IPMA International Project Management Association
19 September 2019 / 8:00

Addressing the legacy of generation “W” (wise), part 7

This blog article is part of a series of interviews of persons that have shaped the International Project Management Association during the past 50 years, by Amin Saidoun. Interview with Ms. Mary McKinlay, Honorary Fellow of IPMA and APM, former Vice-President of IPMA, Board member and Chair of Association for project Management in the UK.

How long have you been working with/for IPMA in various forms?

I joined IPMA over 20 years ago. I was elected twice as Vice-President by the Council of Delegates from 2005 to 2007 and from 2014 to 2017.

What were the 5 biggest achievements you remember you contributed to IPMA in your various functions?

  • Young Crew was not invited to the IPMA World Congress event as full participants so as VP in charge for Young Crew I convinced the Executive Board to allow Young Crew participating in the World Congress with no extra payment, first in Cracow 2007 and then in Rome 2008.
  • Having worked on the Project Excellence Award, taking over from Otto Ziegelmeier. As Vice President I was able to share the award activities with an increasing number of people. I was responsible for the Award Ceremony during the Rome Congress in 2008.
  • Having been an active member of the Governance Review group twice as Vice President. I pushed the declaration of interests as a document to be signed by IPMA board members, an initiative that initially was rejected.
  • Having supported the introduction of the mentoring for new associations by larger and already existing member associations.
  • Promoting the reconciliation between different people in IPMA, be it on topics like gender balance, or on the simple fact that in multicultural organisation like IPMA, different feelings and ideas have to be recognized.
  • Having been elected as Vice President twice.

What was IPMA’s biggest challenge when you were Vice-President and what did you learn from it?

  • to listen to people
  • to reconcile different people
  • to clarify the purpose of IPMA and try to answer the question: if IPMA did not exist why would we have to invent it?
  • to answer the question: who is the customer of IPMA?

How do you measure success and over what time frame?
Something that leads to content other people and myself.

If you could be doing anything right now about IPMA, what would it be? Why?
I would remind people what was achieved and why it did not succeed the first time.

If you had to choose only one goal for IPMA to achieve what would it be?
To achieve international recognition as the peer body for the project management profession

What is the one thing that made you upset about IPMA?
Behaviour of some people which made common work as toxic. Life is too short and people with such behaviour waste other’s people time.

What is your favourite movie/story? Why?
Aesops fables because they contribute a lot to children education and to the ethical dimension of life to adults.

What is on your list of personal values? Why?
Integrity, transparency, thoughtfulness and kindness.

If money was not an issue, what would you do? Why?
I would not be doing anything different than today, being supportive of IPMA
and continuing to be Chairman of local Parish Council helping the community where I live.

What is the best lesson or moment of insight that you have received while being with IPMA?
Life is constant journey where I discover people who do surprising things, from whom I can always learn and discover new things.

What is your list of important questions that you would like to find answers to? Why for each

  • How to make more people happy?
  • Why do awful things happen to people?

What gets you the most excited in life? Why?

  • Solving problems. It gives me personal satisfaction.
  • Getting more youngsters into engineering? It gives me joy.

If there was one person that you could meet who would it be? Why?
I always enjoy meeting politicians to try to understand what makes them tick. I am fortunate that I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting and fascinating people.

What moment in your life are you the most proud of? Why? How can you duplicate more of these moments?
The moment watching my daughter when she graduated because I was very proud of her and the recognition she got.

What is the one thing that you are most scared of doing? Is it because it is wrong or because it scares you to a high degree?
I am terrified by snakes, because they are unpredictable and vicious.

Are you more concerned with today or tomorrow? Why?
I am concerned with today as part of today’s activities is always preparing for tomorrow. Because It is always good to do know what I will be doing next.

What is the most important question that IPMA needs to ask itself?
It has to reconcile its ideas of certification and other products. This needs integration.
How do we manage certification operations and align the standards as much as possible in an organisation made up of such different and multicultural members.

What are five things that you know that IPMA should be doing now?

  • Sorting out certification processes internally.
  • Make it easier for those MAs that do not have money to be more involved. This could be done through the regional approach. Regionalisation is necessary to involve smaller MAs and make them even stronger in their region.

What is your favourite quote?
“Rules and procedures are for the guidance of wise men and the slavish obedience of fools”, I learned this from the Headmistress of a school where I first worked as a teacher. I’ve seen it demonstrated time and time again in the world of projects.

What is the one fear that IPMA should work on overcoming this year? Why and how?
IPMA should work on getting financial stability as this would help smaller associations to survive and be supported even more than today.

If you could give a lot of something, what would it be? Why?
It would be give things that please people, provide support to people who need it because I have some ideas to share with them and I learn to listen to their concerns.

Thank you Mary McKinlay.

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Amin Saidoun

Author of this post

Amin Saidoun is Executive Director of International Project Management Association, an international federation of project management associations around the world. Amin Saidoun, is an economist and graduate from London School of Economics and Political Sciences. He is a project manager who gained his 20 years of experience in international projects both in medium sized and multinational organisations in auditing, consulting and the logistics domain. As Executive Director of IPMA, he is in charge of the area Finance and Administration, Business Development of IPMA activities in Africa and the Middle-East and involved is various internal development projects and governance. He is author and co-author on various project management and business administration related articles. Among his areas of interest: intercultural project management