Interviewed by İpek Sahra Özgüler
Interview with Mark Dickson
Chair, Board of Directors
Project Management Institute
Mark Dickson has more than 30 years of experience in managing and leading multi-disciplinary teams and has been a Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential holder since 1998. Mr. Dickson’s global experience covers a broad range of endeavors, including project and program management, business management, and advisory services for government and commercial clients. He has worked in the defense, infrastructure, transport, building, information systems, urban development, and resource industries; planning and delivering projects and programs in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and Australia. Mr. Dickson has led teams delivering relatively small projects through to multi-billion dollar programs.
As a volunteer with PMI, he completed a six-year term on the PMI Certification Governance Council, the body overseeing PMI certifications and credentials, including two terms as Chair. Since joining the PMI Board of Directors, he has served on the Board Audit and Performance Oversight Committee (APOC) and as Vice Chair. In 2017, he became the new Chair of the PMI Board.
Mr. Dickson is a graduate of the Royal Military College of Australia. He holds a degree in engineering and is a past Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Australia. Mr. Dickson also has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Ipek Sahra Özgüler (Özgüler): Tell me about yourself and summarize your project management passion in three sentences
Mark Dickson (Dickson): I have more than 30 years of experience in managing and leading multi-disciplinary teams across multiple industries including defense, infrastructure, transport, building, information systems, urban development, and resources. My career has taken me to North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and Australia. It has covered a broad range of endeavors, including project and program management, business management, and advisory services for government and commercial clients. Managing projects and people gives me a sense of achievement and the satisfaction of making a difference. There is nothing like the camaraderie of a team working together, each with their own part to play, but combined as a finely tuned and high-performing unit.
Özgüler: Why did you choose project management as a profession?
Dickson: I didn’t really choose project management; project management chose me. When I retired from the military I was offered a position as a project manager in a consulting firm. The head of the firm recognized the leadership skills the military provided and how they could be transferred to a technical city and environment. I didn’t truly appreciate it at the time, but to me the transition was easy and, in hindsight, obvious.
Özgüler: Can you explain your duties as the Chair of PMI’s Board of Directors?
Dickson: The PMI Board of Directors is the governing entity of the Project Management Institute and is accountable to the PMI membership as a body. The Board is responsible and accountable for strategic planning and the establishment of policy with respect to the activities of the Institute. The Board also oversees the management, control and supervision of the operations of the Institute. The Chair’s role is to lead the board and work with the CEO, who is responsible for delivering the operations of the institute. From to day to day, this means setting the agenda for board meetings, coordinating committee activities, maintaining momentum and focus for board work, and communicating with the board and the CEO.
Özgüler: What is a usual day for a PMI Board Member?
Dickson: Although the directors commit a significant amount of time to their role, it’s not a full-time commitment so the Board has delegated to our permanent staff, through the CEO, the implementation of strategy and the operations of the Institute. We meet five times a year, either in person or by webinar, and each meeting requires prior reading and preparation. The board also has an outreach program and directors will represent the board at a variety of chapter and industry events. It’s important to note that members of the Board are selected for their corporate management skills, and not just their project management skills. Professional project skills give context, but management and leadership skills are essential for PMI Board members.
About the Interviewer
İpek Sahra Özgüler graduated from the Istanbul University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering and from Middle East Technical University with an MSc degree in Software Management. As a project manager, she has more than 10 years’ experience in various areas such as portfolio management, program management, project management, software management, business analysis. She became a certified PMP in January, 2012 and a certified SCRUM Master in 2014.
She has managed a variety of projects across manufacturing, defence, FMCG (Cola Cola), insurance (Euler Hermes), audit (Deloitte), telecommunication, ICT and aviation sectors and gained broader insights. In addition, she has worked as international correspondent for the PM World Journal since 2014.
İpek is based in Isanbul and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her portfolio is published at the http://ipeksahra.strikingly.com/.
To view other works by Ms. Özgüler, visit her author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/ipek-sahra-ozguler/