Two weeks ago I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Digital Project Managers Summit. This was the 5th year of this event, and it was held at the beautiful M Resort Spa Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. I thought that the venue was perfect for the event, because the M Resort is located about 15 minutes south of the Las Vegas strip, and this enabled attendees to not be distracted with the noise of the Vegas Strip, and be more immersed in the conference. All of the daily sessions, breakouts and evening events were held at the M Resort. Almost all of the 300 attendees stayed onsite allowing casual networking opportunities with fellow project managers (PM's) outside of the scheduled conference events. The hotel rooms offered expansive views of the surrounding mountains which set a perfect backdrop for the skyline of the Strip. As someone from the Midwest, where there is not a lot of elevation change, this was incredible to wake up to every morning. There were plenty of dining out options on premise, a casino, wine cellar with bar, gym, spa, and pools. The campus really had it all.
The Bureau of Digital did a fantastic job of setting the daily conference schedule. Our days started with a hosted breakfast that was beyond what you would expect at a conference, which helped all of us to get fueled up for the sessions, and lunch was equally delicious. In addition to these meals, we were offered morning and afternoon snacks. We even broke the hotel caterings coffee consumption record (PM’s like their caffeine).
The highlight was obviously the sessions and speaker lineup. Often, project managers don’t have opportunities in their weekly schedule to speak one on one with other project managers, even in instances where your organization has a PMO. It was great that the Bureau of Digital facilitated an opportunity for these conversations to happen. Life as a PM can feel isolated at times, and speaking with other professionals who share your language, challenges, and successes helps to provide an alternative perspective and build a sense of community. Overall the experience was inspiring, the speakers didn’t hold back and were honest and open when delivering their messages.
One of the most inspiring sessions for me was The PM Career Path, which was set up in a panel format with five of the speakers each sharing their resumes and how they ended up as a Digital Project Manager (DPM). This session really resonated with me because as I learned at the conference, and from my own experience, many of us that are DPM’s didn’t set off in our career as this being our target, but evolved into DPM’s because our strengths and skill set lead us to the project management profession. These speakers were very candid about the successes and failures that they have encountered on their professional journey, and it was very relatable. I would like to thank Megan McInerny, Betty Chan, Abby Fretz, Shahina Patel, Dave Prior for opening up to 300 people and sharing their experiences.
I had valuable takeaways from all of the presentations offered, and was rejuvenated again as a DPM. I was very thankful for the regional breakout sessions which introduced me to other DPM’s who I could network with face to face on a regular basis after the Summit. If you are a Digital Project Manager, I highly recommend looking into attending next year’s event. The last night of the conference I stood on one of the second-floor balconies, overlooking the Resort pool, and watched the sunset disappear behind the mountain. It was a comfortable, dry 74 degrees, and a stunning ending to an inspiring few days with fellow project managers. I can’t wait to attend again next year.
Before I close, I would like to share one of my favorite quotes from the event because it’s funny, but very true.
Project Management is like air quality, if you can see it, it’s probably killing you. – Meghan McInerny