New Online Store for IBM Alumni and Retirees!

IBM alumni and retirees: get savings of up to 25% on laptops, desktops, monitors, and parts and accessories

The IBM Certified Pre-owned Equipment team, a division of IBM Global Financing, is pleased to announce its new online store for IBM alumni and retirees.

If you’re an IBM alumnus or an IBM retiree, you can enjoy significant savings of up to 25% off regular online prices on a wide selection of laptops, desktops, monitors, and other parts and accessories.

The new site offers products from vendors including Apple, Lenovo, HP, and more. In addition, free standard shipping and free one year extended product warranties are offered standard with all purchases. Get fully refurbished PCs at a fraction of the cost of buying new.

Visit the site now


Let us know what you think of the new site, Greater IBM!

- Posted by Regan Kelly

Infographic: How to Identify an IBMer

What do you think, IBM alumni? Which is the giveaway?

is this person an ibmer

(Cartoon by IBM’s Jessica W. Ramirez,  user experience designer. Check out what Jessica has to say on her personal blog.)


- Posted by Regan Kelly

Greater IBMer Julie Shore: A Volunteer SWOOPer

“…..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 Shore

Julie Shore

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.

A SWOOP ramp project in progress (Photo courtesy Julie Shore)

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,

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.

swooplogoOver 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.


More from SWOOP – Project videos:


Know a Greater IBMer with a story to share, or want to share your own? Email us at and tell us your story.

Greater IBMer Renee Weisman on What Makes a Great Boss

In this article from her site, Greater IBMer, engineer and author Renee Weisman talks about what characterizes a truly great manager.

renee cover

Renee Weisman giving a lecture

“In my 40+ year career,” she writes, “I have had a number of supervisors and I have to agree, I was considerably more productive, creative and energized under certain managers. And there were a handful who made going to work every day a drag. What made the difference?”

Get her list of the key distinctions between the GREAT bosses and …the rest.


More from this author:

Women Who Want to Succeed? Quit Doing These 5 Things

Hate to Brag? How to Self-Promote to Advance Your Career

Follow Renee on Twitter

Renee’s site

Buy the book: Winning in a Man’s World: Advice for Women Who Want to Succeed and the Men Who Work with Them 

- Posted by Regan Kelly, Editor/Community Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

Announcing IBM Alumni India LinkedIn Group

The Greater IBM Connection and the IBM India team are pleased to announce the launch of the new India LinkedIn group of our community. We’re starting this group as a way for our community of Greater IBMers to interact and network with community members in India.

To do this, we’ve partnered with an IBM social business team in India, led by Khalid Raza.

To join the India group sub-community: 

  • You must first join the global Greater IBM Connection community here.
  • Then request to join the India Alumni group here.
  • Note: You must provide accurate information about your IBM employment on your profile so that your membership can be approved for both groups.

Thank you for your interest, and we look forward to you joining today!


– Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

Infographic: Patent Ideas, by IBMer Jessica Ramirez

What do you think, IBM alumni? (Cartoon by IBM’s Jessica W. Ramirez,  a user experience designer. Check out what Jessica has to say on her personal blog.)

not patents
























IBMblr: Marking 20 Years of Patent Leadership

20 Years of Patents


- Posted by Regan Kelly

The Face of Innovation: Meet IBM Distinguished Engineer Anna Topol

Dr. Anna Topol, CTO, Energy and Utilities, IBM

Dr. Topol, CTO, Energy and Utilities, IBM

IBM last week christened a new generation of technology innovators, naming 66 new Distinguished Engineers from across the company.

The rank of Distinguished Engineer recognizes people for their outstanding technical accomplishments and their potential for breaking new ground in areas like cloud and mobile computing, Big Data analytics, social business, and many more.

This year’s new Distinguished Engineers include Dr. Anna Topol, IBM’s Chief Technology Officer for the Energy and Utilities sector. A native of Poland and mother of two, Topol holds a doctorate in physics and has earned nearly two dozen patents. She joined IBM in 2001.

