[00:00:03.430] - Announcer
Do you wonder if others are dealing with the same project management challenges as you not sure where to turn for guidance and leadership. Office Hours are in session as we discuss project management and PMOs with global global leaders, hearing their story and learning their secrets to success. Our goal is to empower you and help you elevate your PMO and project management career to new heights. Welcome back to Project Management Office Hours with your host, PMO Joe.
[00:00:34.890] - PMO Joe
Welcome everyone, to Project Management Office Hours. We're the number one live project management radio show in the US, broadcasting to you from the Phoenix Business RadioX Studios in Tempe, Arizona. I'm your host, PMO Joe. And for the next hour or so, we're going to be talking project management and education and a whole bunch of different stuff with our special guests today. Before we get into the show, I want to make a few announcements like we usually do. I want to say thank you out to Stuart Easton and his team at Transparent Choice. They had hosted me for one of the webinar sessions a couple of weeks ago. We had talked about PMO maturity and how organizations often struggle with project delivery compared to their operations side of the house. So that was a great session. Stuart and his team offer a great solution to help with portfolio management. If you're not familiar with Transparent Choice, I highly recommend you go out there and check out their website, take a look at what they have to offer as I think they can be a big help for you and your organization. Also want to mention everybody who's joining us live.
[00:01:48.970] - PMO Joe
If you can just add into the comments, it's always fun to see where you're joining from so you can enter in where you're coming from. And then also, if you have questions throughout the show or comments, please add those as well. If we have time, we'd love to be able to get to some of those. For all of you, a reminder that these shows can be used as PDUs, right? So each show goes for about an hour, so it equals one PDU. You can go out to the Project Management Office Hours website and listen to the shows. For each show you get, you can do self reported PDUs for a podcast episode. This is episode 104. So 104 PDUs is a lot of PDUs to be able to get. So I highly recommend you go out there, listen to the shows and not just for the PDUs, right. For the content and the guests that we've had on. Tremendous guests that we've had, sharing lots of interesting stories and useful information that I think everybody can benefit from. Reminder, of course, as I mentioned, we're live on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Internet radio. So no matter where you are in the world, you should be listening to this or watching us, which is fantastic.
[00:03:04.370] - PMO Joe
We've got a full house today, so I'm Super excited to be able to work and introduce all of our different guests. So I want to say welcome to Luis, Sven, Yvan Camy and Ivy. Welcome, everybody. We'll get started with Sven, if you can say hello and do a little introduction to yourself so everybody gets to know a little bit more about you.
[00:03:32.350] - Sven Guzman
Thank you, Joe. It's a pleasure to be here. My name is Sven Guzman. I'm the Dean of Business Engineering at ESEN in El Salvador, Central America, I like to play PlayStation and I have a two and a half years old baby. That is an explosion of happiness. And she's keeping me busy with my wife.
[00:03:57.890] - PMO Joe
Fantastic. Great to have you on Sven. And we've got some exciting announcements for later in the show for some things we've been working on. Lucho, if you can take a moment to be able to say hello and introduce yourself.
[00:04:11.580] - Luis Guardado
Thank you, Joey. Well, community. My name is Luis Guardado. Everybody calls me Lucho. That's my artistic name. You will receive the best recommendations if you ask for Lucho rather than Luis, my friend. Again, thank you. Thank you very much for this invitation. It is a great pleasure to be able to be with you and dear colleagues of Phoenix Business Radio. And it is even more special because today here with us are some protagonist of the story that we have been building with all this great effort with ESEN and under the trust of Sven.
[00:04:52.110] - PMO Joe
As I've gotten to know you and Sven a little bit better, you were a guest on the show with Ivy, who's here with us as well a few months back. So we stayed in contact over these months and gotten to know each other a little bit better and certainly getting to know Sven as well. How did you meet Sven? What's the origin story? You're both in El Salvador, of course.
[00:05:14.800] - Luis Guardado
Yes. I have a funny story on how I met Sven almost 25 or 27 years ago when I was in school. I was part of a group of young Catholics. And once I attended a retreat for teenagers. And guess who was the guide and the leader of that retreat? The one and the only Sven. And for those who don't know him in person, Sven is over 2 meters tall. And I remember that he always had a lot of patience with us being a group of teenagers who always wanted to have fun. And that retreat, we slept in common rooms with a lot of beds. And I have this super funny memory. Sven sleeping in a super tiny bed and his legs wouldn't fit and they would roll out of the bed. And it was super funny because with this sheets hanging over his feet, he seemed like an act of magic, of something I would say and where the person feeds are floating in the air. That's my first memory when we met with Sven. And after a few years, we met again at the University and he was my professor. And a couple of years later he gave me the opportunity to collaborate as a teacher when he started as a Dean of the Engineering career.
[00:06:48.870] - Luis Guardado
And here we are involved in different crazy things together as always.
[00:06:54.930] - PMO Joe
That's funny. As you were telling the story, I can picture him laying there with this big feet hanging off the bed. Right.
