Greater IBMers Love Animals

Greater IBMers are passionate people, with a wide range of interests.  When we posted this question to the members of our LinkedIn Group – “What’s the most interesting thing you do in your non-work life?” – it quickly turned into one of the most popular discussions we’ve seen, generating close to 200 comments.

In this discussion thread, several Greater IBMers shared with the group their love of animals and caring for the earth’s creatures. Among our group members, we have one alpaca farmer, an owner of a petting zoo, several animal rescuers, and a marine life surveyor, to name a few. There’s even one Greater IBMer who had the privilege of meeting Jane Goodall through her work with the Wolf Conservation Center.

Read some of the amazing animal stories that Greater IBMers have shared with us:

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

What are you talking about lately?

Here’s a quick snapshot of what YOU have been talking about for the week of July 11-19, 2012.

Transition to Retirement – Retirement Really?  You are really going to RETIRE? 21
The 25 Best Tech Companies to Work for in 2012 14
Are you creative?  Check out this IBMer who is also a syndicated cartoonist 11
Taken a beach vacation recently #IBMalumni?  239
Greater IBM Connection added a new photo  211
The world’s #1 fastest supercomputer 136

–Posted by Julie Yamamoto, Program Manager, and Regan Kelly, Editor, The Greater IBM Connection

Former IBM Researcher has made two trips into space

Astronaut Julie Payette is an old hand at space travel. She returned (safely) from her second mission in the NASA space shuttle program when Endeavour landed safely July 31 at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.  Julie served as flight engineer and mission specialist in charge of operating the main robotic arm during the spacewalks around the International Space Station.

Julie’s a Montreal, Canada, native and worked in 1991 as a visiting scientist in the Communications Science Department of IBM Research – Zurich. Julie Peyette space shuttle Trained as a computer scientist, she had worked as a system engineer with IBM Canada (1986-88).

In a recent interview, said she was particularly struck by the changes in the space station in the decade since her first trip.

“The space station was really small (then) – only two modules, nobody on board and the very beginning of construction,” said Payette, who was the first Canadian to visit the station in 1999.

“Ten years later, we have an incredible outpost: the size of two football fields, six people living on board, the capacity to do first-class research in microgravity.”

Julie joined the space program in June 1992, when The Canadian Space Agency selected her from 5,330 applications. She was chief astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency from 2000 to 2007. She is a trained pilot, speaks six languages and is married with two children.

You can watch this video to learn more about Julie or read her bio.

Congratulations, Julie.

Larry07 SD Submitted by Larry Phipps, Greater IBMer (Kansas City, Washington, DC/Rockville, Atlanta, White Plains, Somers)

Funny Memories at IBM

WomanoverwallsmallEvery IBM office has its unique character — and its own characters. My recollection is there were some pretty funny things that happened as we "leaped over tall buildings," pulled out all the stops to deliver, or just made it through a turbulent year. When I found this picture, I laughed right out loud, remembering one funny day, when a bunch of us put in the extra effort to respond to customers and laughed until we cried.

Where I worked, IBM was a well-known landmark in the midst of a bustling metropolitan business center. There were floors and floors of IBM. Our office had a H.U.G.E. bullpen. It was full of desks with phones ringing off the hook and salesmen with flying ties rushing in and out and IBM women with their arms full of technical manuals, day-timer calendars and a whole lot of navy blue. I’ll let you guess the year.  LOL

We had a spirited receptionist who kept the whole crew on track. If anyone was looking for anything, she probably had it — and if you asked for it too soon, she would let you know in a meaningful way — "Look I have your proposal," she would say, "It is right here in my ‘what-is-it folder’ and when I figure out what-it-is, you’ll get it back. Now, go sit down." She kept us all laughing.

One day, her switchboard went out early in the day. No one could come to fix it until the end of the day. So the only way to answer the phones was for her to run around to all the individual desks to take a message (imagine life before voicemail, email, cell, text messages, live chat…). We all tried to help, dashing here, then across the room, over a desk. She did have a creative flair for solving problems and was not afraid to make sure we did our part.

At lunch time, she went home and came back with three pairs of her kids shoe skates slung over her shoulder. Yes — and three of us laced up those skates and flew from desk to desk to greet the IBM customers on the other end of the phone line.

