Message from the President

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Penelope Luedtke, PMP

PMI Portland Chapter President 2019-2020

January 2020

You remember when you were a kid and you would think of the furthest date you could imagine? I specifically remember thinking about the year 2020 when it was 1976. Since ‘76 was a big milestone year for the US, it seems appropriate that my child mind would contemplate such a thing as THE FUTURE. So here we are, in my future all of a sudden - how did that happen so fast? Anyone else feel the same way?

The beginning of each year is so filled with potential. As your chapter leaders, we have plans and programs to offer that will increase your knowledge, build new relationships with peers, and strengthen your skill sets for the new project economy. I want to just take a minute to call out my appreciation and gratitude for the Board. These folks are the backbone of this chapter and without them, none of the local meetings, activities, conferences or networking events would even happen! 

Titu Hariharan–Past President  As a seasoned member of the board, Titu provides insight and a valuable connection to our PMI Global HQ. Her negotiation and event planning skills are awesome to behold.

Kevin Murphy–Chapter Secretary  “Secretary” really doesn’t do justice for the job Kevin is responsible for doing. As our Executive keeper of documentation and meeting arranger, Kevin organizes our work products, provides us gentle reminders and ensures we know where and when we’re supposed to show up.

Lisa McCaffrey-Smith–VP of Governance  Policy and process are Lisa’s focus. She is also the go-to person if members need any ombudsman help. Lisa is dedicated to maintaining our fiduciary responsibility to our members!

Kyle Townsend–VP Finance  Kyle pays the bills, tracks our budgets and maintains our accounts. He is goal-oriented and likes to think about the younger PM audience out there.

Omar Ordonez–VP of Membership  Omar has great ideas about how to improve service delivery to our members. He is also probably the healthiest board member we have–he’s a vegan who logs serious jogging miles every day!

Kelley Duron–VP of Marketing  Kelley is a detail-oriented writer and grammar guard who ensures we sound knowledgeable through our many channels of communication. Her team brings us content over Social Media, Newsletter and eBlasts. If you know what we’re up to, her portfolio probably told you about it!

Hakan Kutgun–VP of Operations  Someone has to know how all the “things” work and Hakan is our man for that job. He’s a multi-tasker who volunteers, parents and is working on a Ph.D.! 

Jennifer Whybra–VP of Outreach  Friendly should be Jennifer’s middle name. She’s quick to say hello and make everyone feel welcome. She is relaxed and at ease no matter where she is or who she’s with–which makes her a great networking partner!

Sireesha Akula–VP of Professional Development  Siri recently joined us. With her past Board experiences and connections to the technical industry, the Chapter looks forward to the opportunities for learning she and her team will bring us in 2020.

Shannon Heizenradar–VP of Programs  As the person responsible for delivering an exceptional chapter meeting month after month, Shannon is our unsung hero. Imagine having to come up with compelling speakers and seamlessly orchestrating logistics for nearly a hundred house guests every four weeks!

I call out each of these people, and the simplest of glimpses of their personalities, to drive home the message that what the Portland Chapter provides for our members doesn’t appear magically. These 10 people put in many hours of work, meetings, and networking throughout the entire year to bring value to your PMI membership. Of course, each one has volunteer direct reports who help them, but it’s a lot of responsibility these folks take on! The next time you see a Board member, make sure to thank them and let them know you appreciate what they do.

I know I will. Happy New Year–I can’t wait to see what this great team can accomplish in 2020!

Penelope Luedtke, PMP
President, PMI Portland Chapter

December 2019

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Before I became a project manager, I worked as an IT Analyst. As any professional would, I envisioned moving up the career ladder where I worked, but I continually fell short when I tried moving out of the “analyst band” of positions. 

When I finally did earn my PMI certification, my income rose dramatically the following year. Since then, I’ve experienced a cumulative 25% increase in my salary. My responsibilities and job functions moved from administrative to managerial; I’ve never regretted my decision to get my PMP certification.

