Interview with Elizabeth Russell, FAPM

Wessex Branch Chair
Association for Project Management (APM), UK

Interviewed by Ömer Berkay Dağlı
Southampton, United Kingdom

Elizabeth Russell has been active for more than 25 years in project, programme and PMO management. A Fellow of the Association for Project Management (FAPM), she is a certified PRINCE2 and MSP practitioner with ITIL V2. Her career started in IT as a software developer/systems analyst, moving through team leader, project and programme manager. As a PM, she covered IT infrastructure and networks then progressed to span multiple business sectors including the re-role of a prison, the London Bikes expansion, and various corporate projects including bids and divestment.

As a Project Management professional, Elizabeth has been an APM member since 2007 and a Fellow since 2014. Her commitment to the development of Project Management as a profession of first choice and in the rise of its Professional status through the APM is reflected through serving on the local Branch committee, currently as Chair, previously judging on the annual awards and serving on the national Branch Steering Group.

She is passionate about project management and enabling a culture and environment where hard work and experience is enhanced by people who really care about what they do and have the support in place to enable them to excel.

Ömer Berkay Dağlı (Dağlı):
        Dear Elizabeth, first of all, thank you very much for accepting my invitation for an interview. Please introduce yourself for PM World Journal readers, and firstly how did you get involved with Project Management?

Elizabeth Russell (Russell):       Project management was something that I became aware of as I progressed as a software developer, through either working on my colleague’s small projects or managing my own, often in parallel, it was a part of everyone’s role. I then moved into a large corporate and realised that there was a team of people who just did either project management or business analysis. Working with them as a team leader on larger projects opened my eyes to the skill set and potential and I realised that I wanted to be a project manager.

I learnt my trade by under-studying the project managers I admired and asking them to mentor me, ultimately to sponsor me when an opening came up in their team. A lot of my colleagues questioned me on my choice, concerned that I was moving into a profession they saw as thankless and stressful. But I have always been passionate about the role and knew it was ideal for me.

My path has been a classic rise through a technical, then team leader background, but also I have sought out every opportunity to progress. I once attended a presentation entitled “What’s love got to do with it” where they talked through the skill sets people attributed to a PM.  At the end we were told the answer, Passion!  You can be good at anything if you try hard enough, but you need passion to be that extra special. I am proud to have persuaded various employers to include that word in role and job specs as I believe anyone can do project management, but it takes an extra something to be a successful project manager.

Dağlı:           What was your most fulfilling experience as a project or program manager?



To read entire interview, click here


About the Interviewer

Ömer Berkay Dağlı

Southampton Business School
Southampton, United Kingdom


Ömer Berkay Dağlı
is currently a Masters Candidate at Southampton Business School, University of Southampton, based in UK for the academic year 2017-2018. Previously, he has served as an Officer on Watch for over 30 months on board chemical tankers, based in different routes around the world where he served as Third and Second Officer. He completed his graduation in Marine Transportation Management dual diploma with honours from both Istanbul Technical University, Turkey and State University of New York Maritime College, USA in 2014. His major fields of study are project management, logistics and inter-modal transportation. His research interests include global project management, leadership, uncertainty management, programme and portfolio management, strategic PM, PM governance, stakeholders, project control and PM in the transportation and logistics industries.  Omer served as a research intern for the PM World Library during January 2018, completing the program in record time.  He can be contacted at [email protected]