[00:07:01.740] - Luis Guardado
That is Sven. That's my best memory of you.
[00:07:05.490] - Sven Guzman
[00:07:06.690] - PMO Joe
So, Lucho, as I said, we've been doing a lot of talking and getting to know each other and finding different ways to collaborate. So what are we planning? What's next for Lucho and Joe and the community that we support?
[00:07:23.140] - Luis Guardado
Well, thanks, Joe. I think this is one of the main reasons why we are having this conversation for some years now with the support and openness of ESEN. We have been making different efforts that seeks to increase the competitiveness of our country and little by little we have adapt the contents of the business engineering career in such a way that we have been focusing on different knowledge areas such as corporate strategy, portfolio program and project management. Obviously. And over time we began to see tangible results where almost 60% of the students get their first jobs in positions related to this subject and perhaps 35% make a career in topics related to portfolio and project management, which is awesome. With this in mind, year after year we have managed to increase the appetite for the quality of some professionals from the private sector and in this line and considering different efforts and alliances that we have been developing, the next step is to harvest for the future and our short term objective is to create the first Center of Excellence in the region focused on training and development professionals from early stages as high schools and universities in disciplines such as corporate strategy, portfolio program and project management.
[00:09:01.110] - Luis Guardado
At the end, this Center of Excellence seeks to raise the level of competitiveness. As I said before our country and our region, generating world class human capital, trained and certified by the best practices in the industry in the midterm and with some additional alliances that we are formulating with the government and private sector, we are dreaming of approaching a world class educational model and by fortune for us as an evidence of the quality of the Salvadorian talent. Last year we had the blessing of being recognized by the PMO Global Alliance as the best PMO in America from El Salvador, best Project Management in America by the CCW from El Salvador, best PMO in the America by the Chamber of BPOs in LATAM from El Salvador. These credentials opened endless doors and opportunities for us and this where the missing pieces to take this desire to serve our community and take this Center of Excellence to the next level. One of our main prerogatives as a professional is always put people first. Our belief is that you cannot be a great professional without being a great person. And with that in mind, with the aim of linking our local community with the world, we are organizing official communities.
[00:10:36.180] - Luis Guardado
We're organizing official alliances with the most prestigious Institute and specialized communities in the world. And on this occasion in this occasion, I would love to celebrate our most recent alliance with The PMO Leader community, who have blindly trusted us to bring these wishes and service to Latin America, starting in our little El Salvador, of course, as the first phase of the plan. And in the coming months, we will confirm alliances with other institutes such as the PMO Global Alliance, the IPMA. And we hope that many more. At the end of the day, our desire is to honor these opportunities with service and get back to our community thinking human and thinking as a global community. And it is important to mention that this story has been written with ESEN talent, and a couple of these protagonists are with us today. As leaving testimonies that our approach is on the right track.
[00:11:44.070] - PMO Joe
Yeah. As the founder of The PMO Leader global community, one of the things that we identified really was a weakness in Latin America where we just weren't connecting with the communities there to help evolve and improve project management. And this partnership now between ESEN and The PMO Leader is going to give us that opportunity to make an impact and really do it with people who are starting their careers, not necessarily those who are experienced already. Of course, that's important as well. But we're so happy to have with us, as you mentioned, three people who are already benefiting from what ESEN has to offer. So let's talk to them a little bit as well, have them introduced themselves. Let's start with Camy. We'll have you go first.
[00:12:36.750] - Camila Maldonado
Hello. And thank you for having us today. It's a great pleasure. My name is Camila Maldonal. I'm currently working as Senior Consultant for the global solutions team in Teles International. And I have known Lucho for quite a while now. And Sven as Dean of my career. I'm a business engineer as well. So it's a great pleasure to be here today.
[00:13:00.570] - PMO Joe
Thank you so much. Ivy will come over to you next.
[00:13:04.830] - Ivette Torres
Hey, thank you for having us. My name is Yvette, also known Lucho for a long time and also Sven. I'm a business engineer, and I actually have great stories to tell within ESEN and within our team in WebHelp. So thank you for having us here.
[00:13:25.420] - PMO Joe
Yeah, my pleasure will certainly come back to you and hear some of those stories as well. And, Yvan, Hi again.
[00:13:34.950] - Yvan Cucalon
Thanks for having us here. It's a great honor. My name is Yvan Cucalon, and I work as a product manager in the next step, which is up and coming marketing agency in the States. And yeah, I've known Lucho for a while now, SVEN as well. And I have great stories on how they helped build what I am today. Thank you.
[00:13:55.060] - PMO Joe
Fantastic. It's great to have you. And thanks for everybody who's joining us online. We're seeing people here in Arizona and Los Angeles. Looks like Lucho, you got someone who knows you online here as well as Columbia and others around. Awesome. One of the things that has been mentioned has been ESEN. And I think what's important for our listeners is to actually understand what that is. Right. We've mentioned it by name, but Sven, if you can tell us a little bit more about ESEN and what it is and why it's important for everybody to get to know it.
