IBM Marketing Vice President Teresa Golden Retires – Always Stay Curious!

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

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

“At IBM, if you are curious and have the right level of dedication, you will never be bored!”

IBM Vice President, Teresa Golden, is retiring after more than 34 years with IBM.  Teresa is Vice President, Digital Transformation, for IBM Global Technology Services (GTS) where she is engaged in enhancing the GTS Web presence and client experience through digital channels.  Throughout her career at IBM, Teresa has held multiple executive, managerial and staff positions in marketing, finance, business strategy and planning across multiple lines of business including business process and IT services, software, UNIX systems, personal computers, printers, multimedia and the Internet.  She was involved with one of IBM’s most important inventions, e-business, as Vice President, e-business marketing, where she played a key role in extending IBM’s market leadership by driving initiatives to increase consideration and preference for IBM as an e-business solutions provider, leveraging the entire portfolio of hardware, software and services.  IBM had 10,000 e-business customers by 1999.  She later held executive leadership roles for IBM Learning Solutions, IBM Global Technology Services, and  IBM Global Process Services. where she was a key driver in bringing IBM solution and service teams together to further IBM’s leadership in the market.

Teresa earned an MBA from Pace University and a BA from the College of Mount Saint Vincent.  She is married with two grown children and a grandson.

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IBM Poughkeepsie is located in New York's Hudson Valley (Photo Credit:  IBM)

IBM Poughkeepsie is located in New York’s Hudson Valley (Photo Credit: IBM)

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

I joined in July 1979 as a junior systems analyst in Poughkeepsie, NY.  Having already worked in the technology industry for 4 years, just completed my MBA and recently moved Dutchess County, NY, I was looking for a new opportunity.  As a 2nd generation IBMer, I made my father very happy when I opted to join IBM.

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

I’ve enjoyed most of my roles over the last 34+ years.  One of the ‘fun’ roles early in my career was as a Graphics Marketing Support Representative during the infancy of computer-aided business graphics (e.g. 3279 and 3277 GA).  In that capacity, the Poughkeepsie-based Graphics Support Center conducted client briefings, held education classes for IBMers and participated in business shows about business and CAD/CAM graphics.   I am also very proud of the work my team did in my two stints in e-business marketing.  At the time, we were focused on re-positioning IBM as a leader in the technology industry.  And I also truly enjoyed working in more of a ‘start-up’ environment as part of IBM Learning Solutions, which focused on the emerging business opportunity of e-learning.  We established IBM as a leader in this space by developing a point of view on the Future of Learning, leveraging IBM’s experience in Leadership Development and applying a broad marketing mix to promote our capabilities while driving real business results.

Restored IBM 3277 Display terminal (Photo credit:  IBM System 3 Blog)

Restored IBM 3277 Display terminal (Photo credit: IBM System 3 Blog)

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

When I started, the 3277 display terminal was ‘new’ technology!  Some of the first reports I created used JCL (Job Control Language)!  Subsequently, there has been a marked acceleration in the pace at which decisions are made and a shift is where and how work gets done. Innovation is now happening much closer to the client versus primarily in the development labs.

What do you see are the major upcoming trends in your field?

In marketing, it’s all about becoming more personal and reaching target audiences primarily through digital, including mobile, channels.  Being able to capitalize on this will be key to marketing success in the future.

What does a typical day look like for you now?

Today, regardless of my physical work location, I can be productive as long as I have my laptop and a network connection.  I’m often on calls with other IBMers around the globe early mornings into late evenings but the pursuit of excellence remains the same as when I started.

Photo Credit:  HD Desktop Wallpaper Blog

Photo Credit: HD Desktop Wallpaper Blog

How and where do you find inspiration?

I personally love the quiet associated with being outdoors in nature to think things through and/or develop the next course of action.  That said, I’ve often been inspired by some incredible IBMers who envision the future and encourage others to stretch their limits.

What values are you committed to?

The Golden Rule:  Do unto others as you wish others to do unto you.

What did you like most about your career with IBM?

