In 2008, a small team of volunteers launched the PMO Symposium, as a small 150 person gathering of people interested in PMO topics. This evergrowing event has shaped the PMO space for the past five year, and 2 weeks ago, the annual event just concluded in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, with over 500 attendees. This year saw 3 areas of focus: managing change (which aligns with the new "Stakeholder Management" knowledge area that will be introduced in the next PMBOK®); include all aspects of the value stream (i.e. the "Program Management" component of the PMO); and enable innovation and creativity (i.e. the "Portfolio Management" component of the PMO, which also aligns with the soon to come PMI® certification).
This year, we also included an element of social responsibility, providing participants with the opportunity to give back to the community by supporting the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada, a non-profit support group for families of children with cancer. The Candlelighter's Foundation provides support, education, hope and advocacy through programs and services for children with cancer, their families and the professionals who care for them. It also alleviates the isolation many families feel at the time their child is diagnosed, offers love, care, encouragement, and understanding so that nobody need face alone the uncertain world of childhood cancer. Symposium attendees prepared more than a hundred diagnosis bags with personal notes of encouragement to be distributed to children arriving for their first treatment. This contribution came just in time to help make a special Christmas for the Candlelighters families and make a difference in the life of children with cancer.