[00:14:31.470] - Sven Guzman
Okay, great. Well, ESEN is a University here in El Salvador. We have two main pillars here at ESEN, academic excellence and opportunity for all. And we practice academic excellence sign in partnership with universities around the world. For example, in business engineering, we have an student exchange with University Acatulica, Chile, one of the best Latin American universities. We also have a student exchange with universities in Germany, in Mexico, just to name a few. We also bring some professors from different universities around the world. We bring professors from Princeton, Clemson, Arkansas. And maybe we can bring you here Joe to teach us a class about project management. Who best? Well, you will be joining the class with Lucho because Lucho is our expert here. That's ESEN. We have three degrees, Economics and Business, Law and Business Engineering. That is the degree that I live.
[00:15:45.850] - PMO Joe
And tell us a little bit about the business engineering. Right. And the programs that you utilize to be able to help the students get some practical, real world experience through the training and education as well.
[00:15:58.190] - Sven Guzman
Yes, of course, business engineering is a different kind of engineer, one that has technical capabilities to solve technical problems. Since it's an engineer, he or she may be able to solve technical problems, but at the same time has the understanding of a company or the business that is currently working. Our students learn about economics, microeconomics, human resources, finance, but also have a deeper knowledge in the technical side, in processes, in supply chain, in data science, and of course, project management. And also they have the technical side, but we want them to be involved in extracurricular activities. Like, for example, I mentioned before, we have three degrees, but the last time I saw, we had 13 student societies, and that's very important. That's part of the ethos of the University. For example, we have a student society that is called Hope that they help kids with cancer. They also have another society that helps kids teaching them math to read. So it's very important for us to have extracurricular activities. And I think that's what complements them, and that makes them good for a project management job. Since they have the technical side, they know how to do some teamwork and some leadership, they are able to work in this area.
[00:17:38.790] - Sven Guzman
As Lucho mentioned, many of our alumni are working as a project manager or areas related to that.
[00:17:48.130] - PMO Joe
And for those who don't know, because we have people joining from all over the world, right? El Salvador isn't the biggest country in the world. How would you describe El Salvador in size for those who are joining us?
[00:18:05.470] - Luis Guardado
Well, I guess 7 million people, two millions living abroad, five millions living here in El Salvador. And it's a country that you can cross by in 3 hours by road. We only have 20,000 meters square, but we are hungry to serve. And we always have this big smile in gratitude.
[00:18:36.590] - PMO Joe
And what I think is important to recognize, right. It's a small country, but small in size does not mean small in contribution. And Lucho, you had talked about winning all of those awards for your PMO. But Sven, I believe some of the members of that PMO were graduates of business engineering from ESEN. Is this correct?
[00:19:02.610] - Sven Guzman
Yes, it is correct.
[00:19:04.320] - Luis Guardado
All of them.
[00:19:07.110] - PMO Joe
So let's add context to that, right? The best PMO in America's came from, I believe, the smallest country in the Americas. And members of that PMO were all graduates of the business engineering program from ESEN University.
[00:19:26.020] - Sven Guzman
Yes, that's correct.
[00:19:27.810] - Luis Guardado
Maybe Yvan, Camy or Ivy maybe can share this journey that allows us to have this type of blessing.
[00:19:38.610] - Ivette Torres
Yeah, actually, it's because we received the project management class in your last semester. So in this case, we know Lucho, I don't know, for the last semester of our career. And he focused on building his team with alumni. So in this case, we met him. For me, it happened that they had an opportunity in an opening in the company that Lucho and I am working, actually. So we started working together prior I graduate from University. So now it's been five years since we've been working together. And when I entered the team, I started working with Yvan and with Cammy that they were also working at the same team. So at the end, it's a big family that we have from different generations from our University.
[00:20:36.930] - PMO Joe
How about you, Yvan? What stories do you have to share about the program?
[00:20:42.330] - Yvan Cucalon
Actually, one of the top stories that I have is that up to this date, Lucho still gives me a hard time because I skipped most of his classes. So I remember that afterwards when I graduated from the University, I got a call from Lucho because he had this opportunity at one week. And he got the recommendation from a friend of mine that was currently working there. And I remember him telling a friend of mine that he didn't remember me from his classes. Now, how could he? I mean, I missed most of them. And it sounds funny because after, I don't know, three years, something like that, after I graduated, I helped them out in that same course with other students. And I remember seeing his material, looking at his classes and him teaching. And afterwards, I told Lucho, you're actually a very good teacher. And he just started laughing. He said, you would have known that if you would have paid attention during the classes. But it's also sad because I know that if I would have paid more attention and went more to the classes, I would have had a couple of more easier years when starting out working there at One link as a project manager.
[00:22:03.810] - PMO Joe
It looks like a guitar on the wall behind you. And Lucho, I know, loves music, so I'm sure you to hit it off over music as well.