Read the interview conducted by The Smarter Planet editorial team with Distinguished Engineer Dr. Anna Topol.



A Smarter Planet blog

Posted by Regan Kelly

Need a Career Pivot? Read Greater IBMer Marc Miller’s New Book

Marc Miller

by Regan Kelly, Editor/Community Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

If anybody knows about pivoting in your career, it’s Greater IBMer Marc Miller, of Austin, Texas. He’s written a new book – “Repurpose Your Career” –  so that baby boomers and others can learn from the twists and turns of his long professional life (and his many  distinct careers). Miller has managed a help desk for mechanical engineers, worked as an IT architect, trained salespeople for IBM’s first UNIX product, taught high school, and more.

So it’s fitting that when he started his own business, he called it Career Pivot and developed a book advancing similar concepts. Read more about Mr. Miller, his days at IBM, his work today, and what you need to know about his new book. 

Marc Miller's new offering

Marc Miller’s new offering, available now

The Greater IBM Connection: When did you work for IBM and in what capacity?

Marc Miller: I started with IBM Austin in 1978 as a programmer working on word processors. I stayed in Austin for my entire career, and left in January of 2000.

The Greater IBM Connection:  What was your role and what were some of your responsibilities?

Marc Miller: I wandered around a lot; I was an assembly language programmer for word processors; I was in an office eight hours a day with a coding pad,  UGH!! This was before the IBM PC came to be.

I then went into testing, managed a help desk for mechanical engineers CAD/CAM, trained the first 1000 system engineers and salespeople for IBM’s first real UNIX product (RS/6000), presented IBM product plans in the AIX briefing center, spent a year in IBM Global Services as an IT architect, and finished up in AIX marketing.

The Greater IBM Connection: Why did you decide to leave IBM? Any regrets about that decision? 

Marc Miller: After a lot of soul searching, I decided I wanted to go back to training, but  I could not do that with IBM in Austin, so I went to work for Agere Inc., where I worked directly for one of the two company founders developing a training program.

In the first eight months, I designed and produced a two-hour seat time training CD that got rave reviews – I was hooked.

The Greater IBM Connection: Are you still connected with your former IBM colleagues? 

Marc Miller: For five to ten years or so, I lost touch with a lot of my IBM friends. In the last few years, however, I have had many IBM friends reconnect for a variety of reasons. Some are retiring and looking to network. Some have reconnected via social media.

The Greater IBM Connection: Tell us about your job today. What is your role and what does it involve?

Marc Miller: In 2002, I had a near fatal bicycle accident. I had a head-on collision with an automobile where our combined speeds exceeded 50 mph. I miraculously lived with only few broken bones. I was back on a bicycle in 10 weeks and wondering why I lived. I volunteered to be laid off in 2003 and went off to teach high school math.

To make a long story short, I left teaching after a couple of years, did non-profit fundraising, and later was pulled into another startup in late 2007. I rode out both recessions in successful startups, but during that time I had a lot of friends who were being wiped out financially.

By the time I left the corporate world in early 2011, I had developed a lot of skills that my employers wanted me to acquire. I just did not want to use them anymore: I wanted to do what I wanted to do.

When I started my business Career Pivot in 2011, I was starting my 7th career, very unusual for someone of the baby boomer generation.

My mission is to guide baby boomers through today’s constantly changing career world. I am not a career coach, but rather a career trainer and designer. I train people to design their own careers. I focus on baby boomers and older Gen Xers who either cannot or don’t want to retire.

The Greater IBM Connection: What was the impetus for your writing a book?

Marc Miller: Most baby boomers were raised to be employees and to work for father-like companies that it was expected would take care of us. We all know that world does not exist anymore.

Most boomers made career decisions when opportunities appeared – in other words, we reacted. Now, however, we are in a referral economy and you can no longer react but you must be proactive.

