“Respect is the Most Important Aspect of Project Management”

Claude El Nakhel Khalil, PMP, president of the PMI Lebanon Chapter, took time out of her schedule this month to speak to PMI EMEA e-link about her perspectives on project management.

PMI EMEA e-LinkCan you tell us briefly about your career and how PMI has helped your professional development?

Claude El Nakhel Khalil: I am a pharmacist with over 25 years’ experience in industrial pharmaceuticals. I have extensive knowledge of current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) and experience in the development of generic drug formulations. When I got involved with PMI as a volunteer, it opened up a network that has enhanced my professional development. The events and programmes available to members offer learning opportunities that help them advance in their fields of expertise. I have been given the chance to engage in many important discussions and to learn from industry leaders through the interactive webinars organised by PMI communities of practice.

PMI EMEA e-LinkHow long have you been a volunteer with PMI? Can you share a particularly positive experience from your journey as a PMI volunteer?

Claude El Nakhel Khalil: I started volunteering as a team member with the PMI Lebanon Chapter in June 2012. In the beginning, my role was to help organise Lebanon’s first annual national conference on project management, titled “Project Management: The Value and the Application.” This was a great learning opportunity for Lebanese project management practitioners working in local industries. It gave them the chance to update their knowledge, learn about the value of project management, and to celebrate International Project Management Day 2012.

PMI EMEA e-LinkAre there any major achievements, initiatives or key activities that the PMI Lebanon Chapter has recently accomplished that you would like to share?

Claude El Nakhel Khalil: Through our core services like the monthly lectures, newsletters and social media pages, our chapter aims to reach most of the project management practitioners in Lebanon. Last year, the PMI Lebanon Chapter hosted a Project Management for Youth workshop (PM4Youth). This event targeted students between the ages of 14 and 18 from all over Lebanon, and empowered them with project management skills. The participants were grouped into competing teams around the themes: education, health, environment, poverty and social action. They presented their project ideas, and the winning team received both mentoring support and funding to deliver their project. The PM4Youth workshop team consisted of PMI volunteers who were supported by the chapter board members.

PMI EMEA e-LinkDo you have any advice or tips to share on becoming a successful project manager?

Claude El Nakhel Khalil: In my opinion, respect is the most important aspect of project management. It affects everything, from how people view you personally to the quality of work produced by your team. If you are respected for the way you manage your projects and relate to people, positive results will follow. Respect is something you earn through your knowledge, actions and attitude.

PMI EMEA e-LinkWhat are the big project management trends in your region?

Claude El Nakhel Khalil: Lebanon‘s national development policies are increasingly focused on economic growth. This is being driven by high-level project management in a fast, competitive market with rapidly changing technologies. Local projects sometimes encounter challenges due to changing political priorities, bureaucratic hurdles and misaligned project expectations. Increasing project management expertise is helping to overcome these challenges.

PMI EMEA e-LinkWhat are the initiatives your chapter is currently delivering?

Claude El Nakhel Khalil: We are assisting project managers in the community by creating an environment that promotes continuous learning and networking. This is helping local professionals develop a better understanding of the trends, opportunities and challenges they need to identify and address. Armed with this knowledge, local project management practitioners are increasingly succeeding in this very competitive business arena, in both the private and public sectors.