How about you?

Have a funny story to tell? 

Click here to share a comment or tell your story.

Have you signed up for the Greater IBM Connection?


Dk_for_skypesmlerDebbe Kennedy
Contributing Author
Greater IBM Connection
Founder, President & CEO

Global Dialogue Center and Leadership Solutions Companies
IBMer 1970 – 1991 L.A.; Anchorage; Seattle; San Francisco

How do you know an IBMer when you see one?

DartssmSince joining Greater IBM, I keep running into IBMers unexpectedly. We’re everywhere!

Case in Point:
Last week, I was at a meeting with two collaborative business partners. One of the partners is new and is joining us for a creative role in an innovative project. The two key players came to meet us personally, so we could explore how the three organizations would work together to fulfill the vision and goals for this joint venture.

Both of our new colleagues were impressive! It was obvious we had the right people. I was particularly taken with the woman, who will be working in the role of "managing director" of the creative process. She had a confidence, a command of the proposed plan, a recall of detail, and a passionate spirit that made you know she was delivering on every promise she made.

Near the close of the meeting, some reference was made that I had worked for IBM. With that news, her face lit up, "I worked for IBM, too!" she said with great pride. We had fun talking about our careers and I introduced her to the Greater IBM Connection.

I know I saw in her qualities that are not uncommon to IBMers and we appear to be spreading our influences out in the world everywhere. I’ve started asking questions wherever I go, because this same occurence has happened three times this month. Imagine when all of us arrive here at the Greater IBM Connection.

So, how do you know an IBMer when you see one?

Do you see qualities  we have in common?


Dk_for_skypesmlerDebbe Kennedy
Contributing Author
Greater IBM Connection
Founder, President & CEO

Global Dialogue Center and Leadership Solutions Companies
IBMer 1970 – 1991 L.A.; Anchorage; Seattle; San Francisco

The Machinimania Challenge Review – A Second Life Filmmaking contest for Greater IBMers

You will remember that last year we set Greater IBMers a challenge to create a 2-min video promoting Greater IBM, using Second Life.  ‘Machinima’ is the ability to create films inside of virtual worlds, or 3D film-making.  This challenge for The Greater IBM Connection was to create a short (less than two minutes) video trailer about Greater IBM that would explain the network and some of its main features, using the 3D virtual world Second Life.  The videos had to be produced by a team of 2-4 people from The Greater IBM network, and teams had to include at least one alumni IBMer and one current IBMer.  Teams received some support tools, including ‘The Art of Machinima’ book & CD, and there were some training sessions in Second Life to share tips and ideas.  The prizes offered were as follows:

First prize:  An Archos
AV500 mobile digital video recorder.

Second prize:  A Fabjectory model of their Second Life

Third prize:  A
$25 Amazon gift certificate

The judging criteria emphasized innovation, concepts and storyline rather than editing skills, to make the challenge accessible to all.  A recap of the final awards ceremony follows.

On Friday, we held an awards ceremony to reward the winners followed by an afterparty featuring a disco and Theme Park.

We started the event with the video intro which one of the teams had kindly prepared for us.

People started arriving in “I Auditorium” on the IBM innovation islands over an hour before the event started.  The dress code was smart, so many people had gone out and bought virtual tuxedos and ball gowns.  As we started, we welcomed the finalists up the red carpet with a round of applause and then watched their videos on the big screens we’d setup.

Next, I pulled out a golden envelope with the results in and announced the winners.

The winners were (click to watch their videos):
1st Lets Connect
2nd The New World
3rd Introduction to Greater IBM and Second Life

A kind attendee posted this video of the event from their perspective here!  Thank you!

Here’s some of the snapshots I took of the event and afterparty:

Finalists watch their videos on the big screen.

The crowd in IBM 7.  Note that people a long way away are not drawn.

The afterparty disco…  Boris on decks…

As part of the GreaterLand Theme Park, Timeless Prototype kindly placed his replica of the London Eye for us.

Bumper Cars at dawn!

162 people attended the premier – a record for a single location IBM event.

Thanks for all the kind comments from everyone, including the nice
people over at Eightbar.