[00:22:12.390] - Luis Guardado
[00:22:15.810] - Yvan Cucalon
It is your guitar, Lucho.
[00:22:19.170] - PMO Joe
Well, there's a coincidence for you, Camy. How about you?
[00:22:25.050] - Camila Maldonado
So when I was in my senior year, I wasn't sure what to do next, because as a business engineer, you learn so much about different areas as quality. At that time, we even have human resources, independent, and economics, and there were so many options. And I remember when I get to the senior year, I received this class with Lucho about project management. And I always thought about myself as not quite complete engineer, because pretty much everyone around me was very logical and very like this analytics and stuff. And I was more like into the people side. And when I met Lucho, he was like, hey, you can help people, and you can relate with people being an engineer. So after I graduated, I decided that I wanted to work in project management. And a few months after, Lucho called me, saying he had this opportunity in one link to start as a project manager. I started as a business engineer, sorry, as a business development project manager with Lucho. And it was a great opportunity for me because Lucho became my mentor for the following five years that I stayed in One link, and I was able to develop so many skills related to product management, some of them that I applied today, working as a senior consultant, more focusing the sales part of the BPO business, but definitely starting open me so many doors and gave me the opportunity to meet so many people.
[00:24:05.150] - Camila Maldonado
And one of them was Lucho, and he was invited to my wedding. Evie was my bridesmaid. I met my husband at school as well. So I think that was one of the best decision that I could have made. And as of now and then, being a professional, I applied all that knowledge every day. And I'm very happy to be here sharing with you and being still part of this wonderful family that we created with Lucho.
[00:24:33.150] - PMO Joe
That's fantastic. I mean, all of the connections you got more than just education. You got real life education there.
[00:24:42.690] - Camila Maldonado
[00:24:44.010] - PMO Joe
So, Sven, this is all fantastic. Obviously, we've got these students who are in business engineering, and they're getting project management training from Lucho and we're talking about this partnership with The PMO Leader. Explain from an ESEN perspective, right. From the University perspective as to what this partnership will mean for you and how we'll be able to work together.
[00:25:11.250] - Sven Guzman
Yes, of course. Well, we are always looking for partnership, partner with the best companies, the best teams, in order to prepare our students in order to have a very well alumni group, just some parentheses, for example. Lucho is pretty smart. He teaches the last year so he can take the best students and work with him. So that's one of his tactics being opportunistic. Well, our plan here will be to look for companies that can help our students to develop their best abilities. And we don't have thesis at the last year. Our senior students, what they do is they have several classes that are called project of engineering. And in those classes they go to companies and they have to solve a problem in those companies. So the focus is very hand made. You have a problem and solve it in the company and for the company. So we're always looking for companies to sign MOUs with us so the students can have different experiences. We have had projects with asylums, with restaurants, with hospitals, because the idea is to put an engineer in a different area, not in a typical area, not in a typical company, and try to apply those tools that they have in order to solve problems and what best with people in the company.
[00:27:00.340] - Sven Guzman
So that's what we are planning to do with The PMO Leader is to have a partnership, work together, have a long term relationship and to have our students experience to work in real problems. Right now we are working with Advanced Company in Seattle doing some virtual work, but they are solving some problems for them. So our students are used to do some overseas working, but now we are looking for the best companies and I think who best? And it's a PMO leader.
[00:27:36.830] - PMO Joe
Yeah. This is why it's so important for me, right. When I went to College, there were no programs for project management. Right. I didn't find out until several years into my professional career that project management was even a role. I didn't know it was a job, but when I did find it, I realized that's who I am, I'm just a project manager. Right. Some people are singers or some people are athletes. You're just born with a certain set of skills. Had I known that I was a project manager back in University, I could have been training myself at an earlier age to come out and have a more impactful career while I was younger. And we want to be able to now give back as The PMO Leader global community to students who recognize that they're in this program and then take companies from all around the world and say there is a talent pool of students at Essence that is available to work on these student consulting projects to come in and help your organization. And of course, there's the guidance of Lucho and Sven and the alumni that are part of this to be able to go there.
[00:28:49.840] - PMO Joe
But what an amazing opportunity for both the student and for the company to be able to come together and utilize these young, smart, energetic students to be able to solve problems and be able to make value. So we're super excited in The PMO Leader community to be able to partner with you and to be able to help these students fulfill their dream. Right. Of getting their education. But getting practical, real world experience, I think is really important. So thank you for the opportunity to partner with us and excited to see how that evolves and grows over time as we work together.
[00:29:26.800] - Sven Guzman
No, thank you because you are opening a lot of doors for us and also giving our students mentors so they can see how the mentors perform in the project management area that you are working right.
[00:29:42.870] - PMO Joe
And the other thing we're doing, of course, all memberships in The PMO Leader community are free, so we're strongly recommending every student in the program become a member of the community. And then they have access to all of those mentors, as you just mentioned, as well as the content and to participate in the events. So it's just a rich talent pool of people and content to bring those two things together to me has me very excited and super excited as well to announce that Lucho, my new good friend, that we've gotten to know each other so well. You're now joining The PMO Leader as a member of our board of advisors representing Latin America and South America. So I welcome you to the Board of Advisors as well. And thank you for all of your contributions.
