President's Message

President's Message
Ranjini Cassup



Change is hard.

2020 has forced us to look at things with an entirely new lens, we have been forced to adapt, we have been forced to think differently. Together, we have turned social norms on their heads, we have adapted to new ways of working, shopping, exercising and socializing. We have, unwittingly, embraced change and created new norms.

Change is inevitable.

As we embrace a new year at PMI-DHC with a new Board of Directors, we know that we will be faced with challenges. As a Board we will be forced to depend less on ‘the way things have been done in the past’ and look forward to the possibilities of how things can be done in the future.

We will need to embrace the spirit of our DHC Community in order to bring content and activities that are meaningful to you, while delivering the professional knowledge that is needed to grow and expand our mindsets as a professional body.

Our new ‘normal’ means embracing change, fearlessly with our arms wide open. We must adapt new ways to gather, communicate, network and learn. We must dare to be different, to try new things and be open to things not always going as planned (I like to call these Learning Opportunities).

As Project Managers we know that change is the only constant in our worlds. We are resilient. We are strong and we are in this together.

I am excited to be back as your Chapter President and lead this wonderful team over the coming year!

With a deep-rooted focus on our Mission, Vision and Values we will find new and exciting ways to engage our members, to bring valuable opportunities for continuous learning, to connect people and to share our experiences through unique networking opportunities.

I look forward to serving you, our members, over the coming term and look forward to a fresh new year ahead!

Change... is an opportunity. Let us embrace it together!



It's March and Spring is Springing!

MARCH 2021. We have made it through the winter and there is much to look forward to. We are over the hump of the second wave, kids are back in school and the vaccine roll out has begun. I know that I am feeling a little pep in my step and looking forward to warmer weather, more outdoor activities and seeing familiar faces in the near future (even if those faces are partially mask covered!).

Our chapter is also geared up for the spring with many fresh new initiatives. We have introduced a few new and very exciting offerings:

  • PROJECT BITES: these are FREE 'bite sized' learning tools offered to our membership via the Members Only access feature of our website.
  • THE ON-DEMAND LEARNING CENTRE: Members are able to access recorded events; some for free and others for a small fee.
  • THOUGHT LEADERSHIP FORUMS: FREE 1-hour Member-lead forums, each with a unique and specific focus.
  • CLIC: Our annual networking event will be back in May with an exciting twist.
  • THE VIRTUAL WORKSHOP SERIES—TOOLS WITH ELLIE: will also continue with various offerings (so, it's never too late to sign up).

We are also so happy to share that we have collected almost $1,000.00 over the last quarter for our charity—Durham Outlook's St. Vincent Pallotti's Kitchen.

I look forward to the next few months of activities, learning and networking! Until we are able to see each other in person, stay safe and be happy.



It’s almost March!

FEBRUARY 2021. So much has changed in the last 12 months, yet in many regards we can be left feeling stagnant unless we are making deliberate choices in our willingness to learn, grow, and evolve.

But what does that look like?

I am learning that it is all about perspective. For many learning, growing and evolving over the last 12 months meant learning how to stretch a single paycheck to meet daily needs that didn’t shrink. Others have learned the fine balance of working full-time while supporting kids through on-line school. Some of us have had to adapt day time stretches and deliberate movement to avoid sitting in one spot for 8 hours a day.

Learning, Growth, and Evolution has meant different things for different people, but the common thread is that we have all had to get uncomfortable, we have all had to stretch our imaginations and we all have had to muster up motivation and courage to try something new, something different or see the world from a different perspective.

As a chapter, we have made deliberate decisions in order to ensure we are providing value to our membership through accessible and innovative learning opportunities. In January, you were able to learn about Successful Delivery with Kanban and How to be Unstoppable! Our February monthly meeting detailed our roles in Strategic Planning as Project Managers and how we impact the overall success of the programs and projects that we run.

