Greater IBM Connections e-Newsletter: January

dec newsletter header Welcome to the Greater IBM Connections e-newsletter! We know that Greater IBMers, whether you worked for IBM in the past (or currently work at IBM) feel a connection to IBM that continues even if you’ve changed jobs or retired. This newsletter will help you keep up with the latest cutting-edge IBM innovations and industry trends, as well as stay in touch with your colleagues and friends. Have a suggestion or story idea? Feel free to send us as a comment to this post (be sure to include your email address, so we can reach you).

In this issue:

  • Featured Highlights
  • What’s The Buzz for the Month
  • IBM Alumni Stories + Tell Us Your Story
  • Join the Conversation

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Featured Highlights

tweetchat_logoFeb 6 Tweet Chat:  Don’t miss our upcoming Tweet Chat on Feb 6 from 11am-12pm ET with Dr. Dario de Judicibus, Fashion Industry Leader for IBM Europe, and Scott Duby, IBM Global Retail Solutions Lead.  Bookmark this link and save the date!

IBM News Roundup:  There were several major announcements in January about Watson, Cloud, Big Data and more.  Two major IBM studies as well as 2013 4Q and full year earnings were released.  Also, IBM Connect was held in late January, and February is bringing IBM’s first Entrepreneur Week (Feb 3-7) and dev@Pulse (Feb 24-25).  Here’s a roundup of the major IBM news, events, and study releases for Jan-Feb, in case you missed them – http://wp.me/p2kcos-4BS

IBM Alumni – Are You on Twitter?: We have started a Twitter list for IBM Alumni here (http://bit.ly/1kCTwhT). If you are an IBM Alumni and would like to be added to this list, please reply to this post with your Twitter ID–> http://linkd.in/1fneP6K ——————————————————-

top5v2What’s the Buzz for the Month

What have you been reading and talking about recently? Here’s your chance to catch up on the five most popular posts published in January on The Greater IBM Connection blog. Thanks for visiting and for your comments on the blog.

You can also check out the Top Five Posts across our other social channels here –> http://wp.me/p2kcos-4Ev

  1. IBM Infographic Cartoon: So Your Parent is an IBMer (Survival Guide for Kids)
  2. (Replay) IBM Launches New Watson Group in Silicon Alley
  3. IBM Connect 2014 – Energizing Life’s Work
  4. What Does IBM Watson Look Like?  Generated Art Face the Wave of the Future?
  5. How Many Times Should You Try Before Success? (Infographic) – No 1 Top Tweet

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IBM Alumni Stories + Tell Us Your Story

Gretchen Gottlich, Enterprise Information Executive

Gretchen Gottlich, Enterprise Information Executive

Our alumni story for January is about Big Data Expert, Gretchen Gottlich, also a former NASA Researcher who had the opportunity to meet Benoit Mandelbrot (the Father of Fractal Geometry) in person.  Check out her story and others at the links below!

We will be featuring IBM Alumni stories in the coming months, so please share your story with us in the LinkedIn discussion thread below, and we’ll be following up with the ones that seem the most interesting to our community for a further interview:

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Stay connected with The Greater IBM Connection by:

- By Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, The Greater IBM Connection

IBM Alumni: Big Data Expert Gretchen Gottlich on Meeting Mandelbrot & other Tech Career Wins

Gretchen Gottlich, Enterprise Information Executive

Gretchen Gottlich, Enterprise Information Executive

IBM Alum: Gretchen Gottlich

IBM Tenure: 3 years

View Gretchen Gottlich's LinkedIn profileView Gretchin Gottlich’s profile

View Gretchen Gottlich on TwitterView Gretchin Gottlich on Twitter

Gretchen is currently an independent consultant running her own company, Wallace Rose Investments, LLC, specializing in leading the development and deployment of Big Data solutions across many industry sectors.
She also founded and maintains the @5280BigData Twitter site which provides a global Social Media distribution channel for the wealth of Big Data thought leadership, mind-share, start-ups, tools, and solutions in the Boulder/Denver region.   Gretchen also has a legal background and worked as a Regulatory and Compliance Manager in the Healthcare and Financial sector.   In her spare time Gretchen is finishing up her second Master’s degree in Communication and Technology management.  This semester she is studying Global Internet Law and thus being re-acquainted with her love of the rigors and cerebral machinations of law she is now also studying for her LSAT exam.   Her dream is to study Intellectual Property law at UC Berkeley on scholarship.

