“It’s all about the next generation,” says Connie Figley, PMP, of the inspiration behind her donations in support of PMI Educational Foundation. One of the members of the PMI Buffalo, NY Chapter, Connie relocated to New Mexico three years ago where she works in the Capital Projects Division at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and is a member of the PMI Otowi Bridge Chapter. “I’ve always been aware of the important work being done by PMIEF on behalf of youth. But it wasn’t until I moved out here that I really reassessed my giving, and decided to follow my passion. I decided to put my resources – whether money, time, or volunteerism, into an organization whose mission I believe in, and who is doing a good job at it. That’s PMIEF.”
Connie says PMIEF’s focus on youth – “their outreach to kids” – has proved most convincing for her. “When I came into project management, it was not what I trained for, and it was not what I thought I would do when I was in college studying to be a chemical engineer. I’m happy that I got a technical degree, but having skills for planning and managing would have helped me tremendously throughout those college years. I wish I could go back in time and learn those skills earlier on,” she says with a laugh. “But it’s not too late for the kids of today to gain project management skills. It can help them, early in life, to shape how they approach their careers, and the choices they make.”
Helping youths to obtain those critical skills “… is the work PMIEF does that I am most excited about,” says Connie. “They won’t all become project managers, but they will be able to apply those skills in whatever they do. And those who do become project managers or undertake any facet of project management will have a real advantage when starting their careers.”
Connie became a PMP in the late 1990s, and served as a board member and president of the PMI Buffalo, NY Chapter. She has volunteered for PMI for more than two decades. “I started my PMI volunteer career at the chapter level, then moved it to the regional level where I was a region mentor, and eventually served on a number of member advisory groups and working groups in different functions at the global level,” she explains.
“Over last three years I have been an evaluator for PMIEF’s awards,” says Connie, adding, “I also serve on an advisory committee for the National Laboratory Foundation’s Scholarship Fund. Through this experience, I see students who have leadership goals, and organizational and planning skills – all synonymous with project management. It all furthers my desire to support PMIEF initiatives because I understand the value of the resources they provide and the power and potential they have to reach out to so many kids.”
Connie’s employer used to match her donations to PMIEF. However, the program has been revised to benefit organizations specific to northern New Mexico. “I have made a long-term commitment to PMIEF and so I have adjusted my donation upward to make up some of the money that would have been in the employer match,” says Connie.
“I like to think that through my own small contribution, PMIEF will be able to reach one more student, touch one more life,” she adds. “If all of us in project management contribute our own individual gifts, collectively we will enable PMIEF to further a program, develop one, and grow one.”
Married to an engineer, Connie and her husband are in the midst of constructing a new elevated steel frame deck on their home. “He handles the design aspects, and I handle the scheduling, budget, and planning,” she notes of her at-home project management efforts. Quickly pivoting back to the importance of donorship, Connie says, “To my fellow project managers I would say, this is a pretty good profession to be in. These things called careers are a primary focus in our lives; I’m lucky to have one that brings me happiness and fulfillment. I believe it is our responsibility to share our wealth or knowledge. Let’s give back some of the good we have experienced to the next generation.”