Don’t be afraid to change course in your life by Lili Kaneva

   Today we are happy to meet one of our very passionate PMI Bulgaria Chapter volunteers - Lili Kaneva. She is a Master of Electronics from the Technical University of Sofia, a Master of Business Administration from the international faculty of the University of Sheffield and a certified Project Management Professional. Most of her professional experience is related to automotive electronics where she has held roles both in Operations and Development.

   Lili is an active volunteer for the PMI Bulgaria Chapter and today we find her curled up in a corner, quietly celebrating the rare joy of her sleeping three kids (four years old, two years and 9 months old - and if one of them did not have this mercy, we wouldn’t have been able to speak with Lili for this story).

   And back to Project Management - it has been a silver lining for Lili - both as a professional and as a mother of three. It is the skill set that has helped her evolve as a professional. She is an engineer - by education and by heart. She believes that technology will save the day on pretty much anything - from climate to space travel. The first thing she upgraded her engineering skill-set was project management. She started leading the development of the products whose manufacturing she had overseen formerly. It was a huge thing for her - to bind technology and managerial skills. "It is the perfect blend" says Lili. She belongs to the school of thought that firmly believes in technical knowledge - it has always helped her to speak the language of her team and to find creative solutions to difficult problems.

   Lili’s been an active and involved volunteer for PMI Bulgaria Chapter for a few consecutive years now and has actively participated in the organization of a few Project Management conferences. Lili continues to contribute as a volunteer, still that is by far her only success.

Lili Kaneva
   When it comes to success though (she laughs), "we have to agree to a definition of success" says Lili. "The classic view is really "vertical" - the higher you are in a hierarchy the more successful you are. I also had that view up to a point in my life" continues she. When we ask what happened with her view she adds: "Well ... two things. First I climbed higher in this hierarchical ladder than I ever thought I could and second - I became a mom. Then I realized that "success" is largely defined by your personal views. It always is an achievement alright but it really depends on the goals you set for yourself. One option is to climb high in a corporate ladder, another is to take care of someone you love. Both are valid achievements. Now I think there is a time and place for everything. Our goals evolve throughout life. It is very important to stay in touch with "the voice within" and to change course otherwise you may be chasing something you no longer value." Still Lili defines professional success with "the highest she was able to cover in the corporate ladder" (she laughs). Then she continues with passion "whatever you hear me say, it was really cool to manage my own team. It was even cooler to work on the creation of my "own" PMO. It was not only a great experience but an achievement, an adventure, something to be passionate about ... a worthy goal".

   Despite her busy agenda Lili did have her challenges and one was related to how to stay connected to the professional world. And she did find her solution through volunteering. She’s not only been a part of the PM Summit team for three years now, but she can also tell you how many great people she has met here. As Lili puts is: "we bond there the real "hard" way - not by a chat at a cocktail party but by working day-and-night on real critical issues and solving them together. That’s an ancient but irreplaceable recipe that gives you depth of the relationship. Volunteering helped me in another way - researching the trends and topics of the global PM community is a must for the definition of our Summit agenda. So we really dig deep in the articles, books and blogs before we come to our topics list. Then we hunt the best authors so we also get to connect with the strongest names in our profession. It is invaluable!" And as Lili put it - "don’t be afraid to change course in your life but make sure you come to a closure of each chapter in your life otherwise you would just be a lunatic running around".