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.

Working Mother Magazine Ranks IBM in the Top 10 of the 100 Best Companies

from the October / November 2012 issue

Logo of Working Mother magazineThe Working Mother 100 Best Companies know what it takes to keep their employee moms productive and engaged both at work and at home.

The 2012 Working Mother 100 Best Companies consider employee moms such valuable assets, they don’t stop at offering flexibility and nurturing leadership potential (great as these benefits are). Our winners also find innovative ways to promote wellness by offering fitness amenities, comprehensive health plans, stress reduction and other programs. We salute these Best Companies, which recognize the immense power of healthy working moms.

See the full list

The Top 10

How does IBM stack up?

Employees: 441,912*

Women: 30 %

Headquarters: Armonk, New York

It’s a Fact!
At IBM, expectant moms get 6 fully paid weeks off to deliver and bond with their infants, while birth fathers and adoptive parents receive 2 fully paid weeks of leave, and there’s up to $2,500 in adoption aid per child.

What We Love
Women are 23% of all corporate executives at this technology company, and two thirds of those who hold these positions worldwide are mothers. Among their ranks is Jeanette Horan, the company’s first female chief information officer and a mom of two who earned her position in 2011. Following in her footsteps are thousands of women who fill the pipeline for top business and technical roles, with talented candidates taking steps toward success in programs such as NextGen (for future leaders) and TechGen (for technical specialists), both offering mentoring, executive coaching and development opportunities. The company boasts more than 50 global councils and networks for women and works intently to promote their advancement through ties with organizations such as the Society for Women Engineers and Women in Technology International.

President & CEO Ginni M. Rometty

Senior VP, HR Randy MacDonald

Women managers/execs 28%

Women hires in 2011 25%

Average weeks of fully paid maternity leave offered 6

Offers paid paternity leave? Yes

Offers paid adoption leave? Yes

Women in affinity groups in 2011 Not tracked

Offers backup child care? Yes

Employees working flexibly 100%

It’s a Fact!:
At IBM, expectant moms get 6 fully paid weeks off to deliver and bond with their infants, while birth fathers and adoptive parents receive 2 fully paid weeks of leave, and there’s up to $2,500 in adoption aid per child.

Leadership Insights from Raeleen Medrano, Vice President of Finance for IBM North America

(from Women at IBM, Facebook)

Meet Raeleen Medrano and read what she has to say about making a difference in her global career, tackling problems outside your comfort zone, and achieving the all-important work life balance

What made you decide to work for IBM?

IBM's Raeleen Medrano

IBM’s Raeleen Medrano

I joined IBM (in Australia) because it was a large international company and I believed I would have the opportunity to work in many different areas and would have the chance to use what I’d learned in gaining my degree.  Now, twenty-six years later, what makes me stay at IBM is very much the same – the opportunity to work on a global scale, and really apply my financial know-how to drive business performance.  I feel like I can make a difference every day at IBM, and no two days are the same.

Have you had any valuable mentors or sponsors?  How have they helped you in your career?

My mentors and sponsors really have made a difference in my career.  They helped me understand the scope of career opportunity at IBM, and helped me believe in myself, and sponsored me for opportunities – they helped me  and others believe that I could take on greater career challenges and be successful.  They’ve also been there for me when I needed business advice – for example,  how to tackle a problem in an area outside my normal scope. Just recently, one of my very first formal mentors, helped me with a client situation.  Being in finance, we’re not dealing with clients on a regular basis, and it was really important that I got this particular contact right – my mentor helped me prepare, and helped me role play with the questions the client was likely to ask me about the business.  It really made a difference by giving me greater confidence in tackling a conversation where I wasn’t in my comfort zone.

Can you describe an interesting project?

Beginning last year, I’ve had the tremendous opportunity to work on a project to better understand how IBM can be successful in Africa.  It has been a terrific learning experience and has given me the opportunity to build on my leadership skills and work with other IBMers on what actions we can take as a company to drive profitable growth in an extremely exciting and emerging market.  We gained hands on experience in Africa, and established many new relationships – both inside and outside IBM.

Has IBM provided you with any unique work-life integration solutions?

I’ve been a “working mother” at IBM now for almost twenty years.  I’ve learned many solutions to managing work-life integration, and I’ve found IBM to be an excellent partner in that journey.  I’ve always found my managers to be very supportive, and also the line leaders that I’ve supported over the years.  One of the cool things about achieving work-life integration at IBM is the fact that when you strive for it, it usually enables others to do the same.  When I’ve needed to attend to matters outside IBM, for example attending my daughter’s soccer games, I let my team know that I trust them to cover things for me while I’m away.  Not only does this help me cover work while I’m gone, it let’s my team know I have confidence in them too.  It also let’s them know it’s OK to do the same – and that I’ll cover for them, and they cover for each other when they need time away from the office as well.  It creates a positive teaming environment, and everyone feels like they can get the things done that are important to them – inside and outside the office.

What makes you proud to be an IBMer?

There are many things that make me proud to be an IBMer – and one of the most important is the foundation of integrity that we have at IBM.  It makes me feel very proud to know that IBM will always insist on doing the right thing, and really make a positive difference in society.  Our clients, shareholders and employees can all count on that – and that’s very important.

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–Posted by Regan Kelly

Share your comments below – how have you achieved balance with your career in your life?