Gretchen has degrees from University of Maine, University of Arkansas, Indiana University, Denver University. She has also done executive MBA program work at UC Berkeley, College of William & Mary, University of Portland.

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When did you join IBM, and what led you to join the company?

I joined IBM January 1997.  My father worked as an engineer for GE and traveled around the world building Nuclear Power Plants.   When I “grew up” I wanted to be just like my Dad and travel around the world and “do important stuff” only  I wanted to work for IBM (How I knew this in first grade I don’t know ;).  Later after NASA ,a short stint at Fruit of Loom (designing, building and deploying their first intranet), and being a founder of an Internet start-up I decided my intellectual home was to work in “Information” and IBM was of course at the top of list.

What was the workplace like when you joined, and how did it change over time?

Back in 1997, I am not sure IBM the entire company had truly embraced the significantly disruptive effects of the Internet, the huge opportunities that would become available, and, specifically, how FAST products and services would need to be available to go to market.   From a strategic perspective, IBM totally “got it.” I was working at the Hawthorne lab at that time and lots of work on the WOM was going on (the ore-cursor to WebSphere).  Some part of the business understood the speed of change, but some still had yet to learn.

But very quickly under the leadership of Lou Gerstner, all IBM quickly “got it” and came up to speed in the global marketplace.  IBM is huge, and it was really something to see a Fortune 500 company move so quickly. One could say nimble.  And there again is another strength of IBM, the company can come together and move as “one.”

What did you like most about your career with IBM?

What I liked most about my career at IBM was demonstrating the embodiment of what it was to be an IBMer.  There was something enjoyable to me to know I was on “that” team and it challenged me every day to be the best that I could be as researcher and as a consultant.  You don’t hire IBM to not get top-line results. You hire IBM to get “it” done well and know that you have a technical team that will support you 24/7. The customer meant something.  The customer, that relationship was everything.

What were some of your more interesting roles and what did they entail?

IBM offered me many wonderful roles and opportunities.  However, I think two of best engagements.

I was an Asia/Pacific Senior. Enterprise Architect Consultant (Global Services) and worked in Canberra, Australia for one of the Government Ministries.    I led a team that in expanding the account by 17% within six months by implementing $1M USD web services integration architecture to support outsourcing efforts, utilizing COGNOS BI and performance management solutions.  We sold and delivered this solution using an “Agile like” methodology.  This was before the published draft of the Agile Manifesto in 2000.  This Agile like methodology was something I had created and fined tuned while at NASA and leading the Internet effort there.

The second exciting project was when I worked with the NA Transportation Global Services team.  I was on the team that did the “Watershed Study” which provided research and forecast how the Internet was going to completely distribute the Travel Industry sector.  The team interviewed research scientists at MIT and also traveled to London, Stockholm, Singapore, and Paris to interview corporate leaders in Travel Industry around the globe.  Those were some very exciting times when the Internet was “very young”.

“Bottomless wonders spring from simple rules…repeated without end.” - Benoit Mandelbrot

“Bottomless wonders spring from simple rules…repeated without end.” – Benoit Mandelbrot

And I have to add a third.  This memory is very close to my heart.  I was at the Hawthrone Lab in New York and was sharing with a colleague that I had just finished The Fractal Geometry of Nature by Benoit Mandelbrot and that I had found it quite fascinating.  My colleague calmly replied, “Oh yes Dr. Mandelbrot he is upstairs on the second floor.” I was so excited I believe I forgot excuse myself from the conversation before I flew upstairs, raced down the hallway looking at the name tags on the doors and when I found this cerebral GOD I tapped lightly on the door and asked if I could come in.  I believe all I could do was just gush like some silly teenage girl meeting Justin Bieber.  One of the richest rewards with working for IBM was being able to meet incredible minds that were contributing to Research and Development.

What has been your experience working as a woman in the technology industry?

It has had its ups and downs.  I can’t say any one region was more challenging than any other.  Issues that many women face in the workplace are perhaps more to do with a particular someone’s viewpoint and not geography.   I have worked for many large IT companies and I will say that although IBM is fantastically large there was always a sense that you as a person and an employee were cared for.  And I put person first there deliberately.  There was always this wonderful pride of being an IBMer.  We all were/are professionals.

What characteristics, skills, or attitudes set you apart and helped you be successful?