[00:30:31.370] - Luis Guardado
Thank you, Joe. Thank you for the vote of trust and looking forward for all the upcoming adventures and next steps to give back to our communities in Latin America.
[00:30:43.610] - PMO Joe
Certainly. Now, Sven had mentioned a project with your company up in Seattle. Is that something that you can talk about or share with everybody or do you can speak to any of your own examples of your student projects that you had done with us?
[00:31:02.150] - Yvan Cucalon
No, of course. I actually had the opportunity to work on both sides as a tutor from ESEN, helping students with other projects in other companies. And also now I'm fortunate enough to have a couple of students working at the company that I work with. And we have a couple of different projects that we're running with them. So it's a marketing agency. It's based on Minnesota. And we have this project in which our day to day basis is helping our clients understand their customers need in a more quantifiable way. So we have the students that are very technical, very knowledge, and they can analyze information much faster than we normally can. So we have this big set of information that we need to make sense out of. So we have the students who have very critical eye. They're very detailed, driven that just start analyzing that data and start giving out conclusions of what they're seeing, the trends in customer needs, the customer wants willingness to pay. So it's getting that data, trying to analyze it and place it in a more visual and understandable way for our clients. That's what they've been helping us most of the time.
[00:32:22.950] - Yvan Cucalon
So I think it's very valuable both for us because we get the benefits of very qualified resources there. And they also get the experience of interacting with real life customers in multiple industries. We've run that process with more than twelve different product lines in six different industries. So we have that ability to share that knowledge, to share that expertise coming from multiple clients all over the States, in that case, so that they can grow and learn as well through this program.
[00:33:00.230] - PMO Joe
Again, that's a fantastic program. And I think back to my own company, The PMO Squad. Last year we had utilized Arizona State University and a similar program to be able to bring in some student consultants to help us. But they weren't project management minded, right? So we're a project management company, and we were utilizing smart kids that were trained and did a fantastic job for us. But it would have been nice as well to have people that were getting project management education at the same time and to be able to leverage that during that session where they were helping us. So it makes sense to me. We're all busy at work trying to do stuff right. And there's always things that we can't get to because we don't have enough time. And a program like this, then I would imagine, gives the company a chance to get things done that they may not have normally been able to. And the student, of course, gets the benefit from that as well.
[00:33:56.690] - Sven Guzman
Yes, of course, it's a win win relationship.
[00:34:00.110] - PMO Joe
So we've talked about all the different awards that the PMO has won, but that's not the only victories that have been happening. ESEN has had some other first place wins as well. Can you share about the simulation tournaments that they've taken top honors in?
[00:34:22.240] - Sven Guzman
Oh, yes. We participate every year in a simulation tournament that is sponsored by an American company located in Pittsburgh. They specialize in software simulation. For example, if you want to have a digital twin of your manufacturing company, you can do it with this software. And we teach simulation in our University for our engineers. And twice a year, this American company organized a tournament in order to solve a real problem for a worldwide company. All universities that have this software around the world can participate in this problem. And the interesting side is that participate undergraduate students like us but graduate students as well. So you are competing against someone that is studying a master or even a PhD. So it's a very competitive tournament. And we have won several times, I think, four times in the first place. And the last time we won was in December 2020, modeling a barbecue restaurant. The students had to reduce inventories of meat, long queues, unhappy customers. And of course, they have to improve the revenue of the company. It was a big restaurant, a chain restaurant. So they have to apply a lot of tools that they learn through the University.
[00:35:57.410] - Sven Guzman
In that tournament, there were more than 600 teams from 53 countries. And our students did an amazing job representing our country and our institution. And I think the four times that we have won in the first place is not because of me, it's not because of the University. It's because of the students and the professors that they have that they made an amazing job teaching our students. Our students are willing to give the facing a tournament to say, I am participating in this tournament, and I'm going to give my best for this. So we are very happy. And that's something that brings happy to the country that our country needs more good news.
[00:36:42.530] - PMO Joe
Yeah, that's fantastic. And so many different schools represented. What an amazing feat. And just take a Sidebar for 30 seconds if everybody will indulge me as we're talking about victories. My nephew Luke, I'm sure, is not listening to this program, but I want to acknowledge yesterday his team he plays baseball in College at Herkimer College in upstate New York, and they won the National Junior College Division Three World Series yesterday. So I want to say Congratulations to Luke and his team for taking home the title. So maybe not as impressive as beating 600 other universities, teams that are out there, but still nonetheless super exciting for him and his team members.
