Monday, September 15, 2014

PMI Virtual Professional Development Symposium 2014

If you're a Project Manager and a member of PMI (Project Management Institute) you might have received an email telling you about the PMI Information Systems "Virtual Professional Development Symposium 2014" which was held September 12, 2014. If you missed it, the sessions are available "On Demand" for the rest of the month. This is an excellent opportunity to get up to 6 PDUs (Professional Development Units) toward your recertification and there was some excellent information provided.

If you're not already registered for the event, you should be able to register for it here.

There are 6 sessions plus Opening Address (Welcome and Introduction from Marke A. Langley, President & CEO, PMI) and Closing Comments. The six sessions are:

  • Keynote Address:  Secrets of the Thoroughbred Leader...Are You One?
  • Session 1: Strategies for Project Sponsorship
  • Session 2: The Two Human Factors that Drive or Oppose Change
  • Session 3: Understanding Opportunities, Challenges and Strategies to Build Your Career in Project Management
  • Session 4:  How to Best Embrace Change as an IS Professional
  • Session 5: Identifying the strategic Value Drivers for Change, through value Stream mapping

I was able to watch the Opening, Keynote, and sessions 1, 3, and 4. I found all of them to be valuable. In the Keynote Dana Brownlee discusses how Project Managers as leaders tend to be Task or Relationship Focused, but it is the a third type, that she refers to as Thoroughbred leaders where we really want to be. Peter Taylor talked about the role of Project Sponsors and why it is so important for organizations to provide the proper training and support to Project Sponsors. Ricardo Vargas gave a really practical and inspiring session on developing your career as a Project Manager, he organized his presentation with practical recommendations for "Beginning My Career", "Career Transition", and "Expanding Horizons". Dr. Ginger Levin shared what she has learned about embracing change as an IS Professional, and she has been involved in some very interesting project in her long and storied career. I plan to check out the other two session before the On Demand period is over.

I attended  the International Project Management Day last November for the first time, so I already had experience with an international virtual conference. There were some good possibilities to network while the event was live. There was a running chat during each session where people could make comments and ask questions. It was interesting to see where everybody was from. I hope that other PMI groups will get a chance to do something like this again. Everyone of the speakers from the sessions I've attended so far encouraged attendees to connect with them, which I've already done with some of the presenters. I'm also intetested in connecting with fellow Project Managers out there, feel free to connect with me in the various Social Spaces. You can find my various profiles here. I'd would appreciate something indicating some kind of context when you connect with me (or anyone else). So why not indicate that you attended the conference?

One thing that I really appreciate is that all of the presentations were made available for download in the "Resources" tab at the website. They can be saved to your "Briefcase" and downloaded from there (this will vary depending upon which web browser you use). This allows you to review the material provided later on.

I hope that you'll take advance of this excellent opportunity to get up to 6 PDUs. I also hope that you'll attend the 2014 International Project Management Day being held on November 6th and maybe we'l run into each other there. Thank you to the PMI Information Systems for organizing this event!

The Future is not yet written, Let's build it together!


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Darryl Heron's 2013-14 Presidential Farewell Speech for Toastmasters

Changing of the Presidents (Darryl 2013-14 Club President & Patrizia 2014-15 Club President)

On June 25th, Word Weavers, my Toastmaster club held out Induction Ceremony, where the 2013-14 Officers handed over the reins to the 2014-15 Officers.  What follows is the speech that I wrote and delivered as I ended my term as club president.


Darryl’s 2013-14 Presidential Farewell Address

My fellow Word Weavers, we come here tonight to end an era and to start a new one. We come here to say thank you to the officers who served us proudly in the 2013-14 Toastmaster year and to welcome those that will be leading and serving us in the 2014-15 year.

I started my presidency with an inaugural address and I’m ending it with a farewell address. I’m a student of history (as well we all should be) Mark Twain has said that while history doesn’t repeat that it does sometimes rhyme and we should take the time to learn the lessons that we can from the past. There have been some famous farewell addresses through the years and we can indeed learn a lot from the giants of human history as well as the many unknown and unrecognizable people.

As many of you know, I lost my job in October, and through my self-discovery and job searching, I’ve been able to be the President of Word Weavers, even when a big part of my life was in chaos, this was certain and gave me dignity and the ability to lift my head and carry on with a purpose.  Thank you, everyone for placing your trust in me and giving me this opportunity.

