Blog posted by: Russel Jamieson, 25 Jan 2022.
As project professionals we are often (usually) very busy working on projects and I often found myself thinking what more can I do for the profession? One answer was to volunteer. Volunteering comes in many forms and it is a great way to get involved with the project community. Will you consider offering your time and expertise on the Volunteer Steering Group (VSG)? It's an opportunity to give back to the project profession, work alongside APM's leaders ensuring volunteer voices are heard and their activities align to APM's strategy. Sounds like something you're interested in? Do please read on
Traditionally these elected volunteer roles have been filled by fabulous project professionals with perhaps too many years' experiences volunteering for us (yes, I include myself here) to be totally credible. So, with elections coming up between now and March 2022, it seems a great time to have new passionate blood come in and add some positive disruption to the existing role working alongside the other elected VSG members and APM.
What is the commitment and what does it involve?
Good question. Formal meetings, lasting about a couple of hours each, currently occur on a quarterly basis. With COVID-19 still hanging around these are happening remotely, but we hope that we'll soon meet face to face. You'll spend time reading papers and preparing to share feedback before some meetings, and there's the opportunity to mentor some volunteer groups if your available time permits.
What's in it for me? How will I be rewarded?
Well, let's be clear up front, this is a volunteer role, so the reward will be in putting back into our wonderful profession and seeing the various volunteers and volunteer groups spread the word in their appropriate channels. It will sit very nicely on your CV as well, and I can validate that from my personal experience. You also get to meet and network with lots of different people in different sectors, roles, and levels of experience - it's a great way to connect with like-minded individuals. You can also learn and practice your skills, like managing conflict or engaging stakeholders. And, of course, you'll get that warm, fuzzy feeling of doing something extra positive with your time.
Exciting or boring?
I would ask you to trust me on this - it really isn't boring. I have previously done two consecutive terms on the VSG and, after a decent break, am back for a third stint. I have had a great time getting involved with fellow volunteers and project professionals. During my time I've witnessed several branches and SIGs (Specific Interest Groups) who were going through troubled times, come out the other side and blossom to become prosperous areas again. There are certainly some honest conversations along the way but working together the positive results were clear for all to witness and benefit from.
There is also going to be a volunteers strategy review within APM so there's a great opportunity not only to contribute your thoughts on what that might look at, but also play a key role in its implementation which will (for sure) be an exciting series of tasks even though we don't yet know exactly what they will be.