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:


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


Additional resources:


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

Lost in Translation: Best Practices for Working with Global Teams

By Radhika Emens, WITI.com258

As today’s leaders strive to make the best use of technology and communication platforms to conduct business globally, working in global teams is increasingly prevalent. It’s easy to see the upside – as a U.S. team sleeps at night, for example, a global team can be working diligently elsewhere throughout their own normal business hours, maximizing ’round-the-clock productivity. But managing and working with global teams presents many challenges. You must have a strategy that builds:

  • Awareness of cultural and other diversity
  • Understanding and collaboration through team building
  • Communication and listening skills to prevent confusion and conflict

Read the rest here – including the best practices you need to succeed!

In Campus Recruitment, IBM India Hires More Women than Men for IT

by Sujit John & Shilpa Phadnis, The Times of India

BANGALORE: In a landmark for the IT industry, maybe for most industries, IBM India has this year hired more women than men during its campus recruitment. This is significant because it’s happened in an industry where mass recruitment is the norm.

Of the campus recruitments done by IBM India till June, 52% were women — a quantum leap from the 38% in 2011 and 32% in 2010. IBM doesn’t disclose the numbers it hires, but large IT companies in India have hired over 30,000 people in recent years. Of these, about 70% have been campus hires.

Of the 265 engineers SAP Labs India hired this year, 42% are women, up from 34% last year. For Cisco India, the figure is 22% this year, down from last year’s 25%, but significantly higher than 16% in 2010.

The significant jump in the number of women hired by leading IT firms is remarkable especially because, as IBM’s recruitment leader for India Vardanahalli A Rangarajan notes, the average admission of women across engineering colleges in India is just 18%. Most companies have been working with placement cells in colleges to achieve these high numbers.

IBM says a major reason is awareness about facilities offered to women employees. “Our flexible work policies, the workfrom-home option, the ability to customize working hours are big attractions,” says Kalpana Veeraraghavan, diversity manager in IBM India.

Rangarajan says IBM has many women role models, including CEO Virginia Rometty.

SAP Labs targets the few women’s engineering colleges, including the Cummins Engineering College, Pune, and Meenakshi Engineering College, Chennai. It also conducts an online recruitment test for women across all engineering colleges on International Women’s Day. “It’s for women doing computer science and with a CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average) of about 8. This year, 3,000 took the test. We flew in over 200 women to Bangalore for the final interviews, and selected 45,” says Anil Warrier, director for staffing, SAP Labs.

For the past five years, Cisco has been organizing every year a programme called Girls in Technology, where about 100 engineering graduates are invited to the company’s campus in Bangalore and exposed to the labs, work environment and culture.

Protima Achaya, Cisco’s lead for scaling services staffing in Asia-Pacific and Japan, says flexible workhours and excellent creche facilities are big attractions . “The number of women who join Cisco after this programme has been increasing every year. Such recruits tend to stay on for long,” she adds.

Accenture doesn’t disclose its women recruitment numbers. However, a spokesperson told TOI: “We have exclusive campus engagement programmes for women. We have Diversity Zones, a campus event which talks about several aspects of working at Accenture. Students get an opportunity to interact with senior women leadership and young achievers, who share their experiences about working at Accenture and how they are able to manage the work-life balance.”
At HCL Technologies, the overall percentage of women is almost 25, but the campus recruitment percentage is only 12. However, Srimathi Shivashankar , AVP for diversity and sustainability, says the percentage has been steadily rising and HCL has women-focused recruitment drives.

It’s increasingly acknowledged that diversity at the workplace is not only good in itself, but also has a profound influence on the operations of an organization. “Numerous studies show that increasing gender equality enhances productivity and economic growth. The best ideas flourish in a diverse environment, and companies benefit from accessing female talent,” Shivashankar says.

Adds IBM’s Kalpana Veeraraghavan : “When you mirror external reality at the workplace, employees feel more at home, and they behave more naturally. And that environment enables us to access a lot more talent.” At IBM, the overall percentage of women still remains about 28%, but the most recent initiatives suggest that the number could quickly rise to the ideal 50%.


LEADERSHIP: Impossible until it is done











Have you seen INVICTUS? I went to see it a second time last week and felt compelled to write about my experience of it, primarily because too few have seen it. Unfortunately, it seemed to be overshadowed by the captivating AVATAR and other holiday escapes.

The film is an uplifting true story about Nelson Mandela’s remarkable leadership. You get a front row seat to witness a leader as he invites a nation to EXPERIENCE the “end he has in mind” he holds for their rise to greatness. Morgan Freeman received a well-deserved nomination for a Golden Globe and also an Oscar for his portrayal of South African President Nelson Mandela — a role, reportedly, Mandela himself chose for Mr. Freeman. It is moving and memorable.

