Video diary: Visiting the Ile-de-France PMI Chapter in Paris


Here’s my video diary of my recent trip to Paris. I was invited to speak about social media for project managers at the Ile-de-France PMI Chapter, but I took the opportunity to see the city and some friends as well. As you’ll hear from the video, my pronounciation of cannelles* and quennelles** are identically awful. My French teacher would be horrified. A transcript of the video is below, along with notes on the French words.

I’m in Paris to do a presentation for the Ile-de-France PMI Chapter. It’s the first time I’ve done a presentation in a country where the language isn’t my own or where the majority of the presentations won’t be in that language so that’s going to be quite a challenge for me. So at the moment, I’m at l’Esplanade de la Défense and I am about to meet some friends for lunch.

I’m on my way to find the venue for this evening’s presentation and I don’t exactly know where it is but I am currently walking past the Centre Pompidou and there’s renovation works going on which makes it very noisy here. But the parvis is full of people. There aren’t any street entertainers here which they used to be, which there frequently are. But I imagine that’s because it’s a Tuesday.

Okay, here we are! Espace Saint Martin and that’s where I’ll be giving a presentation tonight. So now I just need to go back, get ready and I’ll be back here about 6 o’clock.

My hotel is on this side of the Centre Pompidou different. It’s much more impressive from this angle, and it’s huge. Basically where I’ll be speaking tonight is diagonally here on the other side of the square with the Pompidou Center in.

I’ve spent the afternoon going through my slides because what I’ve realized this morning was that there is not a lot of technical language but there are some turns of phrase that I could actually make a lot easier for a foreign language audience to understand. So I’ve just been going through and looking at what phrases I could change to simpler English, I’ve added in an extra slide which I think will put more words on the screen so that will make it hopefully again easier for them to understand.

And I’ve written the part of my presentation I’m doing at the beginning in French and I’ve had that checked by a French native speaker so hopefully that’s going to be okay. And I’m about now to get my bits and pieces together and head off round to Espace Saint Martin to do the presentation.

I have to say that this is a very impressive space. This is the upstairs of the building and there are all these rather odd statues. And obviously the other side of that is a big auditorium. We’re actually speaking in a small room downstairs and there’s me and there is a project management consultancy company who do SharePoint and are doing a SharePoint demo tonight so that should be quite interesting as well.

This is the room that I spoke in this evening. And apparently they had between eighty and a hundred people turn up. There were people arriving quite after the session has started. But there were very few chairs and people had to squeeze in at the back which was great really. It’s great to see how many people turned up.

I’ve been talking with the President of the Chapter and he said it’s a growing and very busy Chapter with lots of events planned. So I’m glad that I had the opportunity to meet some of the people and to speak to them.

Well, it’s about quarter to ten and I’m back from doing the presentation at the Ile-de-France Chapter of PMI and it went really well. There were great questions, the people were lovely, all the Chapter members and the organizers did everything they could to be helpful, and they served cannelles* after with some drinks as a pot^ after the event, after my speech and Christophe’s speech. He was from a company and they spoke about SharePoint implementations and how that can help manage projects.

So overall, it was a really nice evening and I was speaking to one of the people beforehand around why my blog is called A Girl’s Guide to Project Management. And I thought actually that things had moved on and that really we had addressed the fact that there were not that many women in project management speaking and writing. But in a room of eighty, ninety people, there were eight women including myself which is not a great representation of how many women I’m sure working in project management in France today. So I hadn’t realized quite how different it would be in a different geography because it’s certainly not like that at UK events but it’s interesting to see the representation of women in the room and I’m back from that now.

I stopped at the supermarket on my way back to buy some of the things that I missed from France. So this is roule au fromage^^ and I’ve also got some quenelle in here as well, and this is Michel et Augustin. And that was a product launched, a product brand that was launched when I used to live in Paris and I think they’re great. So I have no idea what these are…parmesan and mustard, cheesy biscuits. So I’m going to take all of these home with me and take a little bit of France home as a memory.

* Cannelles: little cakes from Bordeaux. Read more on Wikipedia.

** Quennelles: erm, French dumplings. No idea what is in the vegetarian ones and would probably prefer not to know. Read more on Wikipedia.

^ Pot: drinks and nibbles.

^^ Roule au fromage: puff pastry rolls with cheese and bechamel sauce inside. Think sausage roll without the sausage.

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