The book is meant to be something like a cookbook. Though it doesn’t use cookbook language, it does contain recipes for career change. Of course, recipes are meant to be modified and seasoned to taste.

The Greater IBM Connection: What was the writing process like? What was it like working with a second writer?

Marc Miller: In 2011 I was introduced to Susan Lahey, who is a former journalist and was building a writing business in Austin. Susan is very good at writing in my voice. Our first collaboration was a white paper titled Don’t Retire Even if You Can – A Baby Boomer Manifesto. It’s available here.

In June of 2011, I started blogging three to four times a week, generating a lot of content. Based on feedback from my readership, I started writing in very long series (30-40 post sequences). I was writing about strategies in career management and job search.

Susan and I collaborated on the book, and its content mostly came from either from the manifesto or the blog.

The Greater IBM Connection: How has the book been received so far?

Marc Miller: I sent pre-release copies to many career professional around the country to get feedback. The response has been incredibly good. When people give me great feedback, it is very fulfilling.

The Greater IBM Connection: What do you do in your spare time?

Marc Miller: It may surprise you that I still bicycle. In addition, I am currently part of the Leadership Austin Essentials Class. I also have served on the board of directors of Launch Pad Job Club, the largest job support group in Central Texas, for the last six years.

The Greater IBM Connection: Is there another book in your future?  If so, what might its subject be?

Marc Miller: The next book will be The Cure for Career Insanity, which will accompany my webinar series to launch in 2013.

We will put out a second edition of Repurpose Your Career in January of 2014, with more real-life stories from my clients.

The Greater IBM Connection: What’s the best way for readers to buy your book?

Marc Miller: Amazon is the place to go. The book is available in both paperback and Kindle editions. If you happen to live in Austin, the book can be found in the Career and Home Improvement sections of Book People. You should also be able to order the book from just about any bookstore. You can find the Kindle edition on here.

The Greater IBM Connection: Any final thoughts? 

Marc Miller: The biggest hurdle is fear in making a career change or pivot. Fear of failure. Fear of financial hardship. Fear of loss of credibility. Fear of change!

It doesn’t happen overnight. I find it takes three months of working with clients to get them to the point where they believe they can make the change work.


Read some reviews of Repurpose Your Career

Visit Marc Miller’s site

Follow Marc on Twitter: @CareerPivot

New Video: IBM Distinguished Engineer Edith Stern Wins Kate Gleason Award for Lifetime Achievement

Edith Stern To Receive The ASME Kate Gleason Award

Distinguished engineer Edith Stern

Edith Stern, a distinguished engineer and inventor at IBM with more than 100 patents to her name, has been given the Kate Gleason Award for lifetime achievement. The award ceremony took place at the 2012 ASME Honors Assembly in Houston, TX.

She received the award for the development of novel applications of new technologies. The 100 patents to her name represent her work in the worlds of telephony and the Internet, remote health monitoring, and digital media.


Child Prodigy Edith Stern Wins Kate Gleason Award (Yorktown-Somers Patch)

About the award

Greater IBMer Gloria Thompson: How the Watson Scholarship Changed A Family’s Lives

Working at IBM can not only change the course of your life profoundly, but it can also change the lives of generations of IBMers’ family members.

Greater IBMers Walter and Gloria Thompson and their children have lived exactly that kind of story.

She and her husband of 30+ years, Walter, both were long-time IBMers. Mr. Thompson, one of the first African-American engineering graduates of The University of Illinois, in fact spent virtually all of his career at IBM, mainly with the Endicott, NY General Systems Division. For his work on the first-ever inkjet printer, he received both the 25 Years of Service and the Outstanding Contribution awards. In addition, he ran for many years the Pre-Professional summer program, where he was responsible for bringing many future leaders of diverse backgrounds to the company. Mr. Thompson passed away in 1993.

In their story here, Mrs.Thompson shares how IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Memorial Scholarship helped the family of six to navigate the financial straits of having several children in college – at Harvard - at once. And not only that – the Watson Scholarship, a gift that kept on giving, helped to lay the foundations for their children’s ongoing successes to this day. An interview with The Greater IBM Connection:


Greater IBM Connection: Which years were you at IBM? What was your first job role?