I really appreciated the relatively fast pace of the technology industry with the opportunity to continually learn and apply new skills.  At IBM, if you are curious and have the right level of dedication, you will never be bored!

What qualities have you most appreciated in the people you have worked with in the past?

I tend to be very operational and thus truly appreciate individuals who are visionary and can motivate others about the impact that our work can have on individuals, industries and the world.

How do you show others that you believe in them?

Always acknowledge good work and the time that is expended in creating it.  Spend time with individually with team members talking through how/what they learn from their work and continually improve.

technologista2What has been your experience working as a woman in the technology industry?

The world has changed so much for women.  When IBM contacted me regarding my initial interviews, my father told me that I would not be hired because I was pregnant!  Thankfully, that prediction did not come true.  In the early days, there were very few women in professional roles.  Now, the IBM work force is more representative of the human population.  When my children were young, working from home was not an option.  Technology today offers so much more flexibility enabling work to be more smoothly integrated with ‘life’.

How did you achieve work-life balance?

I never really got to a work-life in balance.  However, with the help of my husband of 38 years, we muddled through, raised two wonderful children and survived!

What dreams and goals inspired you to succeed?

Throughout my career, a common goal has been to be in a position to leave a role and/or a team in better shape than when I found it.  At the end of the day, we all just want to make a difference!

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

I seem to thrive in environments where I can help create order out of chaos.  This ‘skill’, which most likely was learned growing up as the 3rd of nine children, has served me well.

How did you get where you are today?

I’ve recall being fascinated with technology in grade school, fueled by my father who used to talk about computers at my school.  During college, I opted for business, math and programming courses and even spent a summer working for IBM as a tape librarian in a data center.  After graduation, I worked for two other technology firms before I joined IBM as a junior systems analyst in Poughkeepsie, New York.  I can’t say I ‘planned’ my career but looked for roles that I found interesting, typically focused on new growth areas, that enabled me to work for and with people I respected and knew I could learn from.  I never hesitated to switch divisions as I knew it was an opportunity to learn about different aspects of this company – resulting in an exposure to hardware, software and services.  I fell in love with marketing because it is always at the intersection of sales, development and finance and thus provides a good view of what is happening both internally and externally.

Who influenced you the most and why?

My father, now a retired IBMer, who opened the door to the possibilities of technology and encouraged me throughout my career.

Did you have any mentors, and, if so, how did they help you?

I’ve had multiple mentors, both male and female, throughout my career.  One of them sponsored and helped me get my first executive role, Others have been wonderful ‘sounding boards’ to help me work through specific challenges I was facing.

Did you act as a mentor to others, and, if so, how did you help them?

I’ve mentored numerous IBMers over the years.  Hopefully, I’ve provided them with a different perspective to think about and potentially act upon.  Often, I’ve been a ‘sounding board’ and/or a source of encouragement.  I have learned so much from my mentees making the time investment worthwhile.

What advice would you give to other women in tech to help them be successful?

Don’t lose sight of your priorities.  Work will always be there but your family will grow up before you know it.  Take the time to enjoy the special family moments.  You now have the flexibility to do this.  Take advantage of it!

What were some of the most important lessons you learned from your IBM career?

IBMers are so talented but we all have a different combination of skills that can be applied to the task at hand.  Appreciating the differences and applying them where appropriate is fundamental to getting the most out of a team.

What would you do differently if given the opportunity?

I’d love to work on addressing some of the challenges associated with our current educational system.  Education is the door opener to opportunity and is critical to the future success of our nation and the world.  (Learn more about IBM education initiatives)

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy spending time with my family – especially with my 5 year old grandson.  I seem to recharge quickly when I’m outdoors with nature but a good book will also capture my attention.

(Photo Credit:  Ellis' Forest Management Greenhouse Nursery)

(Photo Credit: Ellis’ Forest Management Greenhouse Nursery)

What are some of your plans after retirement?

I’m looking forward to having the luxury of time to spend with my family. In addition, I hope to be able to read more, start a vegetable garden, furnish/landscape our new home in upstate New York, and learn about forestry management.  The possibilities are endless!