In March we kick off our 10-week Spring Mentorship Program. If you have not participated in this in the past – I encourage you to consider it. In the program, Mentors and Mentees are partnered to build a “one-to-one” mentoring relationship through commitment, mutual trust, respect, and communication. Together they establish goals/objectives and an action plan tailored specifically to the Mentee’s learning needs and the Mentor’s strengths. It is an exciting opportunity to learn and grow, both for the Mentor and the Mentee. Registration closes tomorrow (Saturday, February 27 at midnight).

And…..we are trying something new (stay tuned and check your email for updates!). A Thought Leadership Forum. This is different from what we have brought to you in the past, instead of delivering training, we will be bringing you together to share your knowledge and expertise on a specific topic. This is an exciting way to share amongst peers and network with members who have similar knowledge and interests.

Our Call for Nominations has also gone up for the 2021 Board of Directors! If you have been thinking about getting involved with PMI-DHC and meet the minimum requirements, this may be the opportunity for you.

Until next month, I will hold on tight to the prospect of an early spring (Ontario’s Wiarton Willie says he did not see his shadow on Groundhog Day!). I remain hopeful that we will come through this pandemic and be able to celebrate in person soon! Until then, take care and challenge yourself to try something new and different today.



Happy New Year!

JANUARY 2021. I personally welcome 2021 with hopes that we can remain diligent long enough to get through this pandemic and back to living, loving, hugging, and seeing our family and friends sooner than later.

My resolution this year is to ‘be present’. I resolve to enjoy each moment for what it is and what it has to offer and let go of what may (or may not) come next. What is your resolution for 2021?

I am personally excited for all the exciting changes coming in the PMBOK 7th Edition! We are moving from a process-based project management methodology to principle-based project delivery that focuses more on outcomes (imagine that!).

Agile is an integrated part of each performance domain (yup, formally known as Knowledge Areas). It is a big shift, but I believe aligned to how so many of us do our jobs day-to-day. I encourage you to sign up for one of the many free webinars that provide an overview of these changes and familiarize yourself, even if you're already certified. It’s interesting stuff.

PMI-DHC is also offering some exciting courses this month, on January 16th join us online for Successful Delivery with Kanban with Travis Birch, and then on the 23rd you can Be Unstoppable! This Leadership Development offering was so well received at the Ontario Chapters Professional Development Day that we decided to offer it just for you. Both are being offered to our membership for just $5.00.

Our monthly meeting on Jan 21st will also guarantee to be informative as we learn new tools and techniques to keep our teams engaged in an online environment.

I look forward to seeing you at one of the many events happening this month, until then I encourage you to ‘be present’ and enjoy this moment.



Lessons Learned

DECEMBER 2020. Back in October, PMI President and CEO Sunil Prashara shared with us 10 Lessons of the Most Influential Projects; a thought-provoking piece on key lessons we can take away and apply to projects that we are working on today.

For certain we know that things will go wrong, but many more things will go right, it is equally important to share the lessons of success as that of failure or missed opportunity. Every time we don’t get it right is an opportunity to look at things with a different perspective; a fresh lens. It is never too late to do things differently, even within the iron constraints of project management methodologies.

As a chapter, the PMI-DHC Board had to stop and reflect on our goals for the 2020-2021 year and then make the decision to pivot in order to align with the needs of our members and our community at large. Over the coming months, we will be offering Training and Leadership Development Programs at a significantly reduced rate. Based on your feedback, we know that continuous professional development, collaboration, and networking is what fuels you.

In January we will be bringing you two new live webinars: Successful Delivery with Kanban on January 16th and Be Unstoppable in 2021 on January 23rd; both at $5.00 for members and $10.00 for non-members (students are FREE!). We hope that you find these webinars of value and take advantage of the learning opportunities.

In closing, I would like to wish you and your families a wonderful and restful holiday season and all the best as you ring in a fresh new year, with all your 2020 lessons learned under your belt!




The Jar of Life

NOVEMBER 2020. We have all heard the story of the jar of life—this simple message reminds us to fill our ‘jar’ with our big rocks first before adding the sand and water. It is a lovely and uplifting analogy, but who really has time to pay attention? 