Clearly, certification in my case was a good move and I think it would be for anyone, given the reputation PMI Project Management Professional (PMP) certification enjoys in multiple industries. I took our Chapter’s CAPM/PMP Exam Prep course in 2014 to get ready for the test. I appreciated the organization of the course which closely followed the official PMBOK sections. What I enjoyed most -- and got the most value out of -- was the way each half-day segment of class was presented by a different certified project management professional. 

Each had their own strategies and stories about passing the PMP exam. They provided great tips and tricks and, as I look back, I realize this format is great for all types of learning styles since attendees can self-select the strategy that is most effective for them.  Not that I’m biased (I completely am biased!), but I believe the PMI Portland CAPM/PMP Exam Prep course is an excellent investment in yourself and your career.

PMI Portland will offer its Winter 2020 CAPM/PMP Exam Prep course starting January 18 and its Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) Certification course beginning January 25. Be sure to register as soon as you can as these classes tend to fill up quickly and space is limited.

I’d like to ask for another investment from you – a few minutes of your time to answer our PMI Portland Member Services survey. Our Board wants to serve you as effectively as possible. We need to know what you want from your membership and involvement with us. Your feedback will help us create and deliver services, products, and events relevant to our members.  A few minutes of your time will help us shape PMI Portland’s future. 

You should have received a survey invite via email in the past week. It should only take a few moments to complete and will provide immeasurable benefits to the Chapter. Plus, everyone who responds by December 18 -- and leaves us their name and email -- has a chance to have their name selected for our drawing for a complimentary registration for one of our Chapter professional development offerings. 

Penelope Luedtke, PMP
President, PMI Portland Chapter

November 2019

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My friend asked me the other day, “Why are you doing this?” She was referring to the work I’ve been putting in as President. I didn’t have an immediate answer, but it got me thinking. 

Why do I do this?

It’s because I need to put what I’ve learned into practice. I’ve been to countless seminars, conferences, webinars, and workshops on leadership. Now...I need to lead. I need to prove to myself that I can be an effective leader. This Chapter is a great place to do that! I’m surrounded by supportive, like-minded folks, mostly in the same type of profession as me; plus, we're optimistic and a FUN bunch to be around! 

PMI provides emerging project management professionals a means of learning the language of the trade, AND the chance for experienced pros to sharpen their skills for future opportunities. PMI is a global organization with decades of experience advocating for our shared profession. Today, their motto is “Empowering People to Make Ideas a Reality.”

And I have a lot of ideas about this Chapter that I would like to make a reality. I’d like to send welcome letters to all our new members. I’d like to better share the new PMI Global brand on our website. I’d like to have more panel events that showcase our members’ experience and talents. I’d like to spin up study groups for those prepping to take the PMP exam. I’d like us to be close allies with other organizations that could benefit from the discipline of project management. I’d like to be sprinkling the notion of project management among school-age children.

I’d like to do A LOT of stuff!

But we can’t do it without engaging our members and turning you from once-a-month attendees to “PMI-is-my-jam-let’s-do-something-awesome” volunteers! So, here’s a list of suggestions for you to consider - you might recognize these from our Annual Conference:

  • Do you want to flex your leadership muscle? Consider a position on our Executive Board. 
  • Do you want to learn more about budgets and P&L statements? We need an Assistant VP of Finance. 
  • Do you want more practice writing, creating content or engaging social media challenges? Our Marketing Portfolio could use your help. 
  • Are you interested in training? Our Professional Development Portfolio runs our training and workshops. 
  • Does planning an awesome event sound like a lot of fun? Our Program Portfolio could use your expertise. 
  • Would you like to flex your technical skills? We have a web page to manage, a suite of tools that need support and an Operations Portfolio that could use your knowledge. 
  • Do you need to improve your Public Speaking? Our chapter Toastmasters Club is a perfect opportunity with leadership roles open now. 
  • Are you interested in building relationships with outside organizations? Our Outreach Portfolio always welcomes a helping hand in maintaining connections with our community.

Or, maybe it’s just time for you to gift your abilities, experience, and talent to the next generation of project managers! Whatever the reason, we welcome you to join us. We aim to be an inclusive, welcoming community and I look forward to you jumping in!

