Believe it or not, volunteer work changed my life. The first time I volunteered I was 11 years old! Yes that young. In fact I’m glad my school (ISC) had something called Student Life Organization (SLO) which engages students in their school life to run this student led organization that acts something like a Student Affairs in a typical school.
Starting at that young age helped me overcome some personal weak points, from shyness to knowing how to interact and deal with people and responsibilities. Yet the seed it planted in me…didn’t stop there, it grew multiple folds to flourish in my university life and beyond.
From the first year of university, I just had that drive to give back to community, to serve, to grow, to meet people and so I ended up joining student societies and clubs at my university (AUB) as well as cofounding an NGO called Aie Serve among my involvement with many others that I am still involved in till this day whether as founder or Board Member or Advisor or simply as a member.
So here are some of the things I believe volunteer work gave me:
- Opened my mind to new ways of thinking about life.
- Gave me a purpose beyond my own self and my day to day life.
- Got me to meet the most inspiring people I would have never dreamed of knowing.
- Made me more friends that I could have possibly done in 50 years.
- Gave me life changing experiences and challenges that made me mature way faster than many of my colleagues and friends that were not involved in volunteer work.
- Made me feel proud about the achievements I was able to accomplish with the teams I worked with to make Lebanon a better place to live in. From improving the life of underserved children to giving back to nature through tree planting and beach cleanups to mentoring youth to training and sharing knowledge with aspiring young leaders to many many maaany more.
- Gave me opportunities to learn how to manage projects, lead teams, do strategic planning, explore my training skills, brainstorm for ideas that will make the world a better place…just to mention a few.
- Lead me to having a career in consultancy and training that I wouldn’t have if I didn’t do all the volunteer work I did, simply because a typical university life and a 8-5 job wouldn’t have given me half as much opportunities to learn, grow and meet new people.
So my recommendation to you, no matter how old you are or what your social/economic/academic/marital status is, if you’re not engaged in some volunteer work already, then get to it! You can never do too much volunteer work, the more the merrier, and trust me it just gets better with time, just make sure you join the organizations or causes that you feel passionate about or at least interested in, the rest will follow!
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I’d like to invite you to a workshop that I’m organizing and delivering as part of my work with CMCS Lebanon. Details below.
Workshop Topic: Project Management for NGOs
Date: September 16 & 17, 2013
Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Venue: CMCS Lebanon Office – Hamra
Facilitator: Afif Tabsh, PMP®
- NGO’s Board Members & Founders
- NGO Consultants
- Program & Project Managers/ Coordinator/ Assistants
- General/ Grant Coordinators
- Team/ Committee/ Task-force Leaders
- Company Managers with interest in CSR Projects/Programs
- UN & International Organizations’ Staff
- Understand the difference between NGO projects and private sector projects.
- Understand and identify how to use standard tools and techniques of project management in NGOs.
- Understand the relationship between the Knowledge Areas in the PMBOK (PMI) in relation to NGO’s terminology and way of work.
- Understand how to develop a project idea into a full project management plan.
- A practical hands-on workshop designed in alignment with the international standard of project management along with the best practices in Project Management in NGOs.
- Covers key topics and issues that everyone can build on to enhance the way they transform project ideas into fully functioning plans.
- Includes numerous discussions, reflection sections and exercises.
- Is approved by AUB and certified by PMI thus PMP/CAPM holder can claim PDUs for it.
$ 550 US (including CMCS Customized Course Manual, a Process Chart, Certificate of Attendance, 15 PDUs, and Snacks & Refreshments). VAT included.
For Registration: PM for NGOs Registration Form
For More Information:
OFC: (+961) 1 345111
Mobile: (+961) 71 69000
FAX: (+961) 1 346111
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In the following article I will try to extract the most notable lessons learned from my experience in the IT field for the past few years.
A quick overview for my dear readers who don’t know my background, I studied Computer Science(CMPS) at the American University of Beirut(AUB) while working at the Computing and Networking Services (CNS) on campus. Following my graduation I worked in IT development at a banking/financial institution while doing some free lance web-development and IT related consultancies.
Overall, I had my share of working on both hardware and software…and the lessons learned all fit in together and I will be pinpointing them as briefly as possible in the below lines:
- No problem is too complex. The key to success in this is to decompose the complexity of the issue into smaller manageable parts. Afterwards one only needs to resolve a group of simpler issues that fit in together.
- Automation is the key to ongoing growth and sustainability of many companies. This is due to the fact that any requested behavior can be mimicked and coded accordingly, with as many exceptions as needed, replacing the need for human interaction with machines.
- Technology is advancing faster than we expect. The rate at which technology is evolving allows for sophisticated solutions to be designed and implemented with growing speed and ease. What was nearly impossible 10 years ago can be developed in a week today.
- IT team leaders can make or break the company. One of the keys for successful IT teams is a team leader who knows how to leverage the expertise of the team, provide enough autonomy while still closely overseeing the work.
- Programming in multiple languages is becoming a must. Knowing one programming language …in our times…is no longer enough to keep with the pace of advancement and to develop the solutions the best fit the needs.
- GUI is king. Graphical user interface and packaging became as important as the actual functionality of the solutions requested as users demand the simplest and most intuitive tools they can have. People want eye-candy with minimal intellectual effort to use the applications.
In this context, and after checking the above with some of my friends and colleagues, the same lessons apply in most fields and I will definitely be taking those lessons with me in my consultancy and management work from now on.
I hope they help you in one way or another in your career…and I’m open for your comments and suggestions as always. 🙂