I have a very good ability to see the strategic business value of a technology.  I am also extremely adept at listening to the customer and understanding (really hearing) the pain the customer is having.  One thing that I believe set me apart from others early in my career at IBM is that I quite readily reached out to others, companies, scientists, business owners and asked lots of questions.  I wasn’t afraid to not know the answer and ask the questions.  The value of this came into play with program management.  I get things done.  Period.

What were some of the most important lessons you learned – from both successes and failures? Who/what were the most influential to your careers?

Oh, wow I have far more failures in my career than successes =).

  1. Define the requirements not the solution. It’s important to listen to the customer and understand what the customer requires/needs and not jump into an immediate solution.  For example a customer might require/need transportation from point A to B.  The customer might think they need a car, when in fact Light Rail might fulfill the need especially if maintaining a small carbon footprint is also a requirement/need.
  2. The relationship with customers is built on trust. Trust is EVERYTHING.
  3. Professionally, when you do what you truly enjoy, energy is infinite and the resulting value is magnified.   It’s the best feeling in the world.

Major influencers on my career range from Einstein, Mandelbrot, Mrs. Goggins my third grade school teacher, Carnegie, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in Alien(s), the original Star Trek series, and TQM Training.

What advice would you give to Greater IBMers to help them be successful in their career? And is there anything specific to women? 

My advice to up and coming IBMers is to learn all you can both technically and business-wise with the wealth of resources that IBM offers.  Remember it’s an honor and a privilege to be part of IBM and you’re in good company. (All double entendres intended).

For women, the fact that Ginni Rometty is now CEO and Chairman I believe says it all.  Our time is now. Go make it happen.

Why did you move on from IBM and do you stay connected – with the business or your colleagues?

I moved on from IBM because I was in a hurry to reach for the brass ring and I felt I needed to advance faster. In hindsight, I left too soon and/or I never should have left. I sometimes think I wish I knew then what I know nowJ. I do stay in contact via some Linked In sites but not so much at a personal level.

Tell us about your work today and what you’ve taken from your experience at IBM to this role.

My work day is much like any consultant’s work day: there is a mission, there are planes to board, hopefully there is a road-map, there are politics to manage, and internet services to implement and integrate to meet customer requirements.  I do whatever it takes to get the job done.

What I took away from IBM was “knowing” with complete confidence what it was to be and equally important how to be an exemplary consultant with professional integrity.

What do you see are the major upcoming trends in your field and how do you stay attuned?

Big Data and all that fits under its umbrella.  I host a Twitter site called @5280BigData. The purpose of @5280BigData is to promote Big Data concepts, tools, and services developed in the Denver/Boulder metro region among global Big Data Research and Development and business communities. Companies I interact with a regular basis are Hitachi Data Systems,  SendGrid, Precog, FUSE, GNIP, Unvirsity Colorado Denver/Boulder, Tagwhat, Trueffect,  Techstars and Big Data organizations in London, UKI also write and present papers at conferences. A couple of my favorite available online:

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Related:

Posted by Jessica Benjamin, Brand System and Workforce Communications, IBM CHQ

Greater IBM Connections e-Newsletter: December

dec newsletter header

Welcome to the Greater IBM Connections e-newsletter! We know that Greater IBMers, whether you worked for IBM in the past (or currently work at IBM) feel a connection to IBM that continues even if you’ve changed jobs or retired. This newsletter will help you keep up with the latest cutting-edge IBM innovations and industry trends, as well as stay in touch with your colleagues and friends. Have a suggestion or story idea? Feel free to send us as a comment to this post (be sure to include your email address, so we can reach you).

In this issue:

  • Featured Highlights
  • Best of Blog Roundup: Top 5 for November
  • IBM Alumni Stories + Tell Us Your Story
  • Join the Conversation

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Featured Highlights

5 in 5 - wideIBM’s 5 in 5 – In Five Years Everything Will Learn: On December 17, IBM unveiled the annual list of five innovations that have the potential to change the way people work.  The 5 in 5 is based on market and societal trends as well as emerging technologies from IBM’s R&D labs around the world that can make these transformations possible.  This year’s 5 in 5 centered on Education, Retail, Healthcare, Security, and Cities.  To learn more – http://wp.me/p2kcos-430