I’ve learned a lot this past year, as I have since joining Word Weavers and Toastmasters.  I’d like to say thank you to all of the officers and of you, I can’t take credit for this past year, I’d like to share it with all of you.  I’m happy that we have a beamer that the club can continue to use for years to come (even if we still need to work out the screen problem). I’m excited to have great flyers that we can use to promote the club. A great big thank you to Karin and her husband for all their work on this! I’m also proud that club is Select Distinguished for the 2013-14 Toastmaster year.  While I wanted to be President’s Distinguished for the third year in a row, being Select Distinguished is the 2nd highest honor that we can achieve from Toastmasters and there are lots of clubs that don’t achieve this honor and it means that a lot of members achieved educational awards this year (like Carsten and his Competent Communicator, not to mention Ron and Regina both getting their DTMs this year).  In fact, the club was recognized by the district for achieving the most educational awards in our division for the first 6 months of this Toastmaster year! In life, we sometimes we fall short of our goals, but if we didn’t have goals we would achieve very little. Now, Patrizia and the other officers won’t be pressured to 4 peat and will be able to determine what they want to achieve.

2013-14 Officers
I’d like to call up Patrizia to help me recognize all of the officers from the 2013-14 TM year.
Served as our Sargent at Arms for half the year before her non TM life called her away.  In this time she led the search for a new meeting location that brought us here.  For this I cannot fully express my gratitude.
Thank you for taking over as Sergeant at Arms, it isn’t easy to take over a role that someone else has started or learning about the role half way into it.
She has served as Secretary for two years. She has also done a lot of work with organizing and running our club contests for the past two years.

The club depends on you and can count on you to fulfil the treasurer role. You submit everything in a timely fashion and were a key part of us being Select Distinguished this year.

Karin really helped to take the officer goal of having new flyers and made it a reality. 

You joined our club about this time last year and you’ve brought all your TM knowledge to the club. I’ve really appreciated being able to pick your brain for ideas this past year. You’ve inspired me to know that our club can achieve so much more and we can have fun while we do it.

Thank you for serving as our Immediate Past President. After serving a term as president, I realize how much work you put in when you were president, so thank you for that and for offering me your consul this past year.

I really appreciate the enthusiasm that you brought to the officers group. I fondly remember when you and I were at the American Information Evening at the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt. We talked quite a bit when you were president 
Everyone, can I get a big hand for the 2013-14 Club officers!  To all of you and to all of you, I thank you for helping to make this an unforgettable year.

George Schultz, the creator of Peanuts said, “Why can’t we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn’t work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would have to say good-bye. I hate good-byes. I know what I need. I need more hellos

Gilda Radner said, “I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next

Dr. Seuss said, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.

I’d like all of the 2014-15 Officers to come up here. I hope that you’ll all support the officers and help them to achieve the goals that they will seek. I’d also like you all to seriously consider being an officer in the future, when you’re asked or you can even volunteer.  It is an indescribably rewarding experience.  We get out of Toastmasters what we put into it, so I challenge you all to put your hearts into it, you won’t be disappointed.

Helen Rowland said that, “A man never knows how to say goodbye; a woman never knows when to say it.

That being said…Dale Evans said, “Some trails are happy ones,
Others are blue. It’s the way you ride the trail that counts…Happy Trails to you, until we meet again.“

Everyone, please welcome the 2014-15 President of Word Weavers, Patrizia!


I’ve been very honored to have been able to serve as the President of Word Weavers this past year.  I would encourage others out there to think about being officers in your Toastmasters clubs and other organizations.  The world is in need of good leaders, this is an excellent opportunity to practice and learn leadership.  

Note:  All of the quotes listed above were found at Quote Garden.

Picture credit:  The picture above can be found at the Word Weaver Flickr group.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Challenging the Dragon- The Krakow Report

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the District 59 2014 Spring Conference in Krakow, Poland.  I know that it is a cliché but you really had to be there to really get the full experience, that being said I thought that I’d capture some of my experience while it is still fresh in my mind.  This year’s conference had a little bit of everything.

2011 World Champion of Public Speaking Joch Elliot

It was amazing having the 2011 World Champion of Public Speaking, Joch Elliot at our conference. He gave a very dynamic Keynote speech, workshop, and even did a target speech. He took us on his 14 year journey to become the World Champion of Public Speaking.  In his Sunday morning workshop, he dissected his winning speech and explained the Rhetoric devices he used, what an experience! He said a few things that stuck with me including, only one person takes home the trophy, but they will remember your message. He also told us of his dream to win three different districts and to finish first, second, and third, what a one-man show that would be.