[00:37:30.770] - PMO Joe
Yeah, awesome. One thing I want to make sure that we talk about, Lucho, is obviously you're in El Salvador and it's a Spanish speaking country. So maybe other companies out there are thinking, hey, are these students going to be Spanish speaking? Am I going to be able to use English with them? But obviously, we have three students or former students with US alumni here, and they're all speaking English. What is the expectations for students regarding speaking English versus Spanish and being able to work with companies around the world?
[00:38:08.270] - Luis Guardado
Well, from ESEN perspective, Joe, have this be two achievement, this be two level of English. It's a mandatory requirement to graduate. I mean, from the business engineering perspective is a requirement be bilingual in certain level. But that's from the University perspective. But from my country perspective, there are a lot of opportunities in Latin that we can pursue. So at the end of the day, we need to think how to provide the best human capital, no matter it will be to serve Latin America or the States or Europe. But it is still constrained from our region that we are Spanish native speakers and most of the Academy. Regarding this topic, corporate strategy, portfolio management and program management is still only available in English. So part of this journey will include to create material in Spanish, to be able to create opportunities for the Spanish.
[00:39:29.070] - PMO Joe
Speakers and for all the alumni, student alumni that we have on Sven talked about that competition. I should have asked back then did any of the three of you compete in any of those tournaments? Were any of you involved in those?
[00:39:44.490] - Ivette Torres
Yeah, actually I remember participating and actually it was one of the projects that made me decide to go for a project management career. In this case, I remember participating not just in the competition, the simulation competition, but also in the different projects with different companies. Actually one of my projects was with the banking industry and the other one I remember that we traveled to a small town outside the Metropolitan area of San Salvador and we went to Cheese Factory that everything was manual. I mean that it was handmade. So you can see a lot of things from the banking Corporation to something that it has manual processes and you can apply all the knowledge that you received through the entire career and apply it to real issues and help the company. So not just the simulation part, but I remember it was a restaurant also, but also the other part that you can participate in projects with real companies.
[00:40:52.590] - PMO Joe
That's fantastic. Camy, how about you?
[00:40:57.810] - Camila Maldonado
Yes, I was also part of many projects. In his end, I was more focused in production and I remember our project was to optimize a line of production of this window factory. So it was very interesting and very focused in quality and statistics as well as project management since you have to meet all the deadlines and handle all these type of people. So it was a very fun project for me because Meanwhile I was studying that. It's not something that we used to do and in a sense since the workload is very high, so it was like taking some time off to experiment real life and real work environment with people and just going a little bit backwards. When you asked about people speaking in English, Healing Salvadors and bilingual labor force, is it something that is more like a cultural thing? Here in El Salvador you can find a lot of talent that is bilingual. And actually that's why we are one of the countries that have so many call centers here in Central America. Many of us work in call centers right now and more from a sales perspective, I can tell we have this offer because we have so related to the US culture as a traveler.
[00:42:31.270] - Camila Maldonado
We have all these famous chains of fast food and so many young talent that has been starting English as my case. And I know iPad as well. We started in school that teach you English since we are a little. So this is something that we can when we get to a thing, it's something that they ask us to perfectionate as we are graduating as professionals. It opens to you so many doors to all these international companies such as the one I'm working right now. And it definitely is something that complements your education as a professional.
[00:43:17.230] - PMO Joe
Yeah. Yvan, thank you.
[00:43:20.670] - Yvan Cucalon
Actually, I think in my year when we were graduating, it was actually the first time that we participated in that simulation tournament. So I remember we participated and we had to send this video introduction of ourselves. So we hadn't participated any time before. So we try to make it funny and jumping with music and everything. So remember, we sent that out. We participated, we had to optimize airport operations. So reducing queues, baggage, equipment, transportation within the airport. So we sent out our project built up with our video. And I remember viewing the award ceremony live and all of the different videos of the people who had participated. Very formal. Just. Hi, welcome. Thank you. Adam, Yvan. And we had music, we had everything. And it was very funny looking at that contrast between the participants. Unfortunately, I remember it was the first time that we got a third place. We didn't get the first one, we got a third one. But it was very fun. And yes, it's those opportunities that we get are truly competing against international students. I mean, worldwide. It's a true value once they're sitting there. Edison.
[00:44:47.890] - PMO Joe
Yeah. I can only imagine how fantastic that is for everybody. Lucho, let me ask. This is the second show you've been on. Ivy was on the first show. I'm just getting to meet Camy and Yvan as well for the first time. But I can see what Camy got out of her education beyond just the education. Right. Friendships and a husband. And Yvan's got your guitar on his wall. Help us understand El Salvadoran culture. You just all seem so friendly and outgoing and family oriented. Are you guys the norm or are you guys just outliers? I mean, what is the culture like there for us to really understand what it's like?
[00:45:36.570] - Luis Guardado
I would say yes, we are very people oriented. It's part of our nature. But also I need to say that this is not for everybody. So what we are building with what we have been building, it's a space where we can create this bonding as a family because the family take care of each other. And for me, if you can be the best friend first, you can't be any leader. So as Yvan said.
