Donor Spotlight: Kristine Hayes Munson, PMP


09 April 2019

Published inPM Philanthropist (archived)

Kristine Hayes Munson, PMP

Kristine Hayes Munson, PMP, describes herself as a stereotypic accidental project manager. A consistent and dedicated donor to the PMI Educational Foundation, she says, “I got lucky because I had a supervisor who understood the value of project management and encouraged me to take a certification course at University of California Santa Barbara in the late 90s. After I finished that, I joined the PMI Orange County Chapter, Irvine, and decided to get my PMP.”

Kristine believes that childhood exposure to project management basics would have helped her grow her leadership capabilities earlier in life. “I managed my first real project when I was chairman of my school’s prom committee,” she laughs. “I did things intuitively, but if I had had basic PM skill sets, it would have gone much smoother. More importantly, had I known about project management earlier, it could have been a true career option for me instead of something I just fell into accidentally.”

Married with three children, Kristine holds an MBA from California State University San Marcos and works in risk and compliance, and information security, in the IT sector. “Project management has been a great career for me and has opened up a lot of doors,” she says. “My project management skill sets give me a chance to work on projects in various departments throughout an organization — a very broad experience. I firmly believe if we could provide project management education earlier, we could change it from an accidental to a purposeful choice.”

Noting that she has been a donor to PMIEF for many years, Kristine explains, “I give because I very much believe in PMIEF’s mission statement. In my view, it addresses the two aspects of project management: project management as a profession—the skills required for a successful career, and project management as a life skill—something that everyone needs to get along better in life.” She continues, “I have always been particularly fascinated by PMIEF’s desire to talk about project management as a life skill, especially in the kindergarten through 12th-grade space.”

Kristine believes it is only with donors’ support that PMIEF will be able to spread understanding of project management to more youth.  “We need to interact with people when they are young,” she affirms. “I’ve been fortunate enough to work with students using excellent, free download material from the PMIEF website. The Tower Game is a great introductory concept I’ve used with sixth graders and younger to present basic concepts in easy-to-understand vocabulary. It allows an important first exposure; it’s a starting point. The PM Skills for Life® course material is great for high school students.”

Having served on her PMI chapter’s board of directors, Kristine is now a PMIEF Liaison. “I work to introduce new members to PMIEF during our chapter’s new-member orientation by providing a high-level overview of PMIEF programs including scholarships, awards, and downloadable materials.”

Kristine says it’s important to raise awareness of PMIEF’s programs, because “… when people go to pay their annual membership and see a ‘donate to PMIEF’ check-off box, they need to be able to make an informed donation decision and hopefully support the foundation.”

Because she believes strongly in the education component of project management and in making it a profession that is a career choice, Kristine regularly volunteers with the PMI Global Accreditation Center (GAC), which accredits academic degree programs in project management. In that capacity, she visits schools that are seeking GAC accreditation around the world to verify the program’s self-assessment report.

Knowing that every dollar counts, Kristine participates in her employer’s matching donation program. “I always encourage others to see if their company or organization has a matching program and to take advantage of it. Not doing so is foolish; it’s leaving money on the table,” she cautions. Kristine says she ultimately considers her donations a salute to PMI volunteers whose “hearts are in the right place and who understand the importance of giving back to the community” through their time and project management expertise. “It is that aspect of giving back that I love. After all, I realize people invested in me throughout life, and the only way I can pay them back is to give to others,” she reflects. “We all need to think about that. We all need to give.


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