Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 8 2009 Contents 15
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By Shelley Daws
“Seventy per cent of DMO’s project managers are
enrolled in professional development or certification.
We have our own training provider with the DMO
Institute, and offer various project management
courses – the pinnacle of which is the Executive
Masters in Complex Project Management.”
Another key subject explored was how
many women leave one job to go home and care
Helen Badger, from construction company
IQON, compared her role of working mum to the
plate-spinning circus clown.
“I feel like I’m constantly running from one
pole to another trying to keep all the plates
spinning,” Ms Badger said.
The Governor-General focussed on the
challenges and demands on women with
simultaneous responsibilities for managing their
careers and families, while reinforcing with
attendees that “you can have it all but not all at
the same time”.
Reflecting these sentiments, and drawing
from a career spanning nearly 25 years in the
Royal Australian Air Force, Group Captain
(GPCAPT) Christine Hay discussed her life as the
project, and the lessons she has learned along the
way, including teamwork and leadership, training
and development, attention to detail and the
importance of thinking corporately.
However, the personal aspects of GPCAPT
Hay’s life lessons were most poignant.
“Believe in yourself, take the time to reflect
and learn from reflections, and invest in yourself,”
GPCAPT Hay said.
“For us to be truly effective in managing a
project, and in life, we must be resilient.”
To achieve resilience, GPCAPT Hay described
what she referred to as the quadrant.
“Very simply, the quadrant represents the
aspects of our life – intellectual, physical, social,
and spiritual,” GPCAPT Hay said
“To take all that work and life dishes up to us,
we need things or activities that look after each of
“If we do not have balance, if we do not invest
in ourselves and our four quadrants, we will suffer,
and so too will our projects.”
Founder of the Women in Project Management,
Debbie Mazlin (a former Squadron Leader in
the Royal Australian Air Force), said that project
management had a reputation of being a male
dominated profession, perhaps due to its early
foundations in construction and engineering.
Ms Mazlin established Women in Project
Management Forums within the Australian Institute
of Project Management to encourage women to
enter and excel in the field of project management
and provide a forum for networking and support.
“Project management has emerged from
a male-dominated industry and there are many
opportunities for women interested in pursuing a
career in the field,” Ms Mazlin said.
“Women are commonly recognised for their
soft skills including communication and interpersonal
skills, creativity, team building and leadership skills.
And these skills are becoming a key contributor to the
success of modern projects.
“Women bring discrete skills that are increasingly
in demand in the field of project management.”
However, as the Governor-General mentioned,
it is not just women’s soft skills that make them a
success in the field of project management.
“Like many others, this area of work has
been traditionally male-dominated; a dominance
supported by the vague perception that men are
more task-oriented that women,” the Governor-
“There may be some truth in the observation
that women’s strengths are more relational, but
common sense and experience also yield the
home truth that it’s very often the women who
get things done.
“I have immense respect for your success in
this challenging field. I know the complexities you
balance every day."
Ms Bryce described some of these as:
■ designing and sticking to schedules
■ coordinating the interests of multiple
■ assessing the strengths and weaknesses
of your team
■ the opportunities and the threats that impact
on your remit
■ analysing risk
■ responding to elements beyond your control,
■ the ultimate delivery – on time,
on target, on budget.
“These are tricky threads to keep in a tight
weave, requiring of you the highest levels of
commitment, flexibility, vision, and leadership,”
Ms Bryce said.
“I am exhilarated by what your forum
represents, what it assembles and promises, and
what will grow from its seeds.”
Women bring discrete skills that are increasingly
in demand in the field of project management.
Founder of the Women in Project
Management, Debbie Mazlin
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