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Mentoring with PMI Toronto : Insights from Jamal Shiwram

Mentoring Program


About me:

I started my career in Construction as a marketing rep for a small construction company. Moving up, I began supervising sites as the company grew, and that’s when I started to learn about construction management, which guided me towards project management. I finished my degree at McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario, and started looking into private courses for attaining my CAPM, and that’s where I found PMI. After attaining my CAPM, I started onto a different career path, in the tradeshow and exhibit industry. In the meantime, I studied again and acquired my PMP. From this point, I moved up with more responsibility within the company and took on bigger clients. I moved to a larger company and that’s where I started managing even larger projects; fitting out museums and customer visitor centers. In my first opportunity on a museum project, I traveled and lived in Kuwait for a year. Upon my return, I was then tasked with being a part of the Royal Alberta Museum project in Edmonton, Alberta. I was stationed there for another year. The experience of travel really opened my eyes to managing people, different types of people, in different environments, with different backgrounds.

Now, I work mostly remotely on projects within North America professionally, I volunteer with PMI Toronto and PMI EF, and I fill my “free time” with an amateur podcast. The experiences overseas and outside of Ontario are the reason I want to keep pushing to become a better project manager and leader; this is part of the reason why I started to look at involving myself more within PMI and PMI Toronto.

Why did I join the mentoring program?

As I mentioned above, traveling was a great experience. It not only allowed me to grow on a professional level, but it also helped me grow as a person. Connecting with people, learning about different people and cultures, learning about different working styles, and helping teach and share with different people my experiences, was the best part of the travel. When I returned from Kuwait and Alberta, I did a 360-degree review on myself with my colleagues and previous clients. The feedback is what geared me to pursuing leadership roles and seeking opportunities to expand my grasp of being a leader. Thus, I joined my first mentorship program as a mentee within the PMI Toronto Chapter.

The experience was amazing to me. It was great to see the type of community that there is within the PMI Chapters; the people willing to trade their time, just to help others in whatever challenges they might be facing, or just help them navigate the business world. This is what inspired me to become a mentor; because to me, helping others grow, listening, advising, guided, learning and teaching is one of the best forms of leadership. At the end of the day it’s a great feeling, and I end up learning a lot from every single person I network and make a connection with. It’s a win-win situation!

What I’ve gained:

Being within the mentorship program, I gained a lot of experience. Experience in the form of stories. Stories from my past mentors and mentees. This is what I consider, one of the most valuable assets of being involved with the program. You get to speak and learn from professionals, whether they are within the field of Project Management of not, first hand. There are many different people within the chapter, and many people from all over the world – and are brought to you! It’s part of my philosophy that learning never stops. The mentorship program is a great way to continue that learning. You get to help people that respect you and what you have to offer, as well as learn something for yourself that you can take with you.

I’ve also gained a great network of professionals within project management. If you want to grow your presence in the field, your knowledge in the field, or your reach in the field, you will find people willing to lend a helping hand and have genuine care in helping. Through this, I’ve also gained insight into other programs that PMI has to offer.

The program has allowed me to explore and expand within the PMI community; it has grown my professional network, and it has allowed me to have access to, and gain/learn from experiences that I probably would never have been able to without it. I would 100% recommend being a mentor or even joining the mentorship program as a mentee. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you will learn and the people you will meet. It will open you up to more opportunities, and open your eyes up to what PMI Toronto is all about. You will meet new people and grow your network. You will help advance your career

If you are interested in becoming a mentor and giving back to the community, PMI Toronto career accelerator is currently looking for mentors for its Spring 2020 program. 



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