Project Management

Trial by Fire: Communicating in a Crisis

Bob Weinstein is a journalist who covers technology, project management, the workplace and career development.

It was 1994, and Andrew Boyarsky found himself in Yugoslavia (then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) working as a PM for the Catholic Relief Services. His assignment: to transport medical supplies to thousands of refugees scattered throughout the war-torn country.
Not a small assignment by any stretch of the imagination. Not only was he laden with enormous responsibility, but it was also a dangerous project because there were so many warring factions.
If that wasn't enough to scare anyone away, it was Boyarsky's maiden voyage as a PM. The then-24-year-old graduate of Johns Hopkins University with an MSM from the Arthur D. Little School of Management had just returned from a microfilming project in Belarus--where he was responsible for filming documents for the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.--when he spotted the Catholic Relief Services job ad.
Even though Boyarsky had only a vague idea what was ahead, he had a few things working in his favor: He was a seasoned traveler who knew his way around the Slavic countries and Europe. He was also trilingual--speaking fluent Russian, German and English--and he had a knack for picking up languages quickly. On his microfilming project, he had learned how to get things done quickly, accurately and on deadline.
Boyarsky's ancillary qualifications would certainly help; everything else--how to get medical supplies to sick …

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