It’s no secret that project management has been male-dominated for several years, but what may be unknown to most is that Asya Watkins is gradually changing that narrative. Watkins is the CEO and founder of Women of Project Management (WOPM), an organization designed to empower women and women of color in the project management space. The organization works to amplify women’s voices in the industry by providing resources and support as they continue to advance in the field. Last year, Watkins hosted the second annual ‘The Women of Project Management Conference’, in which attendees convened over three days to hear from experts and thought leaders in the project management space. While Watkins continuously uses WOPM as a platform to uplift women in this industry, the organization was born out of her desire for a space that affirms her unique experiences as a Black woman in the field.


“My journey in the project management industry began unexpectedly; initially aspiring to be a Pharmacist, I realized it wasn’t the right fit and transitioned into an IT project coordinator role. This shift revealed that project management was more than a career—it became a source of gratitude for the opportunities, challenges, and successes it brought into my life. In my professional journey, I frequently found myself feeling like the only Black woman in certain spaces. I longed for a supportive space that embraced my unique career path and perspective as a black woman, but I couldn’t find it, so I created it with Women Of Project Management in 2012. Acknowledging the profound impact of diversity in this field, I aimed to construct a community where women of color, similar to myself, could witness their success in the industry. I envisioned a nurturing haven, ensuring that women like me would feel supported and welcomed, providing a comforting space for them to thrive and be acknowledged.”

In 2022, WOPM celebrated its 10th anniversary, and its positive impact is showcased through the structure of the membership in which Watkins and her team work alongside members. Watkins feels that the true essence of the space is to assist women in their professional journeys and provide a platform that celebrates them as well.

“Each day, we walk alongside our members to demystify the career journey. Women in the industry face hurdles regularly. The real mission of Women Of Project Management is to provide a space that supports women in their career evolution and navigate these hurdles while understanding and uplifting their unique perspectives. Professionals can become members and attend our conference and workshop events. But we offer more than that: we provide salary insights and negotiation techniques so our community can advocate for themselves and earn their worth. We also have other professional development support like resume and CV feedback. It’s inspiring and motivating to see women at different stages of their career journey grow and develop as project professionals.”

“Before I founded Women Of Project Management, I was already a member of The Project Management Institute (PMI), and I later earned my Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification in 2014. PMI gave me an instant, supportive community, foundational skills, and the opportunity to give back as a chapter volunteer. Now, through Women Of Project Management, we have built an entire supportive community dedicated to educating, enhancing, and empowering women and women of color. Through our strategic partnership with PMI, we can enhance our reach and enable more women in the profession to gain exposure and support in their careers.”

As gender diversity within project management is a significant goal for Watkins, she feels the first step to ensure that is providing access.

“We need to help women and women of color further their career evolution. Whether they’re deciding if a career as a project manager is the right move for them or if they’re ready to double down on project management and make waves in the industry, they need access to as many opportunities to learn and keep learning – whether it’s masterclasses, workshops, or events. Our goal is to help them learn and stay on top of their game in the project management field – because this is an industry that keeps changing. Our partnership with PMI is providing female project managers with access to more opportunities on a larger scale. I’ve witnessed the power of connecting with peers from all industries, experience levels, and walks of life.”