Symposium 2018 - Presentation Abstracts

2018 Past, Present and Future Presentations Abstracts

Opening Session: Sardek Love
Master Influencer 2.0

Are you tired of encountering lack of stakeholder responses that causes project delays? Do you wish you had a way to get stakeholders “off the fence” and ready to say “yes”? If so, then this session is for you! The ability to influence others and get stakeholder buy-in is key to managing projects that deliver maximum business impact. In the updated version of this highly engaging, strategy-rich session, you’ll learn easy-to-implement tactics for winning people over. Specifically you will be able:

  • Identify the exact words to use to rapidly build stakeholder trust
  • Use a 3 step formula for instantly connecting and influencing decisions in your favor even if stakeholders don’t agree with you.

Come prepared to laugh while learning some simple techniques for increasing the effectiveness of your project management leadership skills.

Closing Session: Matt Thornhill
Generational Dynamics in Project Management

Project managers are on the front lines when it comes to understanding generational dynamics in today’s workplace. Every day project managers have to interact with their own teams and the teams they are supporting.

In this closing keynote, Matt Thornhill, the nation’s leader on generational dynamics, will share a practical overview of how generations matter in workplaces and what it means for being more effective in your job. This mission-critical, informative, and action-packed session will equip project managers on what to know and do to be more successful tomorrow.

Matt will include specific action steps you need to take to strengthen the overall and department-specific work environments and culture.

Breakout Track #1: Leadership

Session A: Chris Riha
The Evolution of Project Management – Into the Future We go!

Chris will provide an entertaining and educational look at Project Management throughout the years, which will culminate in an interactive discussion of where we as a profession will be heading as we continue to evolve.

Session B: Chief (Ret) Chris Perkins

Session C: Sardek Love

Breakout Track #2: Agile

Session A: Richard Cheng
Agile Truths and Misconceptions Exposed

In the era of new technologies and Web 2.0, Agile has become the new flashy project management idea. But what is Agile? Is it merely an industry buzzword? A collection of ideas? A process framework? Through a series statements posed to the audience, this interactive session will explore the truths and misconceptions regarding Agile and Agile methods like Scrum and Kanban.

Key takeaways will include:

Understanding Agile and Agile methodologies
Agile as it relates to Waterfall and PMBOK
When and how to adopt and implement Agile methods

Session B: Richard Cheng 
The Perfect Product Owner

Is your Product Owner available to the team, empowered to make decisions, knowledgeable in their business domain, engaged in the product and leading the way for delivery of value? This session does a deep dive in the these ideas.
The session starts with a brief video to demonstrate the importance of Product Ownership. The session then discusses 5 key attributes to look for in a Product Owner:



After that discussion, we will have an interactive exercise to identify what a Product Owner does day to day. The debrief will identify the balance a Product Owner must have between working with stakeholders, end users, customers AND working with the development team AND product backlog refinement.

The session concludes with the presenter sharing a Product Owner persona sheet. This persona sheet measures product owners across the 5 attributes mentioned above and presents a narrative on their core strengths and risks.

This session answers the following:

Where should the Product Owner come from
Attributes to look for in a Product Owner

How should the Product Owner allocate their time

Is your Product Owner effective
How to determine who the Product Owner should be

Session C: Doug Martin and Paige Kanode
User Story and Estimation Workshop

Agile User Story and Estimation Workshop – Join us for an entertaining and interactive workshop that will give attendees hands-on experience of developing user stories and estimating user stories using agile estimation techniques. The workshop will assist attendees with developing an actionable project backlog starting with just a project elevator statement. The elevator statement will be developed into release themes, then epics, and finally user stories. The second half of the workshop will give attendees hands-on experience estimating user stories using planning poker.

Breakout Track #3: Panel Discussions and Workshop

Join us for the three panels highlighting local leaders in Project Management

Panel A
Past, present and future of Project Management from the prospective of Women Project Managers

Leadership studies prove that women make great project managers.   Become part of the past, present and future project management discussions led by an outstanding Women Project Managers’ panel.    Be prepared to ask the questions that you have been afraid to ask about project management.    What past project management experiences has helped to guide them to be successful Project Managers, even in the face of adversity?  What advice would these Project Managers have for the future of Project Management?   How has your certification helped you succeed in your career path?  Come and be prepared to ask questions and learn from these amazing women!

Panel B
Networking in the Roanoke Valley

For most of us, Southwest Virginia and the Roanoke Valley are the place where we live, raise families, recreate and for most of us, work!  As professionals, work is probably the thing we do the most from Monday through Friday. 

At the symposium today we network with similar people, doing somewhat similar things.  The key term is “network”.  It’s a verb, it’s a noun and it’s something we should develop – as it can be an important part of our today and our tomorrow.

Networks and networking in the Roanoke Valley is unique.  Our valley is big, but not that big.  It has very defined businesses that feed the valley economically.  However, that can be misleading.  Carilion and the research being driven by their growth, Blacksburg and the New River Valley, Lynchburg, RAMP, Advance Auto, our schools (universities, community colleges, etc.), the Daleville growth, the brewery boom….  The list can go on and on.

Spend an hour with Darryl Agee and a panel of experts – people that make networking their business.   

Learn about the Roanoke Valley network and figure out how YOU can make it YOUR network.


Session C: Jennifer Leake, CMC, 
Emotional Intelligence in Project Management

Projects often exist to bring about change in organizations. There are many different components that come together to determine the success of a project, including Emotional Intelligence (EI). One trait of emotional intelligence is resilience, “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change”.  (Merriam-Webster, 2018).

The ability to thrive in change and uncertainty is critical to success in project management. Resilient project managers perform well, adapting quickly to rapidly changing and unforeseen challenges.

This is because they:

  • move forward regardless of difficulties
  • find ways to win despite setbacks
  • bounce back from obstacles

Resiliency is a muscle that gets stronger the more it’s used. Come “exercise” your EI Resiliency in a workshop designed to:

  • Offer a brief overview of “What is emotional intelligence?” and why it’s important
  • Teach 4 important resilience competencies
  • Learn pro-active strategies to build resilience
  • Complete a personal Resilience quiz


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