Conference, Development, Leadership
27 April 2013
Anyone can do it! Leadership Institute Meeting 2013 – PART I

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This year about 200 PMI® leaders from 44 countries and 60 chapters gathered together on April 19-21 in Istanbul, Turkey at the EMEA PMI® Leadership Institute Meeting (LIM) 2013. This was a third time I have attended this 3-day learning and sharing experience.
Leadership Institute Meetings are designed to inspire and support PMI® leaders by offering face-to-face opportunities to connect with and learn from fellow volunteer leaders. At the meetings PMI® leaders collaborate in productive, curriculum-driven educational sessions. Additionally, they earn professional development units (PDUs) for the formal learning activities related to project management.
For me LIM is more than a conference.  This is a very inspiring and motivating event with focus on networking and exchanging experience.
Some tips to maximise your networking opportunities – hopefully you find them useful when organizing your events:
1. Attach a meeting ribbon to your badge to promote networking!
2. Introduce yourself to the person you sit next to in each session, exchange business cards!
3. Try to join different people during each session and split when you come from the same chapter!
The event was opened by Mark Langley, PMI® President and CEO and PM®I Chair, who stressed that more and more companies and governments embrace project management and PMI® grew and grows because provides value. Passion and purpose appeared a few times in his opening speech with the conclusion that passion without purpose is wasteful.


As always there were a lot of workshops and presentations to choose from, but this post I would like to dedicate to a keynote speaker Sahar Hashemi.
Sahar Hashemi founded Coffee Republic, the United Kingdom”s first U.S. style coffee bar chain, with her brother and built it into one of the UK”s most recognised high street brands with 110 bars and a turnover of 30m. Giving up professional careers (she as a lawyer in London and her brother as an investment banker in New York) they staked everything on a dream and made Coffee Republic one of the main players in the coffee revolution that transformed the UK high street. She is the author of  a bestselling book “Anyone Can Do It ” Building Coffee Republic from Our Kitchen Table, which has been translated into six languages and is the second highest selling book on entrepreneurship after Richard Branson’s. Her most recent book, Switched On, published in 2010, focuses on eight habits that foster a more entrepreneurial mindset for employees.
During her presentation “The Entrepreneurial Mindset” Sahar walked us through her journey from being a lawyer to become an entrepreneur and proved anyone can do it. She did not follow the Hollywood pattern from rags to riches – the thought of selling sweets or worms never crossed her mind. Not only was she brought up to be an entrepreneur, she was taught to study “useful subjects” and aim for a solid profession
1: Step into the customer’s shoes.
The idea came from a need of a customer – she missed the skinny cappuccinos and fat-free muffins from New York espresso bars.
Habit 2: Get out of the office. Sahar bough a one-day travel card and circumnavigated the Cricle Line getting off at every single one of the 27 stops to inspect what kind of coffee was on offer to the commuters. What she found out was no choice, basic, undecorated sandwich bars with long queues ” it was obvious that coffee was sold in huge quantities.
3: The importance of being clueless
4: Bootstrapping.
The process of starting and developing a business by using a lot of effort and no investment by outside owners. Sahar has moved to her mother and rent her flat!
5: Notching up no’s
6: Taking 100% of Yourself to work
Entrepreneurs don’t quit, even when all they have to go on is gut instinct. They keep working hard to realise their dreams. “I do not have any experience, or special skills, I don’t have the money. I have no idea how I’m going to do it. But I’m still going to do it-that’s how an entrepreneur thinks!
To sum up: switch off your left part of your brain (responsible for logical thinking). But do not take it wrong, being an entrepreneur is not risky. Entrepreneurs do not take risks ” it’s all calculated: dream “project ” make it happen!

Sahar helped us better understand how to move outside our comfort zone, ignite our innate creativity and forget the “this is how we’ve always done things- mentality.

PMI, Project Management Institute, PMI Talent Triangle are the registered trade marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
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