Any words of advice for Greater IBMers?

Regardless of your role, get as close to the customer or the ‘market’ as you can.  Having a deep understanding and appreciation of the ‘real-life’ issues that our clients are facing is fundamental to coming up with an approach that addresses their challenges.

Video Courtesy of IBM Smarter Marketing

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

IBM Fellow Irene Greif Retires – A Pioneer in Building a Workplace that Works

Irene Greif, IBM Fellow and Chief Scientist for Social Business (Photo Credit:  Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology)

Irene Greif, IBM Fellow and Chief Scientist for Social Business (Photo Credit: Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology)

IBM Fellow Irene Greif is retiring after more than 25 years with Lotus Development Corporation (where she was head of Research) and IBM. At IBM, she went on to create the Center for Social Business, a global research effort on reinventing the way people work. Along the way, these teams built the foundations of Lotus Sametime and IBM Connections, and revamped email to be the social tool it is today.

Irene began her journey into the workplace of the future while at MIT. Trained as a computer scientist, she was attracted to challenges of communication and collaboration – regardless of underlying technologies. In the 1980s, questions raised by Doug Engelbart’s 1968 Mother of All Demos, such as why some inventions (the mouse) took off, and others (video conferencing and shared screens) were still being reinvented in research labs, led her to study the opportunities – and limits – for office automation solutions. She founded the field of Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) in 1984 to help computer scientists and social scientists join forces to understand “how collaborative activities and their coordination can be supported by means of computer systems.”

Irene’s pioneering work changed how technology helps us work, and work together. She reflects on the inspiration to make these tools – and inspiring others to do the same.

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What were the workplace tools like when you started your career?

When I was on the faculty at MIT in the late 1970s and early 80s, office automation was the big thing. But the most interesting technologies being used beyond email were still stuck in research labs. At work, the personal computer – loaded with spreadsheet software, usually Lotus 1-2-3 at the time – was cropping up all over the place, outside IT control. And the question of which word processor to adopt was the next big issue.

Local areas networks were just being installed and slowly replacing “sneakernet” for transferring files. So, there was a lot of opportunity for change. What’s more, since researchers who were inventing new tools for collaboration were looking for realistic test beds outside their labs, it was a great time for a researcher to move into a business setting – that’s where the action was going to be.

How has CSCW evolved since the 1980s?

I started the research field of CSCW before joining IBM, but it fit right into what Lotus (and later IBM) was doing with group support systems. I’ve had the chance to keep reinventing workplace solutions – and recreating CSCW teams – ever since.

In the 1980s, group support systems such as online forms and formal networked processes (to pass information around without printing it or carry floppy disks in our pockets) were still new. Also new were anthropologists studying office life and culture. They found that office work was rarely done according to formal written processes. So, when companies built formal processes into online systems, informal actions, such as just knowing who else was in an approval chain when a manager was on vacation, were ignored.

Working with anthropologists helped us look beyond the technology, and brought social science and computer science together on the team.

How has CSCW impacted design? 

This “observe first” approach led us to reinventing email. We discovered that people hacked together ways to manage their lives around their email. It wasn’t just for messages; they used it for reminders and calendar appointments – well before these functions were built into any email platform.

We set out to design an email system that reflected what people were actually trying to do with it. We used our research to make subtle adjustments, integrating new features into Lotus Notes and providing the rich context that now integrates presence, threading, calendars, and instant messaging.

How else were new ideas by designers and developers meshed with what was being observed?

We also kept an eye on the consumer space to ask “would any of those tools be useful in business communications?” For example, chat apps were popular with kids in the 1990s, and that initially made it a challenge to pitch as a business opportunity. So, we used design through storytelling to prove that it could be useful. Our storyboard showed how customer support could “chat” with experts to help solve a technical issue – while staying on the phone with the customer and providing answers seamlessly. This was the origin of Sametime, the ubiquitous tool that IBMers rely on today.

We’ve been fortunate to work with an extremely open and creative corporate IT department that supports experimentation inside IBM. As a result, we can deploy and observe prototypes inside our really large company. And in some cases, the most important inventions were by the crowd – our users – and not our teams.