Penelope Luedtke, PMP
President, PMI Portland Chapter


October 2019

Hello Members,PMI50th

2019 marks the 50th Anniversary of which of the following? (Annual Conference attendees will have an advantage on this one.)

  1. Tic Tacs
  2. ATMs
  3. Sesame Street
  4. TriMet
  5. Project Management Institute
  6. All of the Above

If you picked “F,” you are right!

PMI was started in 1969 and this year marks half a decade of promoting, improving and advocating for the profession of Project Management. In the words of PMI Global, “As we celebrate PMI’s 50th anniversary around the world, we want to focus special attention on the professionals – PMI members, credential holders, volunteers and all of those that consider project, program and portfolio management their profession for their great accomplishment in not just delivering successful outcomes, but in making a difference.”*

Personally, I’d like to give an extra 50th Anniversary shout out to our PMI Portland Chapter volunteers. Volunteers make our services and events possible for our members and allies alike; they are the lifeblood of this organization.

To celebrate PMI and our volunteers, we’re throwing a party that ALL members can enjoy. Join us on Thursday, October 24th, from 5:00–8:00 pm at the Punchbowl Social Club in downtown Portland for an evening of food, drinks, games, karaoke and cake! There also will be bowling, darts, video games, pinball and ping pong, along with the food and great socializing.

Anyone who volunteered with PMI Portland Chapter between August 2018 and September 2019 can attend for free! Contact your Portfolio leader starting Oct. 11 to receive your volunteer discount code for registration. Members who haven’t volunteered can still join us for the minimal cost of just $10 per person. All are welcome to bring guests, also $10 per person. Attendance is limited to 150 people. See more logistics information and register NOW.

P.S.: Since the event is so close to Halloween, feel free to dress in costume as your favorite project manager! (LOL!)

* To see PMI global projects and results in action, check out PMI’s 50th Anniversary celebration pages by starting here: and scrolling down to the 50th Anniversary banner.

Penelope Luedtke, PMP
President, PMI Portland Chapter

September 2019 Special Annual Confernce news

Hello Members,

It’s that time of year again - the time we unveil all the hard work we’ve put into creating a Professional Development Day - our Annual Conference. On September 20th, (you’ve already registered, right?), the PMI Portland Chapter presents T.I.M.E., a theme designed to give project management professionals an opportunity to focus on their own Talent, Inspiration, Motivation and Emotional Intelligence.

This will be my sixth PMI Annual Conference as an attendee and volunteer. Every year after the conference is over, I have new tools, new networking contacts and new ideas. I hope you are able to take advantage of this opportunity.

This year, I ask for direct participation and input from all of our conference attendees. As we develop this year’s strategic plan, we’re spending extra effort to pay closer attention to our members and what they want, need and expect from their local PMI Chapter.

In the Agile toolkit, personas are used to anchor the assumptions programmers make about end users. The PMI Portland Chapter Board has created personas of you, our members, and we need help validating what we’ve come up with. Our hope is to inform our 2019-20 Strategic Plan with solid assumptions about what our members want and need from us as an organization.

Another thing we need help with is our START | CONTINUE | STOP exercise. We want you to tell us what the chapter should start doing to provide better, more relevant content and service to members. We want you to tell us what we’re doing right that you want us to continue and improve on. We also want to know what are we spending our time and energy on that you think we should stop doing.

Please make sure to stop by the PMI Portland Chapter “Board Input” table located alongside our Annual Conference Sponsors and Priceless Partner display tables. And, as always, you can reach me anytime at

Oh, don't forget to download our PMI Portland app!Sep2019 AC President PMI Portland App

Penelope Luedtke, PMP
President, PMI Portland Chapter


The PMI Portland app will have a dynamic Event Guide, live notifications, plus games, raffles, and prizes galore. If you’ve registered for the conference, check your email for app instructions, or go here to get the app now!

September 2019

Jul2019 President Letter 1of2

Hello Members!

Welcome to the start of our PMI Portland Chapter year!

I am super excited to hit the GO button on this year. It seems like forever since I started this whole "President" thing. I've been so busy working with volunteers on the Annual Conference (more on that tomorrow!), and with the Board on our Strategic Plan, now we finally get to DO!