Image Credit:  IBM Connect 2014

Image Credit: IBM Connect 2014

IBM Connect 2014 – Energizing Life’s Work (Jan 26-30):  Companies are changing the way they work today. The combination of social, collaborative and mobile technology infused with behavioral science and analytics is incredibly powerful – especially when it is delivered in the cloud.  IBM Connect will provide insights on how to apply these principles to your business.  As an added bonus for Dilbert fans, Dilbert creator Scott Adams will be speaking at the event.  To learn more – http://wp.me/p2kcos-4gA

IBM Alumni – Are You on Twitter?: We have started a Twitter list for IBM Alumni here (http://bit.ly/1kCTwhT). If you are an IBM Alumni and would like to be added to this list, please reply to this post with your Twitter ID–> http://linkd.in/1fneP6K

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top5v2Top 5 Most Popular Blog Posts for December

What have you been reading and talking about recently? Here’s your chance to catch up on the five most popular posts published in December on The Greater IBM Connection blog. Thanks for visiting and for your comments on the blog.

  1. IBM’s 5 in 5:  In Five Years Everything Will Learn
  2. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty Looking Ahead to the Smarter Enterprise
  3. IBM NanoMedicine Adventures:  Ninjas vs Superbugs (Movie + Infographic)
  4. Santa Uses Predictive Analytics for Toy Matching (Christmas Infographic)
  5. Santa is On His Way – How is Big Data Analytics Helping? (Infographic)

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IBM Alumni Stories + Tell Us Your Story

Teresa Golden, Vice President, Digital Transformation, for IBM Global Technology Services (GTS)

Teresa Golden, Vice President, Digital Transformation, for IBM Global Technology Services (GTS)

Our alumni story for December is about Teresa Golden, an innovative IBM Marketing Vice President who retired in December.  We also have a new place on our blog for IBM Alumni stories – check it out at the link below to catch up on all the great alumni stories that have been shared!

We will be featuring IBM Alumni stories in the coming months, so please share your story with us in the LinkedIn discussion thread below, and we’ll be following up with the ones that seem the most interesting to our community for a further interview:

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Stay connected with The Greater IBM Connection by:

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

Greater IBM Connections e-Newsletter: November

dec newsletter header

Welcome to the Greater IBM Connections e-newsletter! We know that Greater IBMers, whether you worked for IBM in the past (or currently work at IBM) feel a connection to IBM that continues even if you’ve changed jobs or retired. This newsletter will help you keep up with the latest cutting-edge IBM innovations and industry trends, as well as stay in touch with your colleagues and friends. Have a suggestion or story idea? Feel free to send us as a comment to this post (be sure to include your email address, so we can reach you).

In this issue:

  • Featured Highlights
  • Best of Blog Roundup: Top 5 for November
  • IBM Alumni Stories + Tell Us Your Story
  • Join the Conversation

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Featured Highlights

athen-twitter-125x125Dec 4 Tweet Chat: Were you able to join the #Greater IBM Big Data/Data Science Career Tweet Chat on Dec 4 with guest experts Jim Kobielus and Tom Deutsch, Big Data Evangelists at IBM?  If not, be sure to catch the chat recap below and stay tuned for our next Tweet Chat.

IBM Ninja Polymers from IBM Infographic

IBM Ninja Polymers from IBM Infographic

IBM Ninjas vs Superbugs: Antibiotic-resistant ‘superbugs’ like MRSA are one of the biggest health concerns of the 21st century, killing 23,000 Americans a year.  IBM scientists, in partnership with the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, are working on a new type of nanomedicine polymer that can attack these superbugs at the physical level through the use of electrostatic charges.  Traditional antibiotics work by attacking bacteria at the chemical level, which opens the door for the bacteria to evolve and develop resistance. To learn more – http://wp.me/p2kcos-410

IBM Alumni – Are You on Twitter?:  We have started a Twitter list for IBM Alumni here (http://bit.ly/1kCTwhT).  If you are an IBM Alumni and would like to be added to this list, please reply to this post with your Twitter ID–> http://linkd.in/1fneP6K

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top5v2Top 5 Most Popular Blog Posts for November

What have you been reading and talking about recently? Here’s your chance to catch up on the five most popular posts published in November on The Greater IBM Connection blog. Thanks for visiting and for your comments on the blog.