We’ve taken a similar approach outside IBM on the internet with projects such as Many Eyes. Launched in 2007, we wanted to know how people would use a visual analytics tool. It’s been active for years and in fact, the users pushed us from numerical to text visualizations that were invented and installed on the site. Many Eyes technology has since been transferred to a product team. Version two was released this year.

What’s next in workplace collaboration technology?

What’s next, in my opinion, is less about technology, and more about design. In fact, at this year’s CSCW conference, the new “Lasting Impact” award will be given to a 1988 paper about why group systems fail. The insight still proves true today: the cost-benefit balance of a tool is often wrong, or not accounted for, in the design phase. If you’re building a new workplace app, some people are likely to benefit more than others. You need to take that into account – either increase benefits to all, or make it particularly appealing for the “helpers” to participate.

Every one of my teams has had computer scientists, social scientists, developers and designers. And we have tried to apply this benefit thought in our designs. The simplest way is to try to assure there is personal value to each participant, even before they realize any benefit from sharing. This approach helped us get buy-in, for example, to add IBM Connections’ shared bookmarks feature. It gets everyone’s bookmarks out of a browser, and into a community of people who will also find them useful.

Since I’m betting on a better design – more user-centered and culturally aware design – as the most important ingredient, I’d like to say just how thrilled I am to see IBM’s renewed focus in design. Their design thinking is close to my heart, based on rich stories and deep understanding of not just how something is used, but why it would be used in the first place.

What has it meant to you to be a “trailblazing” woman in technology?

I sometimes envy the women who came up the technical career ranks after me because they had other women to talk to, and share stories with – something I didn’t have when I was a graduate student. It’s important for me, and others who were “firsts” in their fields, to participate in communities like the Anita Borg Institute. Today, as we see more and more women blazing trails, I remind them to look around and talk to other women while they are in the process.

Regarding mentoring, while having a formal mentor is important, don’t discount your second and third degree connections, who can offer you what I often call meaningful “mentoring moments.” Some of the colleagues I’ve sought out for advice never knew in the moment that their opinions played a role in something that amounted to a critical decision for me.

This kind of interaction is supported in social networking theory: it’s not the people you talk to everyday, but it’s those you reach out to who will have new, and maybe the best, insights.

What are some of your plans after retirement?

The great thing is that I don’t have to have a plan. I never really had a plan for my career, but rather let it evolve and I expect to do the same now. I would like to spend more time on STEM education, mentoring and volunteering, and working with organizations such as the National Academy of Engineering.

And I’ll continue to knit, though maybe now I’ll find time to organize the mess of yarn I’ve collected over the years.

(Video credit: IBM Social Business)

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- Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager The Greater IBM Connection via Chris Nay, IBM Research Communications

Why Are There Still So Few Women in STEM?

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Graphic credit: IBM in ‘Helping Women in STEM Thrive’

At the Solvay Conference on Physics in 1927, the only woman in attendance was Marie Curie.  Today, there are still few women who pursue a STEM degree or career (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).  In the US, only one-fifth of physics Ph.D.’s are awarded to women, and only 14 percent of all the physics professors are women.  Globally, only 30 percent of women, on average, participate in STEM fields, both private and public.  A Yale study published last year demonstrated that a young male scientist applying for a STEM job in education is viewed more favorably on average than a woman with the same qualifications and offered a salary nearly $4000 higher. (All facts sourced from 1 and 2 below in ‘Related’ list).

IBM is investing in women, whether new to the company, previous employees or current employees. It is providing support through mentoring and networks that can create a foundation for a career path towards technical leadership roles.  Watch the Technologista YouTube series (below) for an inside glimpse of what women at IBM are doing, and learn more about women at IBM here.