I have been thinking about my own ‘big rocks’ over the last few weeks. There have been many changes over the last month—organizational changes at work, at PMI, and at home, and they include my family, my friends, my career, and my social activities (which includes volunteering). As I wrote my list, I realized that I was missing one huge rock! Where was ‘I’? ‘I’ was missing! 

I determined that I needed to re-evaluate and adjust where I am spending my time and where I am giving my attention. ‘I’ need to go into the jar first, ‘I’ need to be the biggest rock! My physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being need to be my priority, it is the only way I can continue to give my time and attention to other people and things in a meaningful way.

So many of us are entrepreneurs, leaders in our organizations and in our homes. We use our time as currency to ‘pay’ attention to the things that matter to us. The realization that time is not limitless and can not be earned or replaced like money has become shockingly real over these past few months. 

I read an excellent article that highlighted agility and resilience in today’s corporate leadership environment. It highlighted that people are the reason that businesses succeed and that a team of well-balanced people can and will perform at extremely high levels and still have gas in the tank for more!

Learning lesson for me: highly successful people lead well balanced lives! Long hours, burn-out, and doing it all are no longer a badge of honour to be worn. They are remnants of a system that is broken.

This pandemic has taught us many lessons, the biggest one for me has been that my time is valuable and cannot be replaced. Health, family and doing things that matter and bring joy are slowly taking priority once again. 

This month I challenge you to pull out the pen and paper and make a good old fashion list!

  • What are your big rocks?
  • Where are you spending your time? 
  • Are you happy? or do you need to make a few adjustments?
  • Can you truly afford not to make changes?

Your health and wellness matter. Take a moment this month to appreciate the sun and the clean crisp air.

Balanced Jar of Life

I look forward to seeing you at our next monthly meeting. Dan Trommater will be sharing with us on how to CHALLENGE ASSUMPTIONS AND EMBRACE THE GROWTH MINDSET. 

Until then take care and be safe!



Change, Reflection, and Thanksgiving

OCTOBER 2020. grat·i·tude—The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness—it is the season of change; of slowing down, reflection and giving thanks.

Even though we may forget from time-to-time about how much we have, this is the season to sit back to reflect and be grateful. Our communities have been stretched to the limits as so many families struggle to meet day-to-day needs and grapple with decisions that they would not have given a second thought to a few months ago.

As I reflect on these past few months, I am grateful for family, for good friends, for a job that allows me to be productive and contribute in a meaningful way. I am thankful for the opportunity to give back, learn and lead exceptional teams!

This month's monthly meeting will focus on Servant-Leadership. In my journey, I have learned that If you want to be a servant leader, it starts with self-awareness, which begins with understanding your heart.

I encourage each of you to take some time and examine your heart this month. What gives you joy? From where do you find peace? How are you contributing to a better tomorrow?

I hope everyone has a happy and safe Thanksgiving weekend and I look forward to seeing you at this month's meeting.

Until then, be safe!



Creating Our New Normal

SEPTEMBER 2020. A lot has changed in the world since our last update in May. Seemingly, COVID-19 has changed everything. We offer you our deepest and sincerest condolences for our members that have suffered through the loss of a family member during this time. 

For those who have been laid-off or let go and are looking to re-enter the workforce, we are committed to providing opportunities through volunteering, job boards, networking and workshops. This year will be unique as we strive to bring relevant topics and stay connected with you, our members. We recognize the need to do more, with less. We understand that 'virtual fatigue' is a thing, and we are making every effort to ensure our sessions are engaging and interactive. For the time being, we will remain virtual and re-evaluate as things progress in the fall. 

Our September meeting will focus on getting noticed and staying connected (really connected) virtually. (Networking has never been more important!). The PMP Prep Course offering will continue to be virtual, and we are looking at innovative ways to connect and network online for CLIC later in the fall.

I look forward to seeing and speaking with you as we journey down this path of creating our 'new normal.'