It seems during a time when so much is messed up in both business and society, INVICTUS should be required watching for all leaders and aspiring leaders and anyone interested in creating a better world and society than we know today. Although, the movie chronicles a sports event, it is about something far bigger and richer — it is about people struggling and questioning one another. Kicking and screaming at first, but coming around again. Coming together. Doing their part. Lifting themselves up and everyone and everything around them. Experiencing the miracle that comes when we UNITE in a kind of oneness that suits our humanity well. As I watched, I flashed on times in my life and work, when I felt this same rush. A few of those were flashbacks from my career at IBM when a team of us reached inside ourselves to do something far greater than we thought was possible.

Before watching the film, I wished I had known both the words of the poem by heart and the story behind it. 

by William Ernest Henley, 1875 

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

This is the movie trailer that, frankly, doesn’t do the film justice, but it will give you a glimpse out of context…


I wrote down three lessons that were validated in this timely film…

1. SEE DIFFERENCES DIFFERENTLY. Master seeing DIFFERENCES differently so you can see through the eyes of those who are essential to CHANGE — especially, if they are your “enemies.” Understanding what matters to them and genuinely caring about it is important. It sets you free to authentically do your important work.

2. INVEST IN KNOWING YOUR PEOPLE. If you want people to follow you, teaching them to believe in themselves first makes it easier. To do this, invest in knowing and caring about who they are. Then demonstrate mutual trust and respect with every day-to-day opportunity afforded to you.

3. THE POWER OF “THE EXPERIENCE.” Helping people experience “the end in mind” — even for a short while — makes it easier to take the leader’s vision to the next level, step-by-step. It shows people they are in charge of their destiny.

“It always seems impossible until it is done.”
— Nelson Mandela

I hope you see it and stop by to share what you saw in INVICTUS from your vantage point.

Photo Credit:
One of seven paintings of special leadership influences that hang above my desk. They look over me as I work, always encouraging me to keep moving ever onward. Original oil painting by Sally K. Green.


A-debbe-dec-2009-sm Debbe Kennedy
Contributing author
Greater IBM Connection Blog
Co-Founder, GIBM Women’s
International Network for

Founder, President & CEO
Global Dialogue Center and
Leadership Solutions Companies
BOOK: author,
Putting Our Differences to Work
The Fastest Way to Innovation, Leadership, and High Performance
IBMer 1970 – 1991 L.A.; Anchorage; Seattle; San Francisco
Twitter:@debbekennedy   @onlinedialogues

A Global Candy Store

IBM - apparently, like a candy store

When my friend Suzanne Minassian-Livingston described IBM as “like a candy store” at last year’s Web 2.0 Expo conference in Berlin it immediately struck a chord with me; and I’ve reused her slide (based on a Creative Commons-licensed image from a Flickr contributor) many times over the last year.

One of the things I’ve learned about the company I work for (particularly as a result of getting involved with social software, networks and communities both internally and externally) is the massive diversity the organisation has and the enormous strength that it delivers. It’s a diversity that is constantly being refreshed as new acquisitions are made and new thinking and innovation joins the existing talent pool. It’s a diversity that’s reflected not only in the global nature of the business, but also in the different areas in which the company is engaged – from hardware, software, services, methodologies, research, all kinds of cool thinking. It seems lately that almost every day I meet someone new who has something different to share with me.

Yesterday I was presenting to a customer about what IBM has been doing internally with social networks, and how we collaborate both internally and externally. That brought me back to the diversity slide – the sweet shop, the candy store. What was really cool about that was that it enabled me to tell the story of how I’d widened my network internally, and began to reach out to people across the organisation – making friends in Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Delhi, all over the world as well as around the UK, and from all different areas of the business. One of the things that I learned as part of the briefing the IBM team delivered yesterday was about IBM’s green strategy and Project Big Green – I’d heard about it before and been excited, but I learned a lot from one of our VPs about a number of different client stories where value and environmental improvements have been delivered.

It’s just incredibly exciting. That, and that the fact that there’s always something new to learn, coupled with the rich cultural diversity and the enormous amount of trust that I feel that the organisation places in its employees, is really what makes it such an enjoyable place to work, and that I believe makes it a really strong organisation.

Andy Piper, social bridgebuilder, IBM Hursley

Home: | Twitter: @andypiper

What New Skills Do We Need to be The Game Changers?

8-1-2009 3-25-36 PM-GIBMers4 Inspired by the possibilities Sam Palmisano introduced to the world in his speech, SMARTER PLANET: The Next Leadership Agenda, Greater IBMers across the world have been meeting up ONLINE to learn, exchange ideas, and discover how we can get involved. We’ve learned we share a keen interest in becoming one of those leaders and innovators that Sam Palmisano described as those that will “change the game” in creating a more sustainable planet on many fronts. Most recently, we’ve delved into leadership and diversity in our changing economy, the crisis of health care, and on August 5, we’ll be exploring new intiatives related to WATER, the lifeblood of our planet.

8-1-2009 4-59-51 PM--WATER


The Business of WATER
A Thirst for Smarter Management

Conversation with executive guest…
Sharon Nunes, IBM Vice President, Big Green Innovations

ONLINE EVENT  |  WEDNESDAY, August 5, 2009
1 PM – 2 PM  US Eastern Daylight Time
Login/phone details to attend are included.