  1. #GreaterIBM Big Data Tweet Chat Preview: Is Data Science Your Next Career? on 12/4/13 
  2. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty Story Roundup – (IBM CEO Ginni Rometty Wins Global Leadership Award also a top ranked story)
  3. IBM Fellow Irene Greif Retires – A Pioneer in Building a Workplace that Works
  4. 20% Off Holiday Savings for IBM Alumni and Retirees
  5. 3 Ways to Beat the Monday Morning Blues

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IBM Alumni Stories + Tell Us Your Story

We’ve had some great IBM alumni stories shared in the past month, so be sure to read them if you missed them the first time – thanks for sharing your story with us!

We will be featuring IBM Alumni stories in the coming months, so please share your story with us in the LinkedIn discussion thread below, and we’ll be following up with the ones that seem the most interesting to our community for a further interview:

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Stay connected with The Greater IBM Connection by:

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

IBM Alumni: Jerry Holl Shares Lessons Learned from 3,634 Mile Bike Journey

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Jerry Holl, IBM Alum and adventure seeker

IBM Alum: Jerry Holl

IBM Tenure: 12 years

Jerry Holl is a sales professional with over 30 years of experience in business, including sales & sales management positions for IBM, Moore Corporation and Piper Jaffray, Inc. From his extensive cross-industry experience, he’s gained a wealth of information on businesses, business models and best practices. Jerry has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering and an MBA – both from the University of Minnesota.

Jerry recently completed a 3,634 mile solo bicycle journey from Alaska to Mexico. Details of the journey and access to his daily blog written during the journey, a raw unedited stream of consciousness often written laying in a tent at night after a 100 mile day.

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When did you join IBM; how long were you an IBMer?

I joined IBM right out of graduate school and was with the business for just under 12 years. I had studied geological engineering in undergrad and then got my MBA. I did some work as an economic analyst for a large oil company, but quickly knew it wasn’t for me.

I wanted a career that would let me engage with people and the greater world.  I just knew a sales role best matched my personal characteristics.  So, I approached and was hired by IBM as they are the prominent ‘Harvard’ of sales organizations.  They also embody the values and practices that are important to me.  IBM products and services made a huge impact for the customers in the mid-size businesses where I sold, and were transformative to those businesses.  I liked the big ticket (for those customers) big impact aspect of selling into those businesses.

What were some of your roles and duties with the company and what did you find most satisfying?

I worked in field sales and marketing, first as as salesperson, then a marketing manager, and finally as a branch marketing executive serving as an IBM branch leader.  IBM was a great match for me. I was there during a high period of growth for mid-range systems …so I was able to deal with all aspects of customers’ business problems and opportunities across all industries. Due to the cross-industry selling, I was able learn about their business models in a high level and fundamental way. It was tremendously educational.

Every day in sales felt like a field-trip.  I needed to really understand their business and problems to find solutions that would work.  And I got to work very closely and collaboratively with customers to come to the right solutions. This took a certain kind of attitude and curiosity.  Customers can tell when you truly have their interests in mind. They will open up and want to do business with you when you are more concerned with solving their problems and capturing their opportunities as opposed to just making a sale.

I was successful in my roles and I attribute that to a combination of putting client first and holding high professionalism standards — doing things on the up and up.  It’s essential to follow through and do what you say you will do.  I also had a real personal hunger to succeed and a love of the job.

I credit IBM with providing my best foundational business experience.  In regards to my career, it was a time of my highest learning and highest growth.  Ultimately, I left IBM because I grew as much as I could in the local branch and was committed to staying in Minnesota.

Did you have any mentors? Are you still connected with your former IBM colleagues? 

IBM attracted very high quality individualsMany of them remain great friends today.  You couldn’t help but grow and develop strong business practices just being around those individuals.  As a sales manager, I was constantly mentoring my team.  My style was very hands-on: teaching, developing, getting in the trenches and getting involved in their deals where necessary.  Part of mentoring and training is to show people how to advance the ball, not just tell them.

I gained many insights specifically from a couple Branch Managers. When you have a great leader you learn through osmosis as you see how they professionally handle situations.  And, I also learned what not to do from less effective managers.

Being so large, IBM had a lot of important structure to maintain standards and control to make things work. But sometimes those structures were too cumbersome and weren’t right for certain customers.  That’s when you need to take some risks and push for change.  With so much structure, you have to be adaptable and break structure where appropriate to put the client first.

Conversely, in my roles outside of IBM, I experienced what it was like without structure.  It was often chaos. I took what I learned from IBM to create the mechanisms and practices that help improve productivity and quality, building structure for a bunch of cowboys.