Gloria Thompson: I worked at IBM from Sept.  1977 until officially retiring in May 1994.

Walter Thompson

Walter Thompson

gloria thompson

Mrs. Gloria Thompson

It was during a time in which teaching jobs were scarce, and I had no technical background.  However, I very quickly gained some technical experience while performing my duties in varied positions within the corporation.

My first job was as entry clerk in the stock room at Federal Systems Division in Owego, NY.  It was an entry-level position which afforded me the opportunity to “get my foot in the door”.

Greater IBM: What were some of the more interesting roles you held, and the duties involved, in your time at IBM?

Gloria Thompson: My most interesting role was as a senior buyer.  I was responsible for buying outside technical services, including engineering consulting, turn-key gas producing plants, university studies, and engineering services. In this capacity I was able to hone my negotiation skills.

I was also the department tech. for much of the time spent as senior buyer and was responsible for approving and assuring both corporate and government compliance regulations for purchase orders of my fellow buyers.

Greater IBM: The Thomas J. Watson Memorial Scholarship helped several of your children – Darren, Kenya, and Pamela – to attend college. What did each of them choose to study?

kevin thompson

Kevin Thompson

Gloria Thompson: Three of my four children received the Watson Scholarship, and all of them chose to attend Harvard.  Darren declared a major of Bio-Chemistry, while Pam’s major was Economics. Kenya chose Psychology.

Greater IBM: Did the possibility of the scholarship affect their lives in high school? How?

Gloria Thompson: All three were excellent students in high school and were active in extracurricular activities.

They were made aware, by their parents, that ending their education after high school was not an option.  As parents, we promised that we would pay for them to attend a state school, but that they would need additional support to attend a private college since they were very close in age.

Darren Thompson

Darren Thompson

They were all motivated and received National Achievement Scholarships based on their SAT scores. This, along with their academic scores, extracurricular activities, and community services, allowed them to earn the Watson Scholarship which was renewable each year provided they maintained a grade point average of at least a “B”.

They all achieved this for all four years.

Greater IBM: How did the scholarship make a difference to you and your family?

Gloria Thompson: These were “lean years” financially, since there were three of the four in college at the same time for some of those years. They all worked each summer and whenever possible, during the school year, also.

Since that time, all four children have attained graduate degrees and are fully employed.
Greater IBM: Let’s fast-forward a few years. What do your children do today? Do you have any more IBMers in the family? 

Gloria Thompson: Darren received his MBA from Harvard and has been in the investment banking business for many years. He now has his own financial advisory business.

Pamela continued her studies at Harvard and earned her JD. degree. She is currently associate general counsel for Freddie Mac.
Pamela Thompson

Pamela Thompson

Kevin received his B.A. in communications from Kent State University in their honors program and was offered a permanent position with IBM, but chose to go to graduate school, instead, before changing his mind and entering the military.

After his time in the US Army he received his masters degree in education with a minor in History. He is now a supervisor in Child Protective Services for NYC.
Kenya received her doctorate in Psychology and has  recently established a private practice after several years of working in the counseling center at University of Toronto.
Kenya Thompson

Kenya Thompson

Greater IBM: And how about yourself – how do you spend your free time since your retirement from IBM? What are some of your favorite activities today?

Gloria Thompson: I now spend my time doing mostly the things that I truly enjoy. These include line dance classes, Zumba, choral singing, traveling, homemaking, reading, and TV viewing.
About the Scholarship:
The Thomas J. Watson Memorial Scholarship Program is a program that recognizes academic excellence among high school students planning to pursue a traditional baccalaureate degree at an accredited four-year college, university or military academy in the United States. Awards for colleges or universities range from $2,000 to $8,000 per year, with the amount based on financial need. The amount for military academies is fixed as a one-time award of $2,000.