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

Women in Technology at IBM – Rejecting the ‘Expected’

technologista2IBM continues the Women Technologista series this week with two blog posts.  In the first one, IBM Senior Vice President and WITI Hall of Famer, Linda Sanford, talks about ‘Nurturing the Next Generation of Technologistas‘.  She talks about how studies have shown that women are naturally more collaborative and better at listening, two tenets for building strong teams and that teams with at least one woman outperform male-only teams.  However, women still hold less than one-fourth of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) jobs, so how do we best tap into and grow this innate talent pool?  Mentorship is vital. Female-executive support groups and increased participation in industry associations, along with formal training and inclusion programs, would also help.  Read more on the Internet Evolution site.

In the second post, Stefanie Chiras, PhD, IBM Manager of System & Technology Group Design Center, shares how she learned to reject the ‘expected’ when she was 10 and her father told her they were going to fix a car transmission.  She said “I can’t do that,” and he replied without a pause, “People do it every day. You can certainly do it once.”  The advice, and the fact that they did fix the transmission, stuck with her.  Half the challenge is overcoming apprehension and preconceived notions.  As for advice from her own career path, she echoes some of the tenets found in the recent IBM Study of Insights from Women Executives, which are:

  • Stay visible
  • Plan your career
  • Integrate work and life

Read the full post, Rejecting ‘The Expected':  One Woman Engineer’s Story on the Huffington Post.

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

Women in Technology: Make A Difference by Joining IBM

IBMersJoin other exceptional women who are making a difference.

At IBM women have been making contributions to the advancement of information technology for almost as long as the company has been in existence. Today, women represent approximately 30 percent of IBM employees worldwide and more than 22% of our global executive population is made up of women, two-thirds of whom are working mothers.

Did you know?

Are you looking for a new challenge, inside a progressive organization that values and rewards collaboration, innovation and creativity?  If you want to focus on today’s most exciting technologies — Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud — the opportunities are endless and you can make a difference at IBM.

Learn more: Careers for Women at IBM

And apply for jobs:  Job Opportunities for Women in Technology

Why Work at IBM?

More:

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Check out these hot jobs today, and be sure to stay tuned for more to come.

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

IBM’s First Woman Executive: IBM Pioneering Woman (Part 2)

Anne Van Vechten with a non-niblick at the 1939 Hundred Percent Club.

Anne Van Vechten with a non-niblick at the 1939 Hundred Percent Club.

This post is a continuation of the March 8 post, “IBM’s Pioneering Woman: Anne Van Vechten” in honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2013.

In 1935, the headiness of the praise IBM CEO Thomas J. Watson, Sr., heaped on his “great pioneer woman,” Anne Van Vechten, and her 24 fellow graduates of IBM’s first co-ed Systems Service School didn’t last long. Despite Watson’s thoughtfulness at the graduation dinner, providing each of them with a corsage, a box of Whitman’s Samplers, and a carton of cigarettes, he struggled with getting them accepted by the organization.

For whatever reasons, Watson’s warning in his commencement address about his personal interest in seeing the women of Systems Service Class No. 126 succeed was largely disregarded by the organization. Anne later recalled that there were mutterings: “The old man is off his rocker. … These girls won’t last long. … This is a tough man’s organization.”

It certainly was. And Watson was the toughest. When after a few months he still found resistance in the field sales management organization to the meaningful use of the women, he allegedly ordered the dismissal of all but one of the 67 male graduates of Systems Service Class No. 125, the one survivor later recollected in his memoirs. If true, it was a brutal message to the organization, one that accelerated culture change by demonstrating that Watson was extremely serious about growing the role and contributions of women in the company. And even if it wasn’t true, the rumor alone would alert people that their jobs could be on the line if they continued to resist. Anne later recalled that it took about two years before the men of the IBM sales organization decided that the “girls” were here to stay.

Anne’s own road was a little less bumpy. That September, just a month after graduation, Watson again surprised Anne by naming her the Secretary of Education of the Women’s Division. He did so in typical Watson fashion. With her on the dais at a large graduation event, he announced that – completely unbeknownst to her – that he was appointing her to lead women’s education at IBM. Anne later recalled that the shock of the appointment, and of having to give an impromptu acceptance speech in front of 1000 people, actually cured her of a slight stuttering problem she had.

