Empowering women on a global scale starts with individuals. This year, as we look forward to celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8th, we want to shine a spotlight on project management professional entities geared toward empowering women to achieve success. 

Knowledge + Application = Power 

Founded in 2009 by veteran project manager Monique Marlow, the Association of Women Project Managers (AWPM) provides an online social community through LinkedIn and Facebook to inspire project managers and aspiring project managers to learn new critical success skills. Emphasizing a ‘growth mindset’, Marlow encourages members to learn from one another’s experiences and through connection, sharing, and collaboration. The AWPM encourages peer support and cultivates what some may consider a distinctly ‘feminine’ path to career advancement: a focus on building power through the ‘intangibles.’ According to Marlow, ‘intangibles’ such as ‘Influence, Persuasion, Relationship Management, Emotional Intelligence, and the ability to truly connect with project stakeholders and executive sponsors’ not only form the foundation of excellence in project management but are areas where women may have greater strengths than their male peers. 

‘I feel seen!’ 

According to a McKinsey study, women of color are not only severely underrepresented in leadership across all industries but face more challenges and receive less support. Renowned project management expert Asya Watkins wants to change that. Watkins founded Women of Project Management (WoPM) to support and amplify the voices of women and women of color in every specialty of the project management industry worldwide. According to Watkins, “I created this community out of sheer desperation for myself! As a black woman in the project management industry, I craved a space that would support me in my career evolution as well as understand & support my unique perspective. I couldn’t find it, so I created it!” WoPM offers not only a carefully curated virtual community where members are ‘seen’ and supported, but opportunities for career evolution in every specialty of the project management industry. As an official partner of the Project Management Institute (PMI), WoPM offers ongoing PMI products, as well as one-on-one mentoring, coaching, master classes, and job postings. 

‘One seat at the table is not enough’ 

“I used to say that women need a seat at the table, and now I’m like, you know what, one seat at the table is not enough,” says Misty Mayes, CEO and founder of Management Solutions LLC and Project Controls Solutions. “It’s important for us as women to turn around and always have those women behind us that we’re bringing along to have that extra seat.” Mayes founded Project Controls Solutions (PCS) in 2020 to expand access to the project controls profession through training programs that create a pathway for aspiring professionals to develop the skills and capabilities they need to build meaningful careers in the industry. PCS has a specific focus on creating opportunities for women and other people from under-represented groups. While men still outnumber women by nearly 2-to-1 in project management and project controls, PCS is making strides towards increased participation in the field by creating training and job placement opportunities for women, leading to improved social mobility and quality of life.