Chris Pope of Air New Zealand: Church organiser to ICT leader

“You need to know how to lead people and communicate effectively…technical skills will only get you so far,” says Chris Pope, PMO manager at Air New Zealand.

Chris Pope, PMO manager, Group IT at Air New Zealand, says his career ascent has been “generally in an upward direction”, but it was not like climbing a ladder. It was, he smiles, more like a jungle gym, “with some interesting twists and turns”.

Pope moved to New Zealand with his Kiwi wife after establishing a career in project management in the United States. But it was his background outside technology, specifically the communication and people skills, that got him into the information technology arena.

Pope completed a BA in communication at the University of Central Florida and a Masters in Theology and Christian ministry at the Regent University in the US.

“I learned small group facilitation while leading Bible studies. I learned the basics of matrix management by leading volunteers

Chris Pope, Air New Zealand

“I found that I had a knack for organising things,” he says when he started working in various local churches in Florida as volunteer and organiser. He also honed his people skills during this time.

“I learned small group facilitation while leading Bible studies with teenagers. I learned the basics of matrix management by leading volunteers – just like your project team, you must motivate apart from line-management authority. In ministry I developed my public speaking skills and style that I use when speaking at conferences and training sessions to this day.”

Next: Summer job in Cairo leads to IT career

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Tags project managementcommunication skillsAir New Zealandexecutive educationchris popeUS Agency for International DevelopmentUSAID

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