This was a valuable side benefit to her promotion, because Watson had made the new role an executive position … back when there were only a handful of positions at IBM that were considered executive. As a result, she was based in headquarters and attended all the top strategy and policy meetings of the company. The executives didn’t know what to make of Watson’s “great pioneer woman”, and she wasn’t quite sure herself … still just 21-years-old, she didn’t know what her role at these meetings was to be. But she was up to speed on all of IBM’s activities in the era, from the use of IBM equipment in a medical study in Cleveland that identified improper administration of anesthesia as a leading cause of surgical deaths, to the IBM’s fingerprint cards played in the FBI’s search for John Dillinger.

Over the next few years, Anne expanded her role at headquarters. In addition to overseeing the women’s education program, where she traveled extensively recruiting prospective candidates and visiting IBM field locations to oversee the integration of co-ed graduates into office organizations, she became a go-to special projects person for Watson. She researched charitable donation requests, found job placements for disabled graduates of IBM training schools, and helped oversee the staffing at IBM exhibits at the New York World’s Fair and San Francisco Golden Gate Exposition.

Anne also handled social arrangements for IBM customers and other VIPs who visited New York City. Watson took great pride in IBM’s abilities to host visitors, and Anne quickly found a role in that activity. Tall and athletic, with youthful good looks and quick with a joke, she met and attended social events like dinners  at the Waldorf with some of the most famous people in the world – explorer Admiral Richard E. Byrd, airline industry entrepreneur Juan Trippe, New Dealer James Farley, opera star Lawrence Tibbett, and a host of European royalty.

Anne left IBM in 1943 when she married Douglas Coupe, a serviceman. Her post-IBM life is perhaps best left for another blog post. But I’ll leave you a clue about what it would touch on. The NY State Golf Association Senior Women’s Amateur Championship trophy is named the Anne Coupe Cup. So it’s fitting to close here with a quote from Anne as she looked forward optimistically to her career with IBM. “I feel that life offers so much and that the rough spots can be gotten out of with a little courage and a good niblick shot.”

by Paul Lasewicz, IBM Corporate Archivist

by Paul Lasewicz,
IBM Corporate Archivist

IBM’s Pioneering Woman: Anne Van Vechten (Part 1)

Anne Van Vechten, and Thomas J. Watson, Jr., at a Hundred Percent Club meeting.

Anne Van Vechten, and Thomas J. Watson, Sr., at a Hundred Percent Club meeting.

March 8, 2013 is International Women’s Day, and IBM will be sharing some stories from our corporate archives in honor of the event.

On March 24th, 1935, a 21-year-old student of the Katharine Gibbs Secretarial School wrote a letter to IBM CEO Thomas J. Watson, Sr., requesting an interview as part of a class project. Anne S. Van Vechten wanted to ask Watson, then one of the highest salaried business men in America, for advice on her future in business.

Anne had a bit of an in – she had been a classmate of Watson’s daughter Jane both in grade school and at Bryn Mawr College. Still, her timing was impeccable, because the role of women in IBM recently had been on Watson’s mind.

Watson had long been a proponent of women’s rights. In his earlier years, Watson had lived for a time in Rochester, New York, stronghold of noted suffragette Susan B. Anthony, and he recalled on several occasions during the 1930s that he had supported her suffrage movement and was gratified when women received the vote. In 1915, in an address to IBM employees, he expanded his famed ‘man’ employee motivational speech to include “ladies too – all mankind.” And he was good to his word. Women were included among IBM’s earliest Quarter Century Clubs in the mid-1920s. In the fall of 1932, he noted in a company publication that he considered secretaries as acting bosses when their managers were on the road, and that he wanted to find advancement opportunities for these ladies within the IBM organization. And, just two days before Anne wrote asking for an interview, Watson gave a speech at the Career Women of New York City Tribute Dinner, where he spoke about his long interest in the question of women’s rights. It was likely that when he agreed to meet Anne on March 29th, the agenda he had in mind was somewhat different than what Anne expected.

