“…..SWOOP just goes in and totally transforms whatever they’re working on….70 women will descend on a property, and it’s transformation, what happens.”
“…It’s like we just swoop in and when we leave, everything is dramatically different.”
Those words come from two women who are part of a Raleigh, N.C. organization called SWOOP: Strong Women Organizing Outrageous Projects. Does this sound like a group of women you’d like to know? Greater IBMer Julie Shore thinks so: an IBMer for 30 years, Julie has served her community as a member of SWOOP for 17 now.
Julie sat down with The Greater IBM Connection to share with us her story, and what it’s meant to her to be a part of SWOOP.
The Greater IBM Connection: How long have you worked at IBM?
Julie Shore: More than 30 years.
GIBM: What is your role today, and what are some other positions you’ve held?
I’m in channel marketing in STG, working with independent software vendors (ISVs) to help them develop for, use and recommend IBM systems to their clients. I’ve also served a variety of roles in channel marketing in SWG, managing various marketing and certification programs and driving channel enablement for direct and indirect sellers.
GIBM: What does your typical day involve – what are some of the responsibilities of your role?
I’m now driving launch activities related to all indirect channels. So my days are filled with keeping track and pushing progress with all aspects of launch preparation from the perspective of reseller, ISV and SI marketing teams.
GIBM: Tell us about your volunteering with SWOOP. How do you contribute?
I’ve volunteered with SWOOP since its founding in 1996. We have two key focus areas. SWOOPin’ Saturdays are once-a-month workdays where we help agencies and individuals with large-scale, short-term projects, such as building playgrounds for at-risk kids, renovating a house for someone in a wheelchair, or painting low-income housing units.
SWOOPers in action: a ramp project in progress (Photo courtesy Julie Shore)
I’m often a team leader on carpentry projects, and help with whatever else needs to be done when carpentry is not involved.
The other key focus is our “Ramp It Up!” initiative, which provides wheelchair ramps for people with urgent needs. We work with agencies to identify the projects. We design and build wooden ramps, and also install removable aluminum ramps for shorter-term requirements. Our executive director is also an architect and general contractor, so SWOOP brings design and construction expertise that agencies might not otherwise be able to access affordably.
It’s easy to sign up for either or both aspects through our Web site, http://swoop4u.org.
GIBM: How did SWOOP get started, and how did you become involved?
A couple of friends had lots of trees down from Hurricane Fran in 1996. After cleaning up their own yards, they helped some friends do the same. It occurred to them that a team of people could accomplish more than just one or two working independently, so the growing group started showing up at the houses of other friends – in fact, my house was SWOOPed in that crazy week after Fran, so I’ve been involved nearly from the beginning.
Over time it got more organized, got an official name (Strong Women Organizing Outrageous Projects) and logo, and was accorded 501(C)(3) nonprofit status in 2001. We now have approximately 1,400 people on the membership roles.
GIBM: What is the most rewarding aspect of volunteering for you?
Going home with a great sense of accomplishment, and in awe of people’s ability to deal with challenges and crises of everyday life. I also enjoy the camaraderie among SWOOPers, and I always learn a ton and laugh a lot.
GIBM: Raleigh has a large IBM campus – are there other IBMers/Greater IBMers involved with SWOOP?
Yes, I know several IBMers who are current or past SWOOPers – Molly Walters, Sandy Campbell, Holly Tallon Hilbrands and Betty Lynch are some of the local IBMers who are active in SWOOP. We’re on the local and national approved agency lists for the IBM Employees Charitable Contribution Campaign.
GIBM: Tell us how you use The Greater IBM Connection: what do you get out of it personally?
I access it through LinkedIn. Mostly I look at the summary e-mails and follow links to interesting or relevant discussions.
GIBM: You mentioned that you’re retiring by the end of this year. What do you plan to do with the extra time?
Not sure yet. I’m considering several possibilities.
GIBM: Do you plan to stay connected with your IBM friends and colleagues?
GIBM: What else do you do with your spare time?
Golf and woodworking are my outside-of-work passions.
GIBM: What does the future hold for you and what are you most looking forward to?
I want to finish my IBM career with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, and go forward from there.
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