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


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:



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

Announcing IBM South Africa Alumni Group

The Greater IBM Connection and the IBM South Africa team are pleased to announce the launch of the new South Africa 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 Recruiting team in South Africa, led by Natasha Pillay-Bemath.

To join the South Africa group sub-community:

  • You must first join the global Greater IBM Connection community here.
  • Then request to join the South Africa 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

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