Stéphane Parent is the CEO of Leader Maker in Prince Edward Island, Canada, where he coaches and mentors future project leaders. He’s also one of the most engaged members of the PM.com community with more than 8,000 contributions and almost 140,000 people in his network.
You began your project management career managing a team of information system specialists for a human resources unit. Given we were the most technological staff in the unit, we were called to lead and execute projects such as choosing software, install networks and develop technological solutions. As the team leader, I became the project manager.
What do you love most about the work? Project management allows you to blend management and technical. I’ve managed units of technical staff. It’s not the same as managing projects with technical staff.
What do you find most challenging? Projects can only be delivered by people, for people. It’s inevitable that the biggest challenge in project management is people. We talk about projects being unique. So are people. No two persons are the same. Don’t underestimate the amount of work to support and encourage your clients, your team members and other affected parties.
Does your approach change depending on the country or organization you’re working in? To a certain degree. You must deal with different cultures, idioms and approaches. No matter the project or the country, I concentrate on meeting the needs of the people.
What's your proudest professional achievement? Completing the Distinguished Toastmaster award. I joined Toastmasters in 2007. It took me 10 years to complete all the projects necessary.
What's the best piece of advice you've received or can share? I have something to learn from every person I meet. This influences all my personal and professional decisions.
How has ProjectManagement.com helped you in your work and career? It is my project management community. It allows me to reach out to fellow and future project management practitioners across the world. The webinars are a tremendous help in keeping my four PMI certifications up to date. I enjoy sharing experiences.
What interests do you have outside work? I enjoy singing, community theatre and reading. Oh … and, of course, Toastmasters!
What's your favorite TV show, artist or movie? My favorite TV show is Better Call Saul. My favorite artist is my actor/director daughter, Rebecca.
Best vacation? My best vacation was a two-month stay in Mexico after my high school graduation. We drove down from Gatineau, Quebec to Coxcatlán, San Luis Potosí. We stayed in a catholic mission as we were meant to experience the missionary life. As a teenager, I found it humbling to see the richness in the people and their community.
To connect with Stéphane Parent, visit his ProjectManagment.com profile.
This interview was conducted by Kelley Hunsberger.