The International Speech Contest was incredible. Division F was well represented by our own Rudy Morales and his Diamond Notes speech. It was nice to see Rudy make the finals. Rudy told me on Sunday that someone had told him that like Joch Elliot had said, he might not have won but everyone knows Rachel (the little girl that had taught him so much)! All the finalist speeches were memorable and the winner told us about a special marathon he participated in where he learned what it meant to be a winner. Olivia Schofield was on fire as the contest chair. Given the level of the speeches I saw at the district conference, I can only imagine how great they’ll be at the International Convention.

This was a very historic conference, as it was the last one for an integrated Continental Europe and the birth of District 95 (Northeast Europe). At the DCM (District Conference Meeting) on Saturday, We started out as D59, with officer elections and we later split into separate DCMs for D59 and D95, with D95 meeting for the first time.  Everyone was very excited to see the banner for D95 unveiled.  After being in Toastmasters for a few years, I know (or know of) more and more of the people playing their parts. Ron Joseph (from my own club) was elected as Division F Governor and another person I know from my club was elected as an area governor. Kees Broos, who I’d first got to know as a Division F Governor, was elected the first ever District Governor to D95. At the DCM we saw a presentation for the 2014 D95 Fall Conference being put on in Frankfurt. The organizing committee did a good job and people are looking forward to the first ever D95 Conference.

This year at the gala dinner, not only did we have the finals for the International Speech Contest but there were a lot of awards presented. Several of the past D59 Governors were recognized. There were twenty some DTMs (Distinguished Toastmaster, one of the highest awards that a Toastmaster can achieve) recognized including someone from my club.

I’ve heard that there is a lot of pageantry at the International Convention, but we had plenty of pageantry. There was a parade of all the flags represented in D59 from the back of the building up to the main stage and later on all the flags were hung from the ceiling, it was very impressive looking on the hanging flags from my table.

Maija and Dirk at the Gala Dinner

There was even a little romance. After the Finals of the International Speech Contest were rapping up, we were told that there was surprise.  Dirk Löffelbein, took the stage and after hearing him talk for a couple of minutes I knew that he was going to propose!  He walked from the stage to the table that girlfriend was sitting at and got to one knee to ask her to marry him. She was quite surprised and started to say what a great guy he was and then I heard her say “however” and I about choked.  However is not a word that you want to hear when you propose. Maija Kadlecova did eventually say yes, but everyone (especially Dirk) was hanging on her every word. What a memorable proposal! I wish the couple all the best, and now all future district conferences will have an additional place in their hearts.

One of the reasons that I like going to the district conference is that it usually gives me a chance to do some interviews for the Toastmasters Podcast Europe and this conference gave me the chance to do a few interviews that will be turned into episodes in the coming weeks.  I had the pleasure to interview Joch Elliot. He is the second World Champion of Public Speaking that I’ve been able to interview and the 3rd for the podcast. I interviewed a team from Romania that are largely responsible for Romania’s success in being able to join D95 (officially accepted into D95 on Saturday). They told me about the Romanian story and had advice for other countries looking to join Toastmasters. I’m not going to divulge all of my interviews but please stay tuned and find out.

I took a lot of pictures that I’m still sorting through at the moment. I’ll be posting them as I get the chance at my club’s Flickr group. I took several pictures of banners which I’ll post the Our Toastmaster Banners group pinboard as I get the chance.  You can read more about the pinboard here.
There were some wonderful workshop scheduled. Florian Mück as the contest chair for the English Evaluation Contest had a Hogwart’s theme to the contest I heard mentioned during the awards ceremony at the Gala dinner, it sounded like it must have been interesting
With so much going on during the conference, I didn’t have much time to see Krakow, during the conference, fortunately, I did get to do a little sight-seeing in Krakow, but I’ll write about that in a another time.

I really enjoyed the conference and would like to thank the organizers and everyone responsible for making it a success.  I believe that if you only ever go to your club’s meetings that you’re missing out on a key Toastmasters experience.  District conferences (and other inter club events) are a great place to meet with other Toastmasters.  I won’t be able to make it to the International Conference being held in Kuala Lumpur August 20-23 but I’m sure that if you get the chance to go it should be quite memorable. I’m looking forward to the conference in Frankfurt, I hope to see you there.  

Photo Credit: The picture of Maija and Dirk was shared on Facebook. The other pictures shown were taken by me and appear in by club's Flickr Group.