You want “wild ducks,” but not adverse wild ducks; you want those who use strong judgement to bridge the gap between customer and your own business interests, creating a win-win for all parties.  There is never a need or reason to leave a wake of problems in any of your dealings.

What did you want to do after your IBM career? What are you doing today?

I continued to work in sales and sales leadership, then in financial services sales.  But after I paid off my house, my kids’ education, and all my major commitments. I needed new ‘explosive’ growth.

I wanted to do something off the wall, something completely different, something where I couldn’t help but grow.  As one friend called it to be big, hairy and audacious.  And I wanted it to be constructive, healthy, and to test the limits of my capabilities. I wanted it to be remote, solo, physically grueling, and drop-dead gorgeous scenery.  So, I decided to take a solo bike journey from Alaska to Mexico.

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Jerry in Oregon on his biking adventure.

I conceived of the trip and left in about a 3 week period.  Why wait; why over-plan?  I hadn’t specifically trained for this journey.  I didn’t even think that much about it.  I was just confident I could do it. And, if I wasn’t in biking shape, I’d have plenty of time to ride myself into shape!  My experience at IBM had given me confidence in my ability to deal with situations that came my way.  I used the same ability in this circumstance.

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Biking trip pit stop at Big Sur.

There was  risk, but it is what I wanted.  And, it would require me to persevere even when I might not want to.  I encountered challenging terrain, 20 bears, other wild animals, traffic, brutal headwinds and changing weather.  I also re-discovered that people are really-really good!  Everybody along the way who saw my exposure and effort went out of their way to try to help in some little way, whether it was giving a candy bar, filling a water bottle, or providing information and directions.

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Jerry on the San Fransisco Bridge on his bike adventure.

Prior to this journey, I had never ridden my bike for more than 25 miles.  And, had never ridden a loaded bike with all my gear.  I just had to dig in …and it was very rewarding.  Sometimes I ran short on resources, simple things like like food or water, but I always found a way; discomfort is not danger.

When I left on the trip, I was ‘mechanically disadvantaged.” I never took the time to learn the basic mechanics of my bike.  Embarrassingly, I didn’t even remember (from childhood) how to change a tire, patch a tube, and had no idea how to fix a broken chain.  I broke my bike chain in the middle of nowhere in Alaska and just by blind luck, a female biker rode up who had a manual.  She was a godsend as we both figured out how to reconnect my chain with a spare link and repair my bike.  I dislike mechanical repairs and figured that during the trip I would just have to figure out the ‘mechanical’ problems as they occurred.

To me, the mechanical issues were discrete problems with known ‘how-tos.’  Although I didn’t (and still don’t) have the mechanical skills that was not a reason to not go.  More interesting to me were the mental situations and decision points without discrete how-tos, such as how to read my mental condition, physical condition, strange encounters, road and traffic hazards, frontier bandits, and wild animals, which required constant situational decision-making.  In a funny way, all of my IBM experiences contributed greatly to dealing with these mental situations.  I couldn’t realistically prepare for most of them. I  just had to make judgements as I encountered them, but, I just felt confident and capable of figuring them out as I went.

I kept a daily blog about the trip, and have subsequently written a manuscript which I intend to eventually publish as a book.  Basically, I want to encourage people to not let their life just happen to them, but to take control and actively build your own path and future.  Although there was occasional real danger, mostly it was exhilarating joy with occasional blissful hardship and discomfort (which is not danger – know the difference).  Don’t be afraid and frozen with the prospect of failure, rather, turn it on its ear and look at the tremendous reward if/when you’re successful.  It’s intoxicating.

Most people have more skill than they think they do.  So, in addition to writing about my adventure, I’ve also written a sales training program. It’s a practical and pragmatic step by step approach on how to conduct complicated large ticket, long sell cycle sales based upon all the lessons I’ve learned in my professional career.  My unique training describes  the steps of the sales process and the ‘art’ of what the salesperson needs to perform in each step.   It organizes the methods for a salesperson to take their intrinsic baseline skills and trains them how to effectively advance the ball and make the sale.  All with the customer’s interests at heart.

The bottom line:  Don’t fear the unknown. Take your skills and run with them.  Don’t over-think and over-plan. Get in the game and adjust.  You’re better and more capable than you think you are and, if you never get on your bicycle you will never know if you can do it.

Do you have key advice for those still advancing their careers?

