Chapter Communications Blog

Equity and Equality - Levelling the Playing Field

Eric Jelenje

Author: Eric Jelenje, PMP

Hi again!

It’s been an exciting last 2 months of delving into Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, highlighting how beneficial it can be for organisations seeking to sustain innovation and competitiveness, and, a sequenced overview of all the key aspects,  beginning with Diversity.

This month, we transition to the next waypoint, Equity.

To continue, I’ll use sport as an analogy. 

The list of sports I like to watch is quite diverse: football, tennis, basketball, golf.

A common question amongst fans has been who to rank as Greatest Sportsperson of All Time: Ali? Federer? Tiger? Serena? Graf? Jordan? Ronaldo? Messi? King? Navratilova?

Whoever your choice here, they each have a valid claim. 

As I’ve pondered over the debate, I have concluded that they all deserve a seat at the table. Let us appreciate them all for their respective talents and outstanding achievements. Give each one a VIP ticket to the “Greatest Of All Time” party.

This approach is the hallmark of Equity.

The global consulting firm Gallup coined a quite comprehensive description, explaining it as “fair treatment, access and advancement for each person”, accounting for “historical and socio-political factors that affect opportunities and experiences”, and addressing “peoples’ unique needs without one person or group having an unfair advantage over another”.

Another part of the conversation is the relationship between Equality and Equity, two words that are erroneously used interchangeably but are different. Referencing Gallup’s definition, Equality is fairness for all. However, Equity takes it further, recognising the distinctive circumstances, past and present, that would require a contextual approach to truly achieve that desired fairness.

You may have seen an Einstein-inspired cartoon online in which some animals are lined up for a test. To ensure “fairness”, a man instructs them to climb a tree, much to the bemusement of the fish, seal, dog and penguin. You can guess the monkey’s and bird’s reactions! In other words, Equality is the same tree-climbing test for each animal. With Equity, the swimming abilities of the seal, penguin, dog and fish would also be recognised and that would be tested too. 

This is a simple but powerful illustration highlighting how important Equity is to the DEI conversation. Put simply, by leaning on Diversity, achieving Equity ensures a level playing-field for all stakeholders.

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How then can organisations ensure they move towards Equity?

Gallup advises conducting equity audits using 3 metrics, fairness, pay and opportunities for advancement . This often means asking the tough questions: Do our hiring practices favour all regardless of age, gender or ethnicity? Are our workplace policies flexible in supporting individual staff needs such as parenting and elderly care? Are our pay packages fair in rewarding expertise regardless of demographic? Do our staff at all levels feel they can progress career-wise within? 

Ultimately, if the results reveal a difference in outcomes between demographics, it is those circumstances that need to be addressed. Beyond diagnosing the issues, organisations should work on developing remedial actions that change the status quo: Pay parity, flexi-working, diversity-based recruitment and more.

When effective, striving for Equity will effectively complement the balance achieved through embracing Diversity. As with Diversity, achieving Equity will not happen overnight. As one blogger remarked, progress will be about steady improvements and not perfection. With Diversity across workforces and Equity through parity, organisations steadily build a platform for fostering a culture that makes everyone feel respected and comfortable to give their best.

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This Inclusivity is our discussion for next month.

What are your experiences with and beliefs about Equity? 

Do you think it is an attainable objective? 

What have you noted about equity-driven organisations and vice versa? 

Food for thought!

See you in July!

PMI running team in Lausanne

Thando Dube

Author: Thando Dube

VP Communications & Brand Development

Last month, I participated in the biggest running event in Lausanne, 20km de Lausanne alongside other volunteers from our PMI chapter.

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 “If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon”, said Emil Zatopek, the legendary long-distance runner best known for winning three gold medals at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki. We did not run a marathon, but this was an excellent team building experience that nurtured a positive impact on the PMI running Team.  This event has several race formats.  Each year, there are over 20 000 participants. Our team consisted of 7 participants from 5 different cantons. We had 4 runners participating in the 10km race and 3 runners in the 20km race respectively.

After several months of preparation for this event, I was thrilled to meet other team members just before the start of the race!  We had some brief introductions and we quickly put on our lovely running-shirts branded with PMI colors. We then took some photos and exchanged last minute running tips before heading off to the start line. The 20km runners started first followed by the 10km participants.  


Everyone had a good run besides the steep, uphill and downhill runs that make this race one of the most challenging urban running events! After the race, we got together as a team to share our running experience and most importantly to refuel! We had some drinks and food together! My takeaway from this experience is the bonding that has resulted from this event.  We have created a running group, and we regularly share tips and other information not only related to running but other daily interactions! We are already working on other different formats of running events to come. The group dynamics that we have created is helping us to work closer with each other on other PMI volunteering activities. I encourage other volunteers to join our running group, “you only need a pair of good running shoes and the desire to walk or run and to share your favorite drink with the team after the run”!

Finally, a big thank you to all the PMI running team members for the fun we had together, I look forward to our next race!  I extend my thanks also to all the volunteers that contributed to the preparation and organization of this event, Ala, Pia, Joachim and finally Leandro who did a great job in coordinating this event “Vielen Dank, Merci, Grazie, Thank you”! 