[00:46:16.420] - Luis Guardado
He wasn't the he best student, but you can feel his heart. And Yvan has a reason for not well attending for the lectures. He was working hard, working hard to take care of his family. So I saw that things I don't know, I can smell good hearts in these energetic professionals. So the best combination for me is a good heart with the right amount of energy. So we have been working under this model for almost ten years and it works. And this is not a formula, it's the way we are and it's the only way that we know on how to handle people emotions, friendship and family. So I would say most of the Salvadorians have these people skills that at the end of the day it's only an option. It's not for everybody. If you can be part of the family, you can be well, you can share the spirit with us. But if not, it's okay. It's just an option. It's the option that we value the most.
[00:47:41.790] - PMO Joe
Yeah. And it comes across so genuine when you see that it's real and not forced. Right. And that's what's been fantastic getting to know you and everybody you've always brought with you. I guess the follow up question for me on that is now taking that to a professional perspective with project management and you've had such success in different awards that you've won. But how is project management within Latin America? Is it evolved to the point where it's now accepted and it's getting the attention that it needs or is there more attention that's needed on project management and PMOs in Latin America? I know it's hard to give a regional perspective but what's your thoughts related to that?
[00:48:29.790] - Luis Guardado
Well, I will love to because I have my own testimony but the best testimony is when you fill the street the real thing. So Camy Yvette and Yvan, you have been part of this journey and you have been learning and identifying how the professionist categorites within all the professional offers. I would love to share your thoughts about how do you see the profession and then I can jump in because my appreciation comes from almost 15 years ago. But maybe I have an idiom coming.
[00:49:17.670] - Camila Maldonado
Maybe I can just give a contribution here. And from my perspective, I think people is getting surprised of what are they finding in Latin America. The Solutions Team in Telos was originally just located in the US and when I start working with them is because they decided they will give Central American opportunity to see if they can find a talent. So my position was open in Guatemala, in El Salvador and I was picked as the senior consultant to support the global sales team everywhere we are in EMEA, APAC, Americas. So I have the opportunity to interact with so many people and these Salvadorian skills of being so warm and welcoming with people open you so many doors and you are really able to engage in knowing about all these different cultures. So given the success finding talent in the Solutions team, they are not opening new job positions in El Salvador in Guatemala. And we're looking to expand our team in the region because they realize there's a lot of talent. There's a pool of people, bilingual, people with great knowledge, with great experience in so many industries, always able and willing to work. So it's not that you have the experience, you have the knowledge, but you have the attitude to learn more and to work with other people in the world.
[00:50:55.550] - Camila Maldonado
So I think right now the market is looking very attractive, not just for local companies but for many other companies around the world that have started recruiting and expanding teams here in Central America.
[00:51:13.810] - Ivette Torres
Yeah. And also contributing with what Camyla was mentioning is that with this project management award that we won last year actually open another region's doors. So, for example, for us, it's like they are really interested in what is behind the success of a company, and they are realizing that it's not just a methodology, but it's the way you implement that methodology in the different industries. So in the BPO industry, you can work with other companies and you cannot get to understand what is the methodology or what is the industry behind those companies. So when they met El Salvador and when they see what is their El Salvador results, you realize that what we have been working on is a project management methodology base that now it expands to other industries. So they are seeing the value that that methodology brings to other companies and not just the BPO market or not just the industries that have been trusting the PMO from Deer.
[00:52:31.210] - PMO Joe
Yeah, absolutely. It completely makes sense.
[00:52:35.710] - Yvan Cucalon
And in my case, I would like to answer in two parts. So first one is my current company we actually started, and we only had one Salvadorian team member in the company. That was about a year and a half ago. Nowadays we have not that big of a company, but we have six more Salvadorian professionals working within that company. So I think it's a testament of how well Salvatorian professionals are working with external companies. And the other one is that there's also a very big part of in terms of education that comes from us as project managers outside to the people, to the teams with which we work. Because when I started in my previous job with Lucille, the PMO was very young. I mean, the company was young as well. I think it was only operating about a year and a half before I joined the team. And I remember that we had this process in which we had to teach all of the different team members what our actual roles were. So I remember the first thing. Most of the people just thought that we were the guys who scheduled the meetings, and that was it.
[00:53:50.380] - Yvan Cucalon
I mean, whenever either Operations or It or anyone needed a meeting with someone else, they just called us and said, hey, can you book a meeting with these guys, okay? We're the guys who schedule meetings. Then we grew a little bit, and we're the guys who took notes in the sessions. So we were the guys who took all the notes. We sent out all of the meeting minutes and everything. Then we got a big update. So we were the guys who knew where everything stood. So if they wanted to know how the project was doing, they wanted to know about certain stuff. They knew that they could ask us and we would know the answer for each one of the projects that we were handling. Then we became the guys who just gave them tasks. We were putting pressure and assigning to dos and making them work. And they started saying, oh, there comes the PM. I have more work to do. But then we got that final upgrade and comes from medication as well. We became the guys who made stuff happen. So whenever they had a new project that they wanted to succeed, they wanted it to be successful, they reached out to us.
