[Event Recap] Emily Cheung on successfully handling multiple projects simultaneously at PMI HK
On March 31st, Founder & CEO of STW Innovation Group, Emily Cheung shared deep insights on her personal journey and experiences of creating a business from the ground up for the Project Management Institute Hong Kong Chapter. Detailing her business journey and inspirations from the beginning of her career to co-founder of CREATEC Digital, an advertising agency, and then starting over again by establishing her company, the STW Innovation Group, Emily highlights the challenges and solutions that she faced as a leader, entrepreneur, as well as a mother to a newborn child during the pandemic. Let’s take a look at some of the key points of her talk.
About PMI Global
Global With more than 570,000 Global Members and over 300 Local Chapters internationally, Project Management Institute (PMI) is the leading membership association for the project management profession. Founded in 1969, PMI is actively engaged in advocacy for the profession, setting professional standards, conducting research, and providing access to a wealth of information and resources. PMI also promotes career and professional development and offers certification, networking, and community involvement opportunities. For around 50 years, PMI has advanced the careers of practitioners who make project management indispensable for business results. And with over 910,000 individuals holding the Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential, making it the most widely recognized – and the only global – certification in the profession.
Every founder should be a great project manager
As a founder and stakeholder in multiple companies, Emily has always had to handle multiple projects simultaneously. While it may have been stressful at times, Emily was always driven to achieve great success by continuously rethinking how to better manage people and projects. For her, management skills are a key part of running a business and following a more sophisticated way of project management. For her, a project is the desire to achieve specific business goals in both the short and long term. Through project management, she hopes to empower project success using the relevant considerations during her entrepreneurial journey. She states:
“I believe every founder is a great project manager; you can hardly achieve anything without managing skills. Managing a business is managing multiple projects at the exact time. “Emily Cheung, Founder & CEO, STW Innovation Group
Be clear and punctual
Time management is a tough thing for entrepreneurs and oftentimes, people find themselves having unnecessary long meetings. This leads us to the second point that Emily finds important, the management of time and purpose. While the life of an entrepreneur is undoubtedly full of passion over time and frequent meetings, it is only a matter of time before a person gets burnout. For Emily, who is a core executive member of 2 companies, an active participant in many business communities, and awards panel judge, and even a mother to two cats and a baby, how does she manage to create great results with so little time?
People can pour their efforts into things for a long period but without a clear goal, the value is lost. Time does not stop and once gone, it cannot be earned back. This is why Emily believes one must learn to manage their time first before being able to manage the expectations of others. This means being punctual for meetings, and sticking to the allotted schedule. This means, being clear about the meeting agendas and accomplishing it within the given time frames. Set SMART goals, prioritize them wisely, and break them down into achievable tasks.
This is also very beneficial in the long run as it shows that people’s time is respected and no one is wasting time. At the same time, we can also find the much-needed time to rest and refresh our minds to keep driving projects to success.
Grow with your team, not above them
Projects involve multiple moving parts serving different types of functions. Just like our bodies, if there is no signal being sent, we will not move according to our expectations. This is why communication is vital within the team, as it is like a living organism. We hone our muscles to grow stronger, likewise, your team is the body that you must train and protect. A team with no dream will not last. In the STW Innovation Group, the staff work from all over the world including Mexico, China, Korea, and Spain. Juggling different cultures and time zones has been a challenge that was hardened with the eventual lockdowns when the pandemic first began. As a team, we were split up but Emily found that the inevitable reason we were able to sustain the company while achieving multiple milestones was the fact that there was a strong measure of trust and listening. Emily further states this in her philosophy for managing a successful team and project:
“More important is that you inspire and coach talents to accomplish your goals because of no team, no dream. So don’t forget to say thank you to your team, your partners and all the people who helped you and supported you. Always start your business with a good heart and a great mission because those are the two things that money cannot buy—cheers to all founders who are doing great things in the world and benefit people in their life.”Emily Cheung, Founder & CEO, STW Innovation Group
After her sharing, Emily ended her talk with a Q&A session. During the session, Emily was asked about the difficulties of handling various time zones with a multi-cultural team and how to create team synergies. This question comes back to her question about remote working and her belief that it will be the new norm for businesses of the future. She believes that it not only presents a flexible opportunity for workers but also acts as a cost-effective way for building sustainable businesses while implementing innovative strategies. By trying to understand the cultures and market norms of each team member and communicating about their challenges in work and life, Emily was able to identify how to best manage each member in a way that drives them to success. She sees that by being approachable, open, and interested in their cultures, the team synergy grew and efficiency grew.
Viewers further asked about the shift from offline business relationships vs. online relationships that happened due to COVID. Emily emphasized staying connected through digital platforms and online communication channels to keep connected with partners and clients. With the rise of web 3.0, more accessible 5G connectivity, and a more digitally engaged world through platform innovations, it is vital to be present where the future consumers and clients will spend most of their time. While the virtualization of business is not going to continue as much when the endemic arrives, it is clear that we will not be going back to the way things were.
At the end of the event Emily thanked all the guests, partners, organizers, and staff for having her speak at this wonderful event:
“Thank you, Wilson Yau from the Project Management Institute Hong Kong Chapter for inviting me as a speaker in this workshop. Through the 90 mins sharing, I shared my secret of managing projects as well as managing life. I always admire people with energy and positive thinking, and it turns out people appreciate the energy I bring to projects. I am thankful to have this chance to share how I start from nothing to something with the journey of Shake to Win and thank you all for your appreciation of my sharing.”Emily Cheung, Founder & CEO, STW Innovation Group
Unlock New China during the COVID era
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