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Recap: 2021 Ontario Project Management Youth Conference (OPMYC)


When most people think about project management, they think about professional growth and career advancement opportunities. However, these skills are not exclusively beneficial to working professionals alone. Those who learn project management skills earlier in life are better equipped to become leaders in the future. That’s why, PMI Toronto was motivated by PMIEF (Project Management Institute Education Foundation), and hosted a virtual event that enabled youth to realize their potential and transform their lives through project management.

On Saturday, March 27th, keynote speakers from across Ontario PMI chapters came together to share their expertise and facilitate discussions with youth audiences and young leaders. The theme of this event focused on PMIEF’s 6C’s of youth in project management:

  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Critical thinking
  • Community
  • Collaboration
  • Confidence

The unique format of this conference allowed attendees to listen and learn from experts on an event platform, then navigate to a networking platform in which attendees could participate in a keynote facilitated discussion. The topics and discussions at this event illustrated the transferable and adaptable nature of project management to all areas of life including school, work, home, and community. These competencies help to build life skills such as budgeting, organization, leadership, communication, time management, negotiation, and many more.



Dr Jeffrey Thompson

PMI Toronto – President

Topic: Waterfall vs. Agile – Does one methodology yield greater success within a virtual environment?

Dr Jeffrey Thompson kicked off the day by introducing an insightful twist to the typical Waterfall vs. Agile debate. With over 20 years of experience, he has implemented both methodologies throughout his professional career. After thoroughly examining the benefits and drawbacks of both, he alludes to the fact that both approaches can be used to successfully meet customer expectations and obtain project acceptance. Ultimately, changing your mindset towards how you address change will lead you to success.



Diogo Magahlaes

PMI CTT - President

Topic: The Changing Landscape: In-Demand Projects and Job Prospects

Diogo Magahlaes explored the current challenges and opportunities to anticipate as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. He describes four in-demand industries to note based on current economic trends: Construction, Manufacturing, Technology, and Telecommunication. However, independent of which industry you choose to pursue for school or your career, mental health impacts are prevalent across all. Therefore, it’s important to remain flexible and adaptable to the environment around you, but also honest and conscious of your personal limits.



Abiola Lovell

PMI Lakeshore - Marketing & Outreach

Topic: Change Management and Projects

Abiola Lovell expressed the significance of managing change within project management. “Change is the one thing that is constant in our lives and we must learn to embrace it!” says Lovell. Project managers are change agents, meaning that they play an important role in planning flexibility into project schedules to accommodate change and ensuring that the right people understand why the change is occurring at an appropriate time. One key takeaway from this presentation is to frame your mindset to embrace change, then can focus on prioritizing and completing your work rather than focusing on perfection.



Andrea DelZotto

Tridel - Director and Executive VP of Community Development

Topic: Tridel's Impact on Community Development

Andrea DelZotto shared the secret behind Tridel’s success over its 85 year history. Tridel is a real estate developer based in Toronto that specializes in the building of condominiums. Their philosophy is not to simply build a house or condo, but to build a community by understanding how people live. When you’re building a home, you have the power to influence positive change in the culture, economy, environment, society, and physical environment of the community being built. DelZotto helped us understand the “human side” of cities beyond the bricks and mortar. For example, people centric buildings have lifestyle amenities such as enhanced mobility within public spaces. This means that whether the community brings together someone who is 20 years old or 60 years young, every individual in the community can travel to essential services without using a car. Closing off, DelZotto leaves us with a lesson on growing to meet consumer demands within the ever changing economy. Changing the buildings also changes the communities, so it’s important to continue creating products and services that deliver societal value, cultivate safety, and create healthier communities.



Mireille Landry

PMI DHC - Membership

Topic: Leadership Skills to Master for Successful Virtual Collaboration

Mireille Landry’s insights on virtual collaboration highlights that well-managed virtual teams can actually outperform in-person teams. Virtual collaboration requires team trust, shared purpose and goals, and the coordination of tools. Ultimately, these factors create engagement, which creates cohesion and clarity to drive high performing teams. Consequently, a team cannot exist without a leader to foster this engagement. The most important qualities of a leader is to create a safe and trusting environment, provide clear direction and allow members to self-organize, foster a sense of connection and belonging, openness to new ideas and learning, lead with empathy, and demonstrate emotional intelligence. Be intentional with your communications, present when collaborating, and empathetic to build a safe community within your team.



Lameck Osinde

PMI SWOC - Marketing & Communications

Topic: Leveraging PM Tools & Techniques to help Remote Teams succeed in the COVID era and beyond.

With the vast range of tools available for virtual collaboration, Osinde finds that remote teams have consciously re-engineered social culture. For example, opportunities to spontaneously grab a coffee no longer exist. Team members must intentionally recreate these experiences by scheduling virtual coffee chats. While the interaction between people, processes, and technology should be balanced, our current virtual environment has accelerated technology leaving people and processes behind to catch up. This point highlights the significance of process improvement and continuous learning in our everyday lives.



Nadine Fortin

PMI OVOC – Professional Development

Topic: Moving projects forward in a VUCA world

VUCA is an acronym for volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. These four factors create a stressful environment that is common in today’s project environment. Fortin introduces the idea that self mastery is key to navigating successfully through these types of environments. There are four tools to foster resilience: use box breathing to manage stress, embody a positive mindset, visualize success, and set micro goals to build confidence. When faced with a difficult situation, stop to observe your response, orient yourself to the current situation, make a decision on how you want to face this challenge, then act on your decision. If we happen to fail, then we must fail fast and continue failing forwards.



Max Wideman

PMI Fellow


The conference concluded with the inspirational Max Wideman. At 94 years young, Max recollected the story of the creation and approval of the PMBOK 34 years ago on March 28, 1987. PMI brought together experts in their respective fields from all over the world and conducted large scale workshops. A mix of scholars, industry and executive they white boarded, debated and composed the content, management, inputs, tools, techniques and outputs. Max gathered all of that information with his wife Audrey. They believed the Risk Knowledge Area should be included and co-authored that Chapter before presenting to the PMI Board. His contribution to the Project Management profession laid the foundation for the present day. Today, we are “standing on the shoulders of giants'' like Max and other significant contributors to our profession. That foundation helped to standardize PMI and Project Management for years to come. We run OPMC/ OPMYC in late March as an honour and homage to Max and his team!


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