[00:54:55.780] - Yvan Cucalon
So it's that component of also education towards within that company that also helps out, because this was a couple of years ago, and I trust nowadays in that company, I mean, everyone knows what the role of a PM is based on what.
[00:55:21.110] - PMO Joe
Three fantastic stories from three alumni of the ESEN program and Sven as Dean of the business engineering students and how proud you must be to know that your program is producing these amazing professionals and the impact they're making out there in the world.
[00:55:39.950] - Sven Guzman
Yes. Our provost said that our alumni are like our families. We are very proud of their achievements. We are very proud of Camila, Ivetter, Yvan, how they have advanced, how I see them as pioneers. They are walking through paths where there is no path, and they are opening doors for other business engineering students that come behind them. So we are very proud of them.
[00:56:10.010] - PMO Joe
And I'm very proud to be working in this partnership with your University to be part of this journey and helping these students become great professionals. One thing I don't think we mentioned, and I know we're getting short on time, though, is how many students are in the business engineering program because companies may be saying, hey, I want to get some of these amazing students to come help us. How many students are in the program to be able to have out there and be available?
[00:56:39.890] - Sven Guzman
Right now, we have 350 students in total. So we are very scarce, high talented people.
[00:56:50.690] - PMO Joe
Absolutely. Well, again, for everybody that's been on your University, the program, the work that Lucho's led, from the PMO perspective, there's just success written all over that, right? I mean, the success from a personal perspective, the family type mindset that you have together, the University to help produce young professionals that can perform at such a high level. And then, of course, within the profession, itself to win the number one award in the industry or the best PMO in America's. Fantastic job for Lucho and all of you to be able to accomplish that. So I thank you all for joining us today. I will just give Lucho and spend a moment here. If you guys can say, how can people get in touch with you if they want to learn more and connect with you?
[00:57:45.290] - Luis Guardado
Well, we're just about to create a Center of Excellence and community. But meantime, you can reach out through LinkedIn and also directly with the same if you want to be part of these communities, this long term plan and strategy more than welcome.
[00:58:05.630] - PMO Joe
Awesome. Thank you. Lucho, my friend, it's always great to connect with you and spend what's the best way to connect with you as well?
[00:58:12.950] - Sven Guzman
But with me, with linking and you can email me at my office email. I can do that for you. And if you want to do some projects, you can contact Joe. And Joe is the gatekeeper. And we're going to work together in this and more projects.
[00:58:35.810] - PMO Joe
Yes, absolutely. I'm looking forward to all of that. Thank you all for joining us. Yvan, Ivy, and Cammy as well. Thank you so much for being a part of this. And best of luck as you continue your amazing careers that you're just at the beginning of. And we'll keep getting you back involved on all of this stuff as well, because I want to hear the story, the journey as it goes forward, and then you become Lucho. Right. And you have students coming to you and you're working with them because that's the journey we're all on. Right. It's giving back to those who come after us.
[00:59:08.270] - Luis Guardado
They are way better. I always said to them the same thing.
[00:59:13.970] - PMO Joe
So thank you also to all of our listeners. Right. If we didn't have listeners, we wouldn't have a show. And certainly I want to thank them all for joining us. Also, be sure to go out and visit The PMO Squad website, hit /podcast and all 103 former episodes will be listed there. This one will be up next week and our schedule for the remainder of the year. I think we only have one or two open dates between now and the end of December. We have some amazing guests coming up. I've talked about it for several weeks, and I wasn't sure if Mariia Abdulina would be joining me live from Ukraine. And we have confirmation that Mariia will be joining me live from Ukraine in two weeks, along with two of her PMO members. And we're going to talk about project management and PMOs during the middle of a war and what that is like for the people of Ukraine. So I strongly encourage everybody to join us for that episode. That's going to be something special that I know I'll never forget and I think will be amazing for our industry to be able to hear the impact that she's having over there.
[01:00:21.950] - PMO Joe
Also, we've got coming up, The Smart PM, Melissa McDonald will be joining us, Konstantin Riebel and Robert Briese joining from Germany, Mayte Sievera, TrackVia is going to come back and talk about the citizen developer program with PMI, Dr. Robert Joslin will be joining, Suzanne Davenport, KeyedIn one of the leading PPM solutions out there. They're going to come talk about their tool, Chris Sprague, Sanjiv Augustine. Just an all star lineup of guests that are coming up over the course of the year. So we're super excited for that. So as you know, we're live show, but we do record these so please subscribe to Project Management Office hours. The podcast out on Apple podcast, Google iHeartRadio Spotify Spreaker whatever your platform of choices and thank you to our sponsors, The PMO Squad and The PMO Leader. We are super excited at The PMO Leader to welcome ESEN in as a partner and Lucho to our Advisory Board. So that's it for now, Office Hours are closed. Until next time, I'm PMO Joe and you've been listening to project management office hours.
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