  1.  Find where your heart is.  There is money in every profession if you are the best …but you won’t be the best if you don’t love it.  Be honest with yourself.   Ask yourself if you can get excited about this?
  2. Get in the game. Go.  Don’t over think, over-plan, or worry about others being better. You will always need to get better …and you will.
  3. Don’t think about specific jobs. Think about what skill-sets you’re developing in your role and how they apply to your passions and future – both personally and professionally.

I’m really passionate about sharing what I’ve learned with others. In addition to sharing my insights via the bog and my sales training, I’ve also started a business to help people who are looking to change careers.

I can help advise anyone who is contemplating or making a career change.  I have an advisory service to help individuals shine and differentiate themselves in an interview. I am also available to speak to groups about leadership lessons learned on my solo bicycle journey from Alaska to Mexico.

Finally, I have developed and delivered a very practical and pragmatic sales training program focusing on the interpersonal aspect of persuasion and influence in the sales process …in my view this is the toughest and most rewarding part of the sales process.

You can contact me if you have interest in any of my stories or work via LinkedIn.

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Related:

- By Jessica Benjamin, IBM Brand System and Workforce Enablement, CHQ

Coffee Break Cartoon: Polly Wants A Hashtag (by IBM Alumni)

devonwickens1

The cartoon is courtesy of Devon Wickens, who is an IBM Alumni.  During her time at IBM, she was an Executive Producer of the IBM/TALK corporate radio series.  In 2011, she founded BabyBummers cartoons, which are cartoons about what is trending now.  In addition to her BabyBummers initiative, she also works as a Business Content writer at the Gaming Corporation.  To learn more:

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Related:

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

Greater IBM Connections e-Newsletter: October

newsletter header

Welcome to the Greater IBM Connections e-newsletter!  We know that Greater IBMers, whether you worked for IBM in the past (or currently work at IBM) feel a connection to IBM that continues even if you’ve changed jobs or retired.  This newsletter will help you keep up with the latest cutting-edge IBM innovations and industry trends, as well as stay in touch with your colleagues and friends.  Have a suggestion or story idea?  Feel free to send us as a comment to this post (be sure to include your email address, so we can reach you).

In this issue:

  • October Highlights
  • Best of Blog Roundup: Top 5 for October
  • IBM Alumni, Tell Us Your Story
  • Join the Conversation

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October Highlights

athen-twitter-125x125Oct 31 Tweet Chat:  Were you able to join the Greater IBM and IBM Smarter Planet Cognitive Computing Tweet Chat on October 31 with guest experts Steve Hamm, co-author of Smart Machines and Dr. Dharmendra Modha, founder of IBM’s Cognitive Computing group at IBM Research?   If not, be sure to catch the chat recap below and stay tuned for our next Tweet Chat on Big Data and Analytics.

IBM News Roundup:  There were four major IBM studies released in October (C-Suite, Security, Cloud, and Analytics), President Obama visited IBM’s P-Tech school in New York, and 3Q Earnings were released.  Also the Information On Demand conference in Las Vegas is this week (Nov 3-7).  Here’s a roundup of the major IBM news, events, and study releases from October, in case you missed them – http://wp.me/p2kcos-30y

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top5v2Top 5 Most Popular Blog Posts for October

What have you been reading and talking about recently?  Here’s your chance to catch up on the five most popular posts published in October on The Greater IBM Connection blog.  Thanks for visiting and for your comments on the blog.

  1. IBM CEO Ginni Rometty Shares Her Approach To Innovation
  2. 5 Ways To Become an IBM Champion
  3. How To Tweet Chat
  4. The Origins of Cloud Computing – from the 1920s
  5. 3 Things You Never Knew About IBM Creativity – Games, Art, and Music

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IBM Alumni, Tell Us Your Story

You may have heard of one or two famous IBM alumni who have gone on to be CEOs or executives of major global brands and achieved some amazing things.  How about you?  Do you have a career story or achievement that you think would inspire others?  We know that IBM alumni often go on to achieve many great things in their career, and we’d like to hear your story. Please tell us what post-IBM achievement you are most proud of in your career, and how what you learned at IBM has helped you.  We’d like to feature some IBM Alumni in the coming months, so please share your story with us in the LinkedIn discussion thread below.  We’ve also included a few examples of stories we’ve run on alumni in the past to help get you started.

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- Posted by Julie Yamamoto