What new skills do we need to be the game changers?
The graphic at the top of this post includes an amazing list of leadership qualities. These were collected from the over 490 Greater IBMers that registered for our event, LEADERSHIP and DIVERSITY in a CHANGING ECONOMY in June 2009. THE QUESTION: We asked each person to name one quality that distinguished them as a leader and innovator. When you look at the entire list of distinguishing qualities, you realize that GREATER IBMERS are a powerful resource prepared to change the world. As you read through the list, I’m certain you will also see yourself in those qualities.

So, who are these game changers?
How can YOU be among them?
What role does CURIOSITY play?

I keep learning through my work with people all over the world that it is essential for leaders and innovators to develop a much keener interest in people than we are used to having even at IBM — particularly in people that are different that we are. You’ve got to learn to look beyond the words on a resume, the preconceived limitations we see in others, how someone looks, and seek to discover the full array of DIFFERENCES, knowledge, know-how, values, and unique talents that others possess. This means questioning our habits and learning to SEE DIFFERENCES DIFFERENTLY. Related blog post you might enjoy: CURIOSITY: The 21st Century Differentiator

Hope you’ll join us! Learn more. Share your voice. Get inolved! Together, we can change the world in ways we can’t imagine. 

“…I believe we will see new leaders emerge who win not by surviving the storm, but by changing the game.”
Sam Palmisano, IBM Chairman and CEO


6-24-2009 BLOG60 Debbe Kennedy
Contributing Author
Greater IBM Connection Blog
Co-Founder, GIBM Women’s
International Network for

Founder, President & CEO
Global Dialogue Center and
Leadership Solutions Companies
Putting Our Differences to Work
Video Book Review by futurist Joel A. Barker
IBMer 1970 – 1991 L.A.; Anchorage; Seattle; San Francisco
Twitter: @debbekennedy   @onlinedialogues

LEADERSHIP and DIVERSITY Gathering with IBM VP Ron Glover


We continue to prove the value of the Greater IBM Connection each time we find a way to gather across the world. Last week, we did it again!

Over 490 IBMers past and present from 28 countries signed up to meet each other ONLINE at an appointed time and place to participate in a conversation with IBM Vice President of Diversity & Workforce Programs, Ron Glover. Our purpose in meeting was to explore the topic of LEADERSHIP and DIVERSITY in a CHANGING ECONOMY.

We started the dialogue by first learning a little about who showed up. This seemed to create a sense we were connected in the distance. We had a chance to plot ourselves on a world map, shared why we were drawn to be there in a POLL, and got a glimpse of how we had described our unique roles in life and work. When each of us registered for the event, we also were asked to identify one DISTINGUISHING QUALITY we had as leaders or innovators. We shared the list with everyone. It had hundreds of unique expressions— a little peer-to-peer sharing across cultures and twenty-eight countries. Nice!

Ron Glover spent the first hour with us and generously offered his stories and insights. We had received hundreds of questions from participants at registration. Our Greater IBM WIN-L Co-Founders, Cécile Demailly (France), Shara Sokol (New York), and Jane Scandurra (New York), joined me to field the questions submitted. The questions covered four key themes: Ron’s LEADERSHIP JOURNEY, his thoughts on BEING A LEADER, the status of DIVERSITY at IBM in this changing economy, and Ron’s SEND-OFF for us. We hung out together for another thirty minutes or so to discuss questions, reflect on what we learned, and share stories and perspectives.

As a Greater IBMer, I admit I was honored to have the opportunity to welcome IBMers past and present to our Global Dialogue Center ONLINE Conference Center and experience the power of connecting in still another way. As someone reflected on the event: “This was a one of a kind opportunity to connect with IBMERS from so many parts of the world and with so many views.” 

We captured the highlights of this global Greater IBM gathering at the Global Dialogue Center.
We invite you to share in the experience too…

It meant a lot to me be involved in this event. It was a special gathering that emerged through the Greater IBM Women’s Network for Leadership (GIBM WIN-L) from other online experiences we created together. It was produced in partnership with the Greater IBM Connection team. Together — Ron Glover, everyone who shared in this gathering, and our global team — we created a moment in time that would not have been possible at one time…a memorable one!

From the reflective writings of those attending…

“It’s very nice to have the opportunity to share ideas among all levels. It’s not very common in other companies to have this kind of opportunity.”

“…it is nice to see so many locations working to make the world and IBM a better place.”


6-24-2009 BLOG-gibm

Debbe Kennedy
Contributing Author
Greater IBM Connection Blog
Co-Founder, GIBM Women’s
International Network for

Founder, President & CEO
Global Dialogue Center and
Leadership Solutions Companies
Putting Our Differences to Work
Video Book Review by futurist Joel A. Barker
IBMer 1970 – 1991 L.A.; Anchorage; Seattle; San Francisco