-ProjectEX. He is obsessed with business priorities and milestones in the digital age. Having worked in immense high-pressure situations with Ericsson and other technology operators, Mark has supported a range of enterprise-class transformation projects for over a decade. 

Mark is a certified (PMP)®, Agile Scrum Master (SMC)®, and Registered Engineer (EngrPE)®. His view is that a blend of Project Management, Technology, and Engineering can be fun. Besides this, his multicultural exposure has given him a deep interest in these areas: Digital Business Transformation, Mentorship & Coaching, and Project Management Office (PMO). He has been an active member with meaningful contributions as a PMI Volunteer (Certificate of Excellence) and PMOGA Judge (Recognition of Outstanding Contribution). Mark is also the co-host, organizer, and moderator of the Digital Transformation Webinar Series. Each webinar highlights excellent topics for Project Management, PMO, and Digital Transformation leaders and team members to learn more about resources to improve their effectiveness. The episodes are free for all to attend, and the free membership provides access to the recordings.