Author: Karolina Letowska, PMP

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I can only imagine that the first days and the launch of the Chapter weren’t very easy. But every time Andrea Behrends (founder and first president of the Chapter) talks about it, I see a big smile on her face, and I believe it was worth the effort.

Anecdotes from Dr. Andrea Behrends:

I have the impression that in the last 20 years many things were planted and stayed that way. For example, there was always an affinity for technology. Furthermore, the tone was always collegial and friendly and at the same time we were always professional as well.

During the first years, our motto was to work efficiently so that we had some free time left, e.g. BBQ and swimming pool. That spirit made it rewarding to travel distances just for a chapter meeting. 

One of the challenges was the idea to split the chapter, i.e. one for Romandie and one for the German part of Switzerland. I supported those who wanted to remain one chapter for all Switzerland. I think this is beneficial until today. It increases the offerings for all members and supports the exchange of ideas and networks between the different areas in Switzerland.

Believe it or not, the community of PMI Switzerland is so strong we still have Volunteers supporting PMI since day one. One of our chapter volunteers is Martin Härri (past president of the Chapter) who has given enormous support throughout the years. He is without a doubt, the best person to talk about the changes, the past and the future of the Chapter.

Anecdotes from Martin Härri:

I was not a member of the first board, but I heard that their meetings were held in the house of the first president (Andrea Behrends), and after the meetings they had a barbecue and jumped into the house’s swimming pool. 

The first AMMs (Annual Members Meetings) were held in person, and as per bylaws, a certain percentage of the members had to be present in order to make the votes valid. However, in about the third or fourth year there was a snowstorm, and many members were not able to reach the location where the AMM was planned. So our webmaster back then (James Greene) programmed a web-based voting solution almost overnight, which continued to be used for many years, until it was replaced by a solution provided by PMI Global.

I have received many more stories which we will share in future newsletters this year. I hope the Chapter has still many years to go and many stories to build.

All the best,

Karolina Letowska