INSTRUCTOR SPOTLIGHT: JULY 2022
INSTRUCTOR SPOTLIGHT: FEBRUARY 2022
JULY 2022 Instructor Excellence Award:
Lead PMP Instructor
Guisela Villatoro loves to teach and comes from a family that has long embraced the profession. Her grandmother was a rural teacher. Her father and sister dedicated their lives to teaching. And so has Guisela. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering, a Master’s Degree in Education, and several professional certifications including PMP, Disciplined Agile Scrum Master, Professional Translator, and a Broadcasting and Narration Certification that is nationally recognized in Guatemala.
While she spent a significant percentage of her career managing large projects in the telecommunications industry, she has most enjoyed the last 10 years as the lead PMP instructor for Proyectum, a PMI Authorized Training Partner based in Guatemala. In every class she teaches, she brings her real-world experience as a regulatory and international networking expert along with her experience putting that knowledge to work in large-scale, successful projects.
While working as a project manager, Guisela managed a large project that was part of a major national effort to open up the telecommunications industry in Guatemala. In the past, the only option for the average Guatemalan to get telecommunications service was a landline. “There was one landline provider in the entire country,” says Guisela, “and it would take many months, if not years for service to be set up. Cellular service was available but was much too expensive for most people.” Guisela led a project that supported the process to deregulate the industry and make telecommunications more available and affordable. Working with government regulators, local service providers, and international cellular companies, Guisela and the project team negotiated and operationalized a revolutionary interconnection agreement between the two local telecommunications operators, with a modern approach for providing service throughout the country. “This initiative resulted in an open market first solution that allowed for rapid deployment of telephone and cellular services. What historically took a long time now happens in a snap,” concludes Guisela. Guisela continued her career in the field, and several years later, she was presented with an opportunity to teach project management skills to others. Guisela says, “That opportunity revealed to me, or better stated, helped me rediscover what my true passion is—teaching.” This experience brought Guisela to Proyectum, and she has been teaching project management classes ever since.
“I am a very organized and structured individual with a real appreciation for the value of planning,” says Guisela, “so I think I am a natural project manager.” When Guisela teaches classes, she lets that passion show and firmly believes that students will “see right through you” if you are not authentic and passionate. Guisela adapts her teaching style for each unique audience. Her students range from freshmen in college, where she enjoys “feeding young minds,” to professionals who have been working in project management for years. The PMP class is her favorite to teach. Starting with theory and adding pragmatic tools that can be put to use immediately, Guisela works with every student to prepare them in the best way possible to sit for the PMP exam. “I start with the PMI materials, which I found very valuable, and enhance the class with activities, games, discussions, and practice, practice, practice!” Proyectum offers varying class options which “gives us plenty of time to enhance the class for maximum student impact,” adds Guisela.
As a lifelong learner, Guisela plans to add to her repertoire of credentials. Putting her broadcasting skills to work, she plans to launch a podcast. While reciting poetry is a personal passion and she plans to publish a children’s book at some point, her podcast will most likely focus on project management and teaching life skills more effectively. “Virtual classrooms have really changed everything,” indicates Guisela. “Tapping into learning styles—aural, visual, read/write, kinesthetic—is critical to the success of a class. And doing that for a topic like project management in a virtual classroom can be difficult. I want to help students connect with the content, each other, and their instructor. The instructor is the key, and we all need to continue to adapt our skills to be effective in this virtual learner world. I want to help teachers build those skills and a podcast might just be the best way to do that.” Guisela’s son and two daughters are her inspiration. They are artists and share their mother’s passionate personality. “Artists never retire because they love what they do, and neither do teachers…”
Spend 10 minutes with Guisela and it will be clear to you that teaching truly is “in her blood.”
JULY 2022 Instructor Excellence Award:
Garrik Dennis is a US Army veteran who transitioned from military to civilian life in June of 2017 after an 8-year career in which he completed his time as a Captain. His transition to civilian life was fairly challenging so when he discovered Vets2PM in 2019 and met the founder, Eric “Doc” Wright, he knew he had found his purpose. Vets2PM is a PMI Authorized Training Partner dedicated to helping military veterans profoundly change their lives through project management, entrepreneurship, and AI.
With Eric as a role model, Garrik pursued and achieved his PMP certification and became the lead instructor for Vets2PM, and now trains veterans using PMI-developed curriculum along with supplemental materials that he designed to specifically address the unique needs of a military veteran in transition.
“Transitioning from military to civilian life can be quite challenging on many levels,” says Garrik. “Through project management training, we help veterans transition to civilian life and into meaningful, lucrative careers. The organization and time management skills they learn through the PMP, CAPM, and PMI-ACP classes we teach not only help veterans succeed professionally, but also assist them in activities associated with civilian life.” Vets2PM recognizes that veterans need additional support as they confront the realities of civilian life. Garrik takes an active interest in supporting each veteran and providing them with assistance that goes beyond training. As a Mental Health Counselor holding a Nationally Certified Counselor Certification, Garrik helps his students navigate through the trauma challenges that most have experienced. “I learn their individual stories. In addition to the training and mentoring and study sessions, I provide them with the counseling support they need. So, when they pass their certification exam, they not only have the technical and process skills necessary to function as a PMP Certified Project Manager, but they also have strategies for handling challenges of civilian life.”
While Garrik feels at home at Vets2PM and is fulfilled by the work that he does every day, he continues to pursue advanced degrees. Already holding a master's degree, he looks forward to furthering his studies and eventually earning a PhD with a focus on education and supervision. “I love teaching PMP classes, and I see the benefits of this training for our veterans,” says Garrik. “I see myself teaching others how to teach PMP and other PMI classes. And when that happens, more veterans will benefit from the great work Vets2PM does.” Garrik has a strong interest in EMDR and existential therapy, which helps veterans manage trauma from life and/or military experiences. In addition to his PhD, he currently specializes in the application of EMDR which he sees as providing “pre-trauma therapy” strategies for handling potentially traumatic situations that could be triggered by past trauma experiences.
“Through my work at Vets2PM, I am helping veterans discover who they are, to find their purpose, and live meaningful lives.”