Kavi Ruben Ramasamy, PMP®, is a self-described adventurer. He has trekked the Tibetan Dolma La Pass, source of the Ganges River, at 5,700 meters/18,701 feet above sea level. He has tracked gorillas in the wild in Uganda. And because he is often on the move, it can be difficult for him to give hands-on time even to the groups and efforts he cares about. Having selected PMI Educational Foundation as the organization he particularly wants to support, he has decided that donations can be his stand-in. “The money I give goes to work on my behalf,” he says, speaking from his home in New Zealand where he is now pursuing a master’s degree in construction law.
Before taking a “time out” to attend graduate school, Kavi had worked as a quantity surveyor in the construction industry. “I am a bit of a nomad,” he says explaining that he was born and raised on the island nation of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean just off the east coast of Africa. Kavi says he did his undergraduate studies and began his career in quantity surveying (cost engineering) in South Africa before returning to Mauritius and later moving to Qatar, and finally to New Zealand.
“In Mauritius I was given the responsibility of supporting a site staff, and eventually moved into project management when I was asked to manage various sites in Mauritius,” says Kavi of his entry into project management. “While in Qatar I wanted to formalize my life experience and turn it into a professional career, so I got my PMP in 2010.”
It was when he became a PMP that he heard about the work being done by PMIEF and became attracted to its focus on education for children. “This struck me as something quite unusual; most professional organizations do not put an emphasis on youth and children,” he says. Now he considers his donations to PMIEF an extension of his family’s prioritization of education. “Everyone in my family is a teacher. My father is a teacher, my mother is a teacher, my sister was a teacher, my uncle is a teacher, all the neighbors are teachers…” he says as his words trail off into a little laugh. “We all value education and know what a strong foundation and strength it brings to children.”
Kavi believes PMIEF offers young people more than a valuable project management skill set, which in itself is highly significant. “They can start everything they do as a project – they can initiate it, they can do risk management, they can close a project. Project management takes the fear out of doing things,” he remarks.
But even more important in Kavi’s eyes is the fact that PMIEF helps to instill in children a love of learning. “It gives kids interest in new things, and puts an emphasis on the educational experience itself. It goes beyond project management as such; it becomes a culture.”
With the hope that his donations can find a dual purpose -- helping the youth of the world and expanding the reach of his chosen profession of project management -- Kavi says PMIEF achieves exactly that. “By focusing on young people, the next generation of society, PMIEF is reaching youth, and transforming their lives. It is teaching them basics of project management, lifting their interest in it as a possible career path, and giving them practical experience with it in their everyday lives. As a donor, I can say that I am completely satisfied. PMIEF does a great job. And I feel at ease supporting it.”
Kavi urges other project management professionals to “give back” in whatever way they can. “Sharing knowledge and experience is what being a project management professional is all about,” he says. “This is the very spirit of being a PM. But even if you cannot volunteer your time, you can make a donation. You can put your money to work on your behalf. You can help fund the education of children, and in doing so you can indirectly change the world.”