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PMI Switzerland Chapter Newsletter: Retrospective 20th Anniversary Celebration

PMI Switzerland Chapter Newsletter: Retrospective 20th Anniversary Celebration

 PMI Switzerland Chapter Newsletter
September 2021 - SPECIAL EDITION - 20th Anniversary Celebration

Celebrating 20 years of PMI Switzerland! Memories and a milestone

Author: Karolina Letowska, PMP

PMI Switzerland Chapter President

Welcome everyone to this special edition of the PMI Switzerland Chapter Newsletter.


As we are celebrating a big milestone of the chapter – 20 years, we would like to share some memories and anecdotes with our readers. 


Many things have happened in the past two decades. We started in the times when there were no Zoom calls, and when our first Chapter Charter was faxed to the PMI Headquarters in Philadelphia.


We hope you will enjoy the memory lane that we share today and in future newsletters this year.


But before… I would like to say a Big Thank You! to all our current and past: Volunteers, Members and Partners for making this Chapter such an amazing community. We can make this happen thanks to all of you!


All the best,

Karolina Letowska

Building new memories at the 20th Anniversary event

‍Author: Benoîte Grisouard, PMP

We, members and volunteers, were all invited to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the PMI Switzerland Chapter. In two decades, this community, created with passion and motivation, has been able to participate in the development of the discipline and be an efficient support to Project Managers, experienced or not. This in-person event was an opportunity to directly approach many colleagues I encountered on virtual meeting platforms: We dis-connected to re-connect :)

The afternoon of Sunday 5 September 2021 - with its warm and welcoming atmosphere, had a family reunion vibe to it. We gathered with handwritten name tags and shared friendly cuisine.

The "first generation" of PMs dispensed their stories and anecdotes to new members and volunteers; regulars talked over the external influences on their day-to-day activities. A detail stated by a PM in banking was commented on by a PM in the pharmaceutical industry and then taken up by a PM in IT. These friendly discussions gave to this sympathetic community a subtle G20 flair.

The Anniversary team chose for this summer celebration an urban garden that looks like a confidential rooftop near Bern. We enjoyed refreshing cocktails, homemade sausages grilled on meters long BBQ, just like the first PMI Board meetings 20 years ago at Dr. Andrea Behrends’ place.


The first board of directors was a distributed team, and it was rare for them to see one another face-to-face. Dr. Andrea Behrends, founder and first chapter president and Martin Härri, former chapter president, joined Karolina Letowska, current president of PMI Switzerland to welcome guests and celebrate 20 years of achievements, collaboration, and determination. They shared anecdotes about the first fundraising in Zurich, a wine testing, or tombolas.

We all had fun together and discussed ideas on how we could strengthen our Chapter. 

It was nice catching up with you. Happy Anniversary PMI Switzerland Chapter!

Benoîte Grisouard, PhD, PMP

Anecdotes of the early PMI Switzerland years

Author: Karolina Letowska, PMP

PMI Switzerland Chapter President

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 AMM (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 Green) 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

Take a shot!

Author: Joachim Dehais, PMP

PMI Switzerland Chapter Deputy VP Membership

It was a pleasure to meet so many of you, and take as many photos of the event. Find here the first sample, with more coming on facebook and instagram.

If you like yourself on them, get in touch, we might even strike a deal!


Joachim Dehais, PhD, PMP, TOGAF

PMI Switzerland Deputy VP Membership‍


Karolina Letowska, PMP

Benoîte Grisouard, PMP

Joachim Dehais, PMP


Copy Editor:

Philip Springuel, PMP

Technical Editor:
Thierry Altenhoven, PMP

Publications Director:
Daniel Rodellar, PMP

The PMI Switzerland Chapter is a non-profit professional business organization, and is a chartered chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI), Newtown Square, PA, USA.

Views and opinions expressed in the newsletter are those of the authors and, unless otherwise stated, do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the chapter or PMI or imply partnership.


© Copyright 2021 Project Management Institute Switzerland Chapter. All rights reserved.

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