When Anne arrived at the IBM offices at 270 Broadway at 3:00 that Friday afternoon, she was ushered into the library adjoining Watson’s office. While she considered the library unusual, decorated in English prints, she later recalled that what she most remembered about the room was relief that she wouldn’t have to talk across an imposing desk. The meeting lasted about 45 minutes, and the topics of conversation ranged from what qualities Watson looked for in his secretaries to philosophy to religion to family.

Watson was impressed enough with Anne to offer her a job on the spot. He told her that she had inspired an idea for him – he wanted to hire and train 19 more just like her. To do what, he couldn’t – or wouldn’t – say. But, Watson was so committed to this initiative that the very next day, in a speech to the Institute of Women’s Professional Relations, he announced that he planned to hire 19 women to be Systems Service Engineers (SSE).

Anne jumped at the offer, and that summer joined the now 24 other women, who were especially recruited from colleges and universities, in a three-month systems service training class – Systems Service Class No. 126 – at IBM’s Endicott, New York, educational and plant facilities. There the ladies received training on the principles of configuring and operating IBM’s tabulating equipment product line. At the consolidated graduation of the 180 students from the four training schools (including 67 men who comprised Systems Service Class No. 125) that Endicott hosted that summer, Watson proudly proclaimed, “In this school we are pioneering in a new field, that of combining men and women in the development of our sales.  So far as I know,” he continued, “this is the first time such a policy has ever been pursued. We have adopted it because we believe the young women can assist the young men in the development of a bigger, broader and better sales policy.”

And, in a prophetic warning to the men in the audience, students and executives alike, Watson said, “One thing uppermost in my mind this morning is the success of you young women.” Lest anyone doubt the sincerity of that statement, he went on to clarify his personal interest in their success. “What I am most interested in, and what I want all of my associates, not only in the school but in other branches of the business to be interested in, is helping the young women make a success of this work.  It is very, very important, and I know you young ladies will have the cooperation and help of everyone in our business.”

As for Anne, Watson embarrassed her by singling her out in his morning commencement address as his “great pioneer woman,” who – by inspiring him – was responsible for all the women receiving this opportunity to work for IBM. He surprised her by chatting with her for about a half hour at lunch. He further surprised her that evening by having her sit as a guest of honor beside him at his dinner table. Not done with her yet, he then danced the first dance with her – she recalled he was an excellent dancer. Heady stuff for the young lady, who was so thrilled by her day (which included a 7:00 AM golf lesson before the graduation ceremony and an afternoon round of golf afterwards), that she was up at 3:30 in the morning typing a detailed-filled letter to her parents, recounting what she called, “the most exciting day I have ever had in my life.” In just a few months, she wrote, IBM had changed her. “A great turning point was affected (sic) in my life,” she told them. “I became a woman of maturity with something more than joke-telling ability.”

But Watson still wasn’t done surprising her yet.

by Paul Lasewicz, IBM Corporate Archivist

by Paul Lasewicz,
IBM Corporate Archivist

IBM Video Series Celebrates International Women’s Day

iwd_squareInternational Women’s Day is this week: March 8, 2013.

To coincide with this global event, 18 IBMers – of all ages, cultures, and stages of their careers – are talking about IBM values, corporate social responsibility, job opportunities, and flexibility. In these videos, they’re sharing why they love being part of a company that makes the world a better place, with its enduring commitment to diversity (including diversity of thought), and its rigorous focus on innovation.

Check out the video below from IBM Australia:

In this video from IBM Diversity, Sylvie speaks of the opportunities and amenities provided in her time with IBM to promote family and professional achievements. She also shares her insight on how leadership is demonstrated differently when it comes to gender, and says, “Women tend to collaborate more, which can be the signature of a strong leader.”

Some of the events IBM has or will be participating in for 2013 for International Women’s Day:

IBM has also had a long history of supporting and participating in this notable worldwide event. Here’s a few of the past stories and events:

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Greater IBM: How do you plan to celebrate International Women’s Day?