This year PMI Global is moving its strategic focus to the individual. We're looking closely at the needs of two kinds of individuals. The "Seasoned Pro" is a person looking to hone their skills for future opportunities in their project management career. The "Next Gen PM" is a person looking to learn the language of project management and start their career. This year, the Board plans to learn more about our members. Are they Seasoned Pros? Are they Next Gen PMs? Are these even valid labels? What do members want and need from this chapter? How can we provide more value and be more relevant to more project managers? These are the core questions the Board will be asking members like you - we want to make sure we get it right.

Another focus is on building partnerships with other organizations to expand our available resources. Understanding who has a meeting room we can use for a Westside workshop, for example, can provide a closer venue to members and an opportunity that might not have existed before. What does the PMI Portland Chapter offer to partner organizations in return? We can assist them with project management coaching and mentorship. We are here to advocate for project management - what better way to do that than demonstrate how it works?

Once we understand who our members are, and what they want from us as an organization, we can start building relationships with organizations to provide the services and opportunities you want and enjoy.

One thing we've heard from members is a desire for more dynamic chapter dinner meetings. We've heard your request, and this month the September meeting is changing things up. I hope you'll join us for a panel event of project management professionals discussing "How to Lead in Chaos." These are real project managers, speaking about real life. If you aren't surrounded by occasional chaos every once in a while, you've got it more figured out than I do!

I look forward to seeing you there,

Penelope Luedtke, PMP
President, PMI Portland Chapter

“Start by doing what is necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” - St Francis of Assisi

 July 2019 

Jul2019 President Letter 1of2“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.” – Daniel Goleman

Hello Chapter Members!Jul2019 President Letter 2of2 HQ

They say to grow, you need to operate outside your comfort zone, and boy let me tell you, being the leader of this chapter is anxiety-inducing. If there ever was a time to doubt myself and my abilities, this would be it.

But curiously, I find myself very calm. Perhaps it is because I know I am surrounded by supportive, engaged Board Members that have my back. Perhaps it is because I’ve worked with PMI Global long enough to know there are staff and resources aplenty that have my back. I’ve been involved enough and have met enough of you in person, to know YOU have my back!

We’re all project managers, we all want the best result and we all strive to do the best we can with what we have. We all have EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE. It is the trait that makes us excellent project managers. I know this about you, our members, and I know that you will allow me to lead authentically and genuinely from my best intentions.

If you don’t know about emotional intelligence and need more training on this topic, the 2019 PMI Portland Chapter Annual Conference is a great opportunity for you. Our conference theme of Talent, Inspiration, Motivation and Emotional Intelligence (TIME) brings you a valuable event with relevant sessions. We have a great team of volunteers working tirelessly behind the scenes to deliver a day of learning and sharing. This is an opportunity to meet over 400 of your industry peers, gain professional development units (PDUs) and take a day to recharge and refresh with the energy and enthusiasm of our top-notch speakers.

I’d like to thank all the volunteers working on the Annual Conference. I want to publicly recognize all the folks taking time out of their lives to plan this premier event: Sandra Koelle, Akilah Johnson, Yolanda Karp, Kyle Townsend, Stacey Jannsen, Jacob Zych, Scott White, Natalee Webb, Tim Booher, Jesse Boydstun, and Rasha Kroonen.


Penelope Luedtke, PMP
President, PMI Portland Chapter

The new PMI Portland Chapter Board of Directors, Assistant VPs and Directors:


Former President's Letters:

Titu Hariharan 2018-2019

Stephen Wilks 2017-2018

Jimmy Godard 2016-2017

Saby Waraich 2015-2016


Chapter Membership

Total Members 2403
New Members This Year 49
PMP® Members 1521
CAPM® Members 44
PgMP® Members 9
PMI-SP® Members 2
PMI-RMP® Members 5
PMI-ACP® Members 92
PfMP® Members 1
PMI-PBA® Members 3
Members with no Certification 821
Breakdown by type  
Individual Members 2350
Student Members 43
Other Members 10

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