Meet Martina, our Project Manager
Meet Martina, our Project Manager with exceptional organisational skills working on various health projects and internal RISE processes. Her background in management, marketing and project management enables her to approach tasks from different perspectives. In this interview, she told us more about her responsibilities and how she manages large consortiums to meet the set deadlines.
What does a typical workday look like for you as a Project Manager at RISE?
As I am involved in three Horizon Europe projects and simultaneously working on many internal projects, every day is different for me. My typical workday starts with reviewing project deadlines, sending reminders, setting priorities for the day/week/month and planning tasks. The number of meetings varies per week, but there are usually 5-13 meetings per week that I need to prepare for or organise. What makes this meeting load easier to handle is one day in a week when I have no meetings. Usually, that is Thursday and it enables me to have a day for deep work on different deliverables.
What is your area of expertise and current responsibilities?
My background is in management, marketing, and project management. Before my current role, I was a part of an esports start-up. The diversity of my previous experience helps me to see current challenges in a different light and propose different solutions. I am currently leading two active HEU (Horizon Europe funded projects) – REDDIE and IMMEDIATE and preparing for a third one that will start in January called VOICE. In addition to that, I help our Innovation Managers with proposal writing and work on different internal transformation projects.
What are the biggest obstacles a Project manager can face in day-to-day activities whilst managing a project?
Your personal priorities are usually not aligned with somebody else’s priorities. This means that while managing expectations for project partners, you also need to manage your own expectations – plan longer deadlines, plan more reminders, build more trust and connections with partners and stay consistent in the standard you want to achieve.
Could you tell us about a current project you're working on at RISE and how it contributes to RISE's goal of promoting innovation and making a positive impact in society?
VOICE is a project dear to my heart since I was also involved in its proposal writing. The key objective here is to empower artists to use their skills to empower citizens on the topics of ecology, sustainability, and innovation. CSA (Coordination and Support Actions projects) are a great way to make a more tangible and heartwarming impact, and I am happy that we had the opportunity to participate in more CSA projects recently.
In your opinion, what are the most important qualities or skills that a successful project manager should possess? How do you continually develop and enhance these skills?
With the usual soft skills that can be helpful, such as communication, listening, and problem-solving, the three skills I would single out are the ability to manage risk, conflict resolution and adaptability. All three develop with time and experience but can also improve with various trainings. Personally, I love to learn new things and acquire new certifications, so I always stay in the loop of the ever-changing world we live in.
What do you like the most about your job and working at RISE?
What I like the most about my job is the opportunity to innovate, continuously learn and create a long-term impact with various EU projects. An added bonus is working with talented project partners and hearing their different points of view, giving me a new perspective on various topics. RISE, as a new EURICE subsidiary, is an exciting opportunity to showcase scientific talents from our region and help make even more impactful projects happen. Working towards that goal, with such a great, diverse team is a daily inspiration.
How do you create an environment of collaboration in your projects?
Building trust and understanding through active listening and setting expectations about responsibilities are the key pillars of setting up good collaboration project principles. All strong words to say and even more difficult to execute. It takes time, persistence and additional effort, but when scaled well enough, they can make a project more successful and enjoyable for all involved.