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Additional resources:

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

IBM Vice President, Gill Zhou, Is a Model for Working Women in China (Ad Age)

Gill Zhou, Vice President Marketing, Communications & Citizenship, IBM Greater China Group

Gill Zhou, Vice President Marketing, Communications & Citizenship, IBM Greater China Group

IBM Vice President, Gill Zhou, was recognized as being one of China’s Women to Watch in September 2012 at a gala event sponsored by Ad Age and Thoughtful China.  The recognition cites Gill as being a role model for Chinese women in business, as evidenced by her 760,000 followers on the Chinese micro-blogging service Sina Weibo (now more than 1M+). Gill is quoted in the article as follows: “As a woman leader, I always have to be conscious that we play multiple roles: professional, daughter, daughter-in-law, wife, mother, parent,” says Ms. Zhou, who often accommodates employees’ family needs by granting them flexibility. “It’s never easy.”   Previously in charge of Communications for IBM Asia Pacific, Ms. Zhou took on the role of leading marketing for IBM China in 2012 after driving double digit growth in the region in 2011.

At the gala event, Ms. Zhou had this thought to share with the event attendees:

“My key takeaway out of my 20 years career in the fast changing industry like IT is you have to choose your battles….but once you define your battles, DO IT with an unwavering focus…”

Ms. Zhou has also been recognized by a number of other organizations.  Prior to joining IBM, she worked at Motorola where she received the “Woman Star of Motorola” award for her role in making the company one of the top 10 brands in China (2000).   In 2004, she was recognized as being one of the top 10 women in China’s IT industry in a program sponsored by the All China Women’s Federation, Ministry of Information Industry and China Computerworld, and was also voted one of the Top 50 most influential women in China by Trends magazine.  More recently, she was a keynote speaker at Working Mother magazine’s ‘Global Advancement of Women‘ conference in Shanghai in 2011 where she spoke on Strategies in Building Your Personal Brand.

Read the full story and learn more about Ms. Zhou below, including some video footage from the event:

(Video credit: Thoughtful China Women to Watch Event)

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

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The January 2013 theme for The Greater IBM Connection is ”leadership”, and The Greater IBM Connection will be sharing various tips, tools, stories, and resources on this topic.

IBM Research Chief Scientist for Social Business, Irene Greif, Wins Technical Leadership Award

Irene Greif, IBM Fellow and Chief Scientist for Social Business (Photo Credit:  Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology)

Irene Greif, IBM Fellow and Chief Scientist for Social Business (Photo Credit: Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology)

Irene Greif, IBM Research Fellow and Chief Scientist for Social Business was awarded The Anita Borg Technical Leadership Award at the 12th annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in October, 2012.  The award recognizes and celebrates an outstanding woman technical leader and was established to honor the legacy of Anita Borg, a significant contributor to advances for women in technology and engineering fields. Recipients are women who have inspired the women’s technology community through outstanding technological and social contributions and through leadership have increased the impact of women on technology.  Irene was recognized for founding the research field of CSCW (Computer-Supported Cooperative Work) and her continued leadership championing this kind of interdisciplinary research in the IBM Center for Social Business.  The Center for Social Business is a global effort to focus IBM’s CSCW and Computer-Human Interaction research on the growing opportunities to transform business practices through social technologies such as crowd-sourcing, social analytics, and interactive visualization. The Center has emphasized research based on large scale deployments of new technologies, providing test beds for studies of adoption rates and impact of social media on organizations. As an example, many of the core capabilities of IBM Connections, IBM’s social software for business that provides a collaborative work environment, was developed by the Center.

Irene has also been recognized by a number of other organizations.  She is a fellow of both the Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM).  Irene was inducted into the Women In Technology International (WITI) Hall of Fame in 2000 and awarded the Women Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology Leadership award in 2008.  In 2010, she was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and in 2012 she was elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

A full listing of Irene’s publications can be found here, and she also discusses social business in this video interview with IT columnist Lenny Liebmann.

Read the full story and watch Irene’s acceptance speech below:

(Video credit:  Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology)

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

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The January 2013 theme for The Greater IBM Connection is ”leadership”, and The Greater IBM Connection will be sharing various tips, tools, stories, and resources on this topic.