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Coaching Partnerships On Purpose

What an amazing year 2015 has been so far! I’ve spent the last several years working full time, being a wife, a mom, a volunteer, church leader, and a PMI Board member. I’ve met some amazing people, and have had the chance to do what I love to do most: coach.

Honestly, some of my coaching relationships happened by accident; in my role as a consultant and program manager, I have had the opportunity to coach senior leaders at companies on everything from communication styles (or lack thereof), risk identification/mitigation to developing high performing teams. I’ve traveled the country speaking on how to best encourage and develop the next generation. (Yes, those wonderful Millennials!) I absolutely adore working/volunteering for the next generation. I’ve found myself as an advocate and voice for them. I have worked to partner 20-something’s with 40/50/60-something’s and the sum of this quirky equation is equal to the invention of the PB&J sandwich; it makes me just as happy now as it did when I was 6. A cross-generational partnership has a purpose that will impact our global economy for years to come.

Great coaches need constant coaching. In visiting PMI’s Leadership Institute Meeting in Phoenix last year, I had the pleasure of meeting folks that share my joy of managing programs and projects from all around the globe. In meeting these amazing leaders, I would hear a “pain point” or need that they would uncover in our speaking and then introduce them to someone there that I thought would be able to solve those issues or even refer them to a better resource. What was my fee for these introductions? A smile. A firm handshake and a genuine measure of appreciation and thanks. I met PM leaders from Africa, India, Asia, Central America, and more. Though linked by only one event, we shared a purpose. We, because of a shared passion for our profession, are partners. This is as it should be. I left Phoenix feeling as though I could conquer the world. I’m hoping that a few of the people I ran across left with the same feeling. I was determined to move into the next year with a purpose. I prayed and hoped for a sign that I was ready to get back to coaching and creating new leaders and engaging existing ones.

In December of 2014, I spoke at the PMI Dallas dinner meeting. I was excited by this opportunity to bring some of what I knew already in addition to some of what I learned in Phoenix to our members. The topic for my presentation was “The Social Age: How to Effectively Manage Your Millennial Teams.” To a sold-out event, I stated that I expected to have a least one purposeful partnership to come from that event. So far, I’ve heard of at least nine. Even though this was volunteer work, it gave me a sense of purpose that I hadn’t felt in a while. We were building partnerships. ON PURPOSE.

In February of 2015, when told that I was a part of a reduction in force at the consulting company where I was employed for one month shy of 3 years, I experienced a wealth of emotions. Simultaneously, I felt shocked, anger, and betrayal. At the same time, I felt relieved, anxious, and excited about what the future held for me. I was being let go. It was okay. Luckily, I had developed some pretty amazing partner relationships over the last 15 years. Was it time to add even more purpose to those that have identified me as a trusted advisor? So it seems.

Here is a list of the amazing partnership opportunities I have been blessed with so far:

  • Forrester and Boy Scouts of America Webinar-“Leveraging Technology To Boost Employee Engagement.”
  • Sankofa Management, Inc. re-incorporated in partnership with the Gore family
  • SOLID Executive Partners “Never Eat Alone” C-Suite Meetings
  • Toyota Power of Exchange Supplier Diversity Event
  • D/FW Worth Minority Supplier Diversity Council Buyer Luncheon
  • UTD Project Management Graduate Program Speaker (Naveen Jindal School of Management)
  • Warmus Consulting Partnership
  • Texas Diversity Council Leadership Conference Panelist-“All You Need To Know About Millennials
  • UTD Project Management Graduate Students Internship Assignment with NTTA*
  • Nominated for Goldman-Sachs “10k Small Businesses” Program

I was asked to speak to a group of graduate students at UTD regarding project and program management. As a result of this engagement, some students *that were looking for internships got connected to a local organization looking for that very thing. The next generation of project managers! Millennial project managers? Ready to work over the summer to learn the wonderful PM profession?!?! Yes! Some of these students will spend the summer getting hands-on experience from a local company that will greatly benefit from the student’s fresh look on project management. Win. Win. Win.

Yet another example of a purposeful partnership. Just because it was the right thing to do.

2015 is going to be an amazing year. Not just for Sankofa Management, but for the partnerships that we have built over the years. The teams that I have had chance to lead over the years have actually helped to coach me. To each of you, I am eternally grateful.

We are leaders engaging leaders. Are you ready?

Sankofa-“We Must Return To the Past In Order to Move Forward”

Peace and blessings!

Sherry James, PMP


Sankofa Management, Inc.

Twitter @EngageCatalyst