Volunteer Spotlight: Michelle Venezia, PMP®, PfMP®, PMI-ACP®


03 April 2020

Michelle Venezia, PMIEF Community Engagement Committee member

Michelle Venezia, PMP®, PfMP®, PMI-ACP® and Community Engagement Committee (CEC) member.

Michelle Venezia, PMI Educational Foundation (PMIEF) Community Engagement Committee (CEC) member, PMP®, PfMP®, and PMI-ACP® knows project management. With a 15 plus year background in project management specializing in industries such as defense, healthcare, and IT, experience in leading global teams in the U.S., Middle East and Asia and prior experience as the PMI Rochester Chapter president, it’s safe to say you can call Michelle a project pro.  

However, it’s her lifelong passion for social good and current work as the Director of University of Rochester’s Medical Center’s PMO that is helping her make a difference in her local community, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and this critical point in time. Michelle’s answers in the following Q&A share her journey to a prominent member of the PMI community and how her experience has helped her use her project management skill set for social good.  

PMI Educational Foundation (PMIEF): How did you first get involved in the world of project management? 

Michelle Venezia: “My degree is in in Industrial Engineering from SUNY Buffalo, NY, and I started my career at Lockheed Martin as a manufacturing lead. From there my role shifted over the years, and I moved into a business development role which led me to living in Taiwan and South Korea for a few years. It was an incredible experience. When working in different roles in different industries, I noticed project management played an integral role in all aspects. It’s from that experience I started to learn more about project management.” 

PMIEF: You mentioned you’re currently leading the Project Portfolio Office at the University of Rochester Medical Center. How have your project management skills helped during this time and in your role?  

Michelle Venezia: “With the current situation, our project management team has had to pivot to take on new projects and tasks that are needed immediately to support the medical center as it prepares for the surge of patients heading our way. We have embraced an agile mindset and are changing requirements real-time to meet the IT needs of our healthcare organization. Our ability to prioritize and translate customer needs into actions and deliverables has been invaluable during a time when the way we work, and the work we do, is changing day-by-day.” 

PMIEF: How did you get involved with The PMI Educational Foundation

Michelle Venezia: “I was previously the president of the PMI Rochester Chapter and have held chapter board positions since 2014. When we first started the liaison role in the PMI Rochester Chapter, it was more a title than an active member. When my term was up as president, I had the opportunity to take on the role as Chapter Liaison and really loved it. I have a personal passion for not only project management but for social good.”  

PMIEF: How has the liaison model helped grow your chapter membership? 

Michelle Venezia: “I think the role of the liaison has helped grow our chapter and shed light on how we can use our project management skills for social good. Also, it’s really helped grow our chapter and retain members when we participate in community efforts. It’s nearly doubled our volunteer base. In fact, some of the nonprofit employees we’ve partnered with for social good efforts joined the PMI Rochester Chapter because of the value they saw in the project management skills they learned through us. It’s really incredible” 

PMIEF: What advice would you give to someone looking to grow within their chapter? 

Michelle Venezia:Download the free resources available to you as a PMI member and connect with others. And, of course, get involved in the social good initiatives within your chapter. If there are not social good initiatives, volunteer to be a liaison for your chapter. We see people all the time who become PMI chapter members after volunteering specifically to be a part of our social good efforts. It’s very inspiring.  

PMIEF: Do you have a favorite social good effort you worked on? 

Michelle Venezia: “I’ve enjoyed all of them, but one recent effort stands out in-particular. In September of 2019, we worked with our partners through the Rochester Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI) to develop non-profit training through The Project Management Day of Service (PMDoS). RMAPI’s mission is to reduce poverty in Rochester by 50 percent.  

The goal of the PMDoS was to provide nonprofits with pro bono (free, professional) project management services to help them address their most difficult project challenges. The PMs help the nonprofits to scope and plan projects that allow the nonprofits to do more to serve their communities. The potential impact was enormous as those in a project manager role, oftentimes with little or no formal project management experience, get hands-on experience.   

It was a great experience, but it was also personal for me. Rochester is my hometown, so knowing our chapter used PM skills to help our local community was very inspiring.”


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