Post event article – Live event with PwC – Resilience in project leadership - Tools from elite sports

Leandro Benda

Author: Leandro Benda, PMP

 “Projects are the living proofs that a butterfly flapping its wings can lead to a tornado”

Michka Guerrier

On Thursday, April 27, 2023 took place in Geneva our live event “Resilience in project leadership - Tools from elite sports” in partnership with our sponsor PwC presented with great talent by Michka Guerrier, Director - Risk Consulting Leader Western Switzerland and Finance Transformation by PwC.

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Michka is passionate about supporting individuals, teams and companies in reaching their fullest potential – and translating these into realities.

How does he pursue this purpose? He seeks the most interesting and proven knowledge, tools, methods, experiences from various disciplines such as fighting sports, scientific exploration, psychology and brings these to the people and companies he works with. 

the event started right away very strong with Michka who put some participants in real conditions from the beginning, the volunteers were asked to do the following exercise in the room:

  • Push Ups
  • set of 10 reps
  • 2 breath cycles break between reps
  • 2 min. max time

Through this practice, the usual cognitive process was shown:

  • 1st set: Easy, fresh body and mind, intact motivation.
  • 2nd set: Body starts to sweat; we start to feel the muscles.
  • 3rd set: Difficulties starting/increasing, body vs. mind.

As a conclusion of this debrief, we can say that:

  • The pain & struggle in our muscles is what makes them grow
  • Muscle cell disruption is what triggers the growth!
  • The aversion toward the challenge is a paradox.

 Do you think that Discomfort is an acceptable sensation? How can we work on this (in a fun manner)? Here are some ideas:

  • Put yourself in discomfort e.g physical exercise, cold shower
  • Implement this practice regularly
  • Use mantras or affirmations which are supportive.

A particularly interesting concept was the Kintsugi, a Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with gold.

As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history and value of an object.

In conclusion, we can say that:

  • Resilience, entrepreneurship & leadership are intrinsically connected.
  • Disruption is part of growth.
  • To progress towards goals, you need to want the challenge.
  • To lead effectively, you need to connect challenges and goals within your team.
  • Resilience is among other things to recognize that there will be difficulties and to be smart in suffering.

From butterfly to tornado – cherish your thoughts;

Idea -> Paper -> Plan -> Share and recruit -> Start / Implement / Build -> Grow and refine

Thank you for participating and don’t hesitate to take a look at our events via the link below:

Kind regards

Leandro Benda

Let's play! Event retrospective

Author: Joanna Lubowiecka

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"Let's play: Facilitating your next strategy planning" held 24 May at SIX ConventionPoint in Zurich, proved to be an incredibly enjoyable and beneficial experience.

The gathering kicked off with an insightful presentation by PMI, highlighting the community and advantages of being a part of the Project Management Institute. As a current member, I discovered new features and further understood the tremendous value of belonging to this esteemed institute.

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The most exciting part of the event was Pierre E. Neis' captivating presentation. He introduced us to a game called "Toast," which turned out to be a simple yet powerful tool for teamwork. We played the game individually and in groups, facing challenging tasks that required us to work together effectively.

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During the game, we learned that even daunting objectives can be achieved when we combine our efforts and use our unique strengths and perspectives. Neis guided us through the game, teaching us how to communicate effectively, solve problems, and create a positive team environment.

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As we played, we saw a remarkable transformation within the group. Despite the initial uncertainty, we witnessed a shift in mindset as ideas flowed, cooperation increased, and creativity thrived. The game showed us the importance of strong leadership and revealed the untapped potential that teams have when they collaborate and think outside the box.

This eye-opening experience had a profound impact on all of us. We gained practical insights and strategies to improve team performance in our workplaces. The lessons we learned from "Toast" will undoubtedly be applied by many as they strive to create more efficient, collaborative, and motivated teams in their organizations.

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We extend our sincere appreciation to all those involved, including our sponsors pwc, Adex, and STS, as well as our dedicated volunteers, for their invaluable support in making this event a resounding success.

Editorial PMI Switzerland Newsletter May 2023

Author: Philip Springuel, PMP 

Newsletter Copy Editor

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Dear friends and colleagues,

In her Message from the Board, Ala Lutz, VP Membership, describes the Guest Pass Program that allows one year of free membership for new members of PMI Switzerland. Don’t miss the profiles of three new members in this month’s newsletter, yours can be next!

With a new article for a continuing series in your PMI Switzerland Newsletter, Eric Jelenje shares more thoughts about Diversity and Unconscious Bias. Another article describes an upcoming interactive session introducing two powerful tools: the Team Alignment Map and the Team Contract. Also this month, Leandro Benda deep-dives into the complex planning process that goes into preparing for a Marathon.

To offer a memorable experience at the coming 12th Annual Conference, please offer your input and participate in the Pre-Event Survey.

With the success of our previous strategy planning event in Lausanne, we are delighted to offer another workshop on this topic with Pierre NEIS. See the events calendar and connect with our social media to plan your participation in the many networking and training events coming up.