26 January at 04:00PM
Member of the Month: Martin Ilumin
Did you know that January is mentoring month? What a great way to kick of the New Year. PMI Toronto is starting the year off with two new cohorts of our mentoring programs. Mentoring is a vital way to elevate upcoming project management professionals and learn new ways of approaching projects. This month we kick things off with another dedicated PMIT Chapter member who is passionate about mentoring. Congratulations to our January Member of the Month, Martin Ilumin. Nominated by the Professional Development Board member, Bola Otaraki, who feels that Martin’s drive and determination are key attributes that contribute to the Career Accelerator Program’s success.
A Career Designed for Building Success
Martin Ilumin has been working on projects for over 15 years in his home country of the Philippines and now in the GTA. With his mechanical engineering degree and PMP certification, he has worked in various industries—construction, manufacturing, and oil & gas. Currently, Martin works for an accounting firm overseeing the real estate portfolio.
Looking back to his first project, Martin admits he was not keen to ask too many questions, insisting that he could work things out on his own with little help. Now he knows better, “be comfortable not knowing all the answers and ask others with more experience for guidance, when you can.” A lesson all new project management professionals can learn from is that “understand you can ask questions; it’s a sign of strength.” Being upfront when you are faced with setbacks in a project can lead to lessons learned that will enable you to identify potential risks and set up contingencies and avoid delays. All valuable takeaways every PM can relate to.
At the onset of his career, Martin was part of a project team as a project engineer. He learned valuable lessons on how projects are run and how important it is to engage your stakeholders and keep them informed:
While we need to be communicating all the time, the timing of communication is the most important!
Stakeholder relationships can go beyond the project as well. Some of your stakeholders have previous experience that you can learn from, so ask for guidance when you can. Before you know it, you found yourself a career mentor!
Mentoring Improves Project Quality
Having a mentor means more than going to someone when issues come your way. A mentor can give a different perspective and shift an unknown to a known. Martin recalls a mentor who taught him to put himself in the stakeholder’s shoes and consider everything a stakeholder would value at the end of a project. For example, if the project specifies one efficiency, consider having more than one to present to your stakeholders. They may realize what you have come up with is better than originally planned. Having contingencies in place can be a saviour to a project.
The Learning Never Stops
Earning his PMP certification in late 2020 allowed Martin the opportunity to network more with colleagues in his industry. He felt his education allowed him to understand the same “PM language” and it gave him more confidence to improve overall processes in the workplace.
Martin still hopes to earn his PfMP and further his knowledge in portfolio management. Martin also encourages others who are aspiring PMs to
Enjoy the process at every step. Understand the foundation as you move up from project coordinator, project scheduler, project estimator, project engineer, or assistant project manager. Learn from your mistakes early and understand the bigger picture of what the project is trying to achieve and how your daily tasks affect them.
Volunteering Opens Doors
In 2019, Martin was finishing his postgraduate studies in project management. He realized he needed to start being an active participant in the community and meet other project professionals. He applied to three volunteer roles at PMI Toronto but chose to accept the role in the Career Accelerator Program in the Summer of 2019. The initial purpose to join the Chapter was to “learn from project managers in Toronto and gain new perspectives on how they got their PM positions in their respective fields.”
As Co-Lead of the Career Accelerator Program he works to match mentors with mentees and guides them through the 3-month program. In the end, the mentee should have achieved 1 to 2 goals. Martin has some words of advice for both mentors and mentees:
Mentees: You’re never too experienced to need a mentor. While we do most of our learning from our mistakes, you get to learn from your mentor’s very diverse experience and apply them to whatever career goal you’ve set that has proven to work in the past for them.
Mentors: We always hear this from our loyal mentors. Don’t be surprised that you will always learn something from your mentees as well. Once you’ve started your mentoring relationship, there will always be great satisfaction in seeing your mentees succeed with your guidance. Their success is also your success!
Mentors are invaluable, so don’t sit and think about joining CAP one day because today is the day. Make a difference now, you will get more out of it than you know. Apply today!
Build Your Brand
Some of the common goals among mentees are to find a new role, change careers, or just figure out how to get started. Martin realized that in order to find the career role he wanted he needed to build his brand. With little experience working in Canada Martin used the experience he had working on projects and his volunteer and school roles to build his brand.
During his postgraduate studies, Martin became a LinkedIn Ambassador. He utilized this experience to add to his brand and elevate his network at every opportunity. His persistence paid off and he encourages others to do the same. Your goals are achievable if you put some work into them.
Martin defines success as going beyond the finish line: “Achieving the results that a project sought out to do. Finished doesn’t mean successful, in my book.”
More About Martin
Martin is a born leader who believes communication and being adaptable are reasons that have led to his success.
Work Passions: Delivering projects from “paper” to an actual build gives me a lot of excitement.
Personal Passions: I love basketball and video games. I continue to root for the Los Angeles Lakers and Toronto Raptors. I own multiple gaming platforms—PC, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, and Oculus Quest 2.
Favourite quote: “The ‘P’ in PM is as much about ‘People’ Management as it is about Project Management.” —Cornelius Fichtner
Be A Mentor
Are you someone who can offer insight, guidance, and encouragement? Want to make a difference but don't know how? Earn PDUs and help a fellow colleague achieve their career goals. It is an enriching experience for both! Join the Career Accelerator Projram today.
We are accepting applications until January 31st.