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HR Performer Series – December 2011

 


 
Ms. Sharon Samjitsingh, Group Project Manager
ANSA McAL Group of Companies


 


In a perfect world, projects would be delivered on time, under budget and without major problems or obstacles to overcome.  But we don’t live in a perfect world and projects have problems.  Sharon Samjitsingh is a woman who has the ability to solve problems and make things happen.  It’s her creative, analytical and tactical skills and her disciplined approach which has led to her becoming ANSA McAL’s Group Projects Manager, where she has oversight of all capital projects.


Fresh out of the University of the West Indies in 1993 with a First Class Honors degree in Chemical Engineering, she started a as a Process Engineer at  ABEL and moved her way up to that of Production Manager in 1999 and Project Manager of Caribbean Roof Tile Company between 2003 and 2004.  Sharon was promoted to General Manager in 2004 and became the first female GM in the ANSA McAL Group.


“I am lucky to have met good people at all levels of the organization,” she reflects.  “People like Dennis McSween, Ben Boodoosingh, Theo DeSilva, and Vishnu Sahadeo all spotted my potential and took the time to support and nurture me.  These people had a particular growth plan in mind and steered me in the right direction.”


Later on, she was able to work directly with Senior Management of the Group, and says that these interactions really set the performance context for the Group, incorporating values that she feels comfortable to work with.  Notable among these are interactions with the Group Chairman, Mr A. Norman Sabga, and particularly with the Group COO, to whom she has reported since 2006.  In addition to personal mentoring from Mr. Gerry Brooks, Sharon reflects on hearing him state to a management team that they have a responsibility to their staff to work together to ensure profitability, so that they (the staff), can continue to be employed, and concludes that those are values that she can support and feels proud to be part of an organization that espouses this.


Sharon acknowledges that Project Management is a relatively new discipline with strong roots in construction, defense, engineering and manufacturing.  It’s comes as no surprise when she says that a common misconception is that project management is construction-centric.   She possesses a relatively unique combination of project management qualifications – the PMP®, PMI-SP® and PMI-RMP®. There are less than 800 people world-wide with PMI-SP® certification and less than 1,000 with PMI-RMP® certification.


She describes an effective project leader as someone having a vision of where to go and the ability to articulate it.  “Visionaries thrive on change and being able to draw new boundaries” she says.  “A Project Manager must have the ability to communicate with people at all levels, as project leadership calls for clear communication about goals, responsibility, performance, expectations and feedback.” 


According to Sharon, “A great deal of value is placed on openness and directness”.  She lists Integrity as one of the most important characteristics of a successful Project Manager:  “One of the things a project leader must remember is that his or her actions, and not words, set the modus operandi for the team.  Good leadership demands commitment to, and demonstration of, ethical practices.  And, for the record, don’t even consider deviating from the truth.”


Her credo is getting it right the first time.  In an environment where time is of the essence, she’s committed to quality and does not tolerate waste or wasted efforts.  Sharon describes herself as an organized, meticulous and caring individual who is genuinely interested in developing young people.  “Someone who has the right attitude is the best type of person to train” she states.  “I always tell people that some of the brightest minds are found on our shop floors, so a serious pet peeve of mine is profiling or discrimination based on education.”


There is a marked gentleness in her voice when she refers to her parents.  “My Mom and Dad provided the best examples of what parents should be like.  My deceased father did not go to High School, but he taught us Math without any formal education.  He was a bright man and believed that my sister and I should have a good education.  My mother is an Iron Lady and continues to be a pillar of strength.” 


A Christian, Sharon refers to her husband of five years as being her ‘better half’ and thoroughly supportive of her work. 


“I want to be remembered as someone who made a difference to the lives of people.  I am thankful for my Christianity, husband, family, the opportunities that have been presented to me, and the people who passed through my life ……in that order,” she grins. 


 


Corporate Communications
December 01, 2011