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Q&A with Julie Junio de Castro

Updated: Apr 29

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Julie Junio de Castro, CEO & Founder @ DeeCee Project Management Consultancy


Career Path and Challenges: 

Can you share your journey in the project management field? How did you navigate the challenges commonly faced by women in this profession? 


Transitioning into project management from chemical engineering/technical sales during the pandemic in 2020 marked a significant shift in my career trajectory. After moving to Dubai 18 years ago, I initially worked in the oil & gas industry, I took a break in 2017 to focus on my family. Realizing my potential for growth led me to step into project management, where I could use my analytical skills and systematic approach in new ways.

 

Navigating the challenges of entering a new field as a woman during a global crisis involved a very steep learning curve. Establishing credibility was tough, especially with less formal experience than my peers. I overcame this by acquiring specialized knowledge and certifications in project management, which equipped me to effectively manage projects and my team. 


Additionally, asserting my voice in male-dominated meetings, in a city rich in diversity with various nationalities, it was truly a roller coaster ride. I tackled this by thoroughly preparing for each meeting and presenting my ideas clearly and confidently, earning respect and a valued place on project teams. 


Networking within professional communities like PMI was a key strategy that supported my transition. It provided mentorship and connected me with peers who offered guidance and opportunities crucial for my growth. These networks and learning were indeed invaluable in directing the technical and interpersonal dynamics of my new role, as the CEO of DeeCee Project Management Consultancy 

 

Skills and Leadership: 

From your experience, what unique skills do you believe women bring to project management roles that enhance team dynamics and project outcomes? 


 In my journey from being an employee as a chemical engineer to project management and eventually to my current role as CEO, I've observed several unique skills that women often bring to project management that significantly enhance both team dynamics and project outcomes.

 

Firstly, empathy stands out as a critical skill. Women tend to excel in understanding and addressing the emotional and interpersonal aspects of team interactions, which can lead to more cohesive and motivated teams. This empathy drives a more inclusive leadership style, fostering an environment where all team members feel heard and valued, which is very important for collaborative problem-solving and innovation.

 

Women often bring a high level of emotional intelligence to their roles. This ability to read the room and adjust communication styles to meet various needs and personalities within a team can lead to more effective and nuanced management of both people and projects. 


I'm proud to say that women, in general, are multitasking and adaptable. We know how to balance professional and personal life roles—such as motherhood—it allows us to efficiently manage complex and often overlapping demands of project management. This agility is particularly beneficial in dynamic project environments where priorities frequently shift.

 

Lastly, attention to detail is another area where women frequently excel. This skill ensures that projects not only meet but often exceed stakeholder expectations in terms of deliverables, timelines, and budget compliance. 


These attributes contribute to a well-rounded project management approach, enhancing team performance and leading to more successful project outcomes 


Diversity and Inclusion: 

In your view, how important is diversity in project management teams, and what steps can organizations take to foster an inclusive environment that empowers women? 


 Diversity in project management teams is extremely important because it brings different perspectives and ideas, which leads to better problem-solving and more successful projects. To create a welcoming environment that supports women, organizations can take several key actions.


First, setting up mentorship programs to help women advance in their careers by learning from experienced leaders. Second, offering flexible work schedules can make it easier for women who balance work with family responsibilities. Third, training sessions to address and reduce unconscious bias can help create a fairer workplace.


Lastly, companies should ensure their hiring and promotion practices are fair, giving everyone an equal chance to succeed. For me, these steps not only promote diversity but also build a more productive and innovative workplace. When everyone feels supported and valued, the whole organization benefits and becomes more successful. 

 

Industry Trends and Future Outlook: 

Based on your experience, how has the role of women in project management evolved over the years, and what trends do you foresee shaping the future of women in this field? 


Over the years, the role of women in project management has changed a lot. Women have moved from having minor roles to taking on leadership positions. This change is part of a bigger movement towards gender equality and acknowledges the valuable skills and perspectives women bring to the field. Looking ahead, a few trends seem likely to shape the future for women in project management.


More support through mentorship and professional networks will help women advance in their careers. Also, the increase in remote work could offer more flexibility, making it easier to balance work and personal life. Lastly, as companies continue to see the benefits of having diverse teams, they'll likely keep pushing for more inclusion 

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