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Inspiration from editor Amy Hatton

This week we’ve spoken to Amy Hatton, editor of Project Manager Today – the UK’s leading and only independent project management magazine, about her view on women as leaders, and her advice for aspiring project managers.

Editor of Project Manager Today, Amy Hatton

How did you become editor of Project Manager Today?

“I started my career in publishing some twenty years ago, when the Internet was in its infancy and we didn’t have any such thing as digital images.

“I cut my teeth in advertising production, then I moved into sales.

“After that I took a different direction and carved out a career for myself as a project manager and CEO in the not for profit sector.

“But writing was always my first love, so four years ago I decided to go freelance in that field.

“When I was introduced to Project Manager Today it struck me as an editor’s dream because you can cover such a diverse array of topics”.

Do you think that there is still a stigma attached to women being leaders?

“That’s an interesting question.

“On the one hand we’re seeing more women at high levels in all sorts of industries.

“On the other hand I have certainly had personal experience of inappropriate attitudes.

“I once came out of an important meeting resulting in a £20,000 investment, only for my colleague to congratulate me on remembering to shave my legs!

“At the same time this man was a passionate advocate for the educational rights of young women in the developing world.

“I don’t think these issues are cut and dried.

“I do know, though, that life as a working mother is still far from easy”.

What lessons in project management do you come across time and again through your work with the magazine?

“The main debate is around project failure – why does it happen so often, and why is it so acceptable?

“Behind that is the importance of portfolio management, of making good decisions and investing in the right projects.

“Another issue is around tools versus people.

“Increasingly in business, human capital and culture management are being recognised not as optional extras, but as crucial to ensuring good delivery.

“Finally, the role of technology is becoming more and more prevalent, and we need to prepare for new ways of working that accommodate a generation that has never been so tech savvy”.

What advice would you offer anyone aspiring to become a project manager?

“Don’t try to specialise straight away.

Project management is one of the most transferrable skills out there and it’s going to be more and more in demand.

“So get your foot in the door, work hard, get a good CV behind you and specialism can come later”.

How highly do you rate training?

“It’s important, as projects tend to be very dependent on tools, techniques and methodologies.

“It’s advisable to be selective though, and make sure your training aligns not just to the frameworks you’re working within, but also to your own personal learning style”.

As a freelance copywriter and editor, how do you organise your time?

“With difficulty!

“It’s undoubtedly tough juggling different roles, but I love it because it brings with it freedom, variety and independence.

“I’m hugely reliant on lists and never go anywhere without my notebook – I’m an old fashioned girl at heart”.