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.


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



–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.


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)



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

IBM Retirees: Hard to Find Time to Research Your Annual Enrollment Benefit Options?

Who says retirement is quiet? You’re busy and it can be hard to find the time to research the IBM retiree benefit options available to you.

Aetna recognizes how busy you are. To help you learn about the Aetna plan options available through Retiree Health Access (RHA), Aetna has posted a recorded presentation on their IBM RHA dedicated website. You can view this presentation at your convenience. You can stop the presentation, repeat sections or skip to the sections of interest – it’s available 24 x 7.

Remember, IBM annual enrollment period ends on November 16, 2012.

If you have questions or want to learn more, call Aetna at 1-866-795-2091 (TDD: 711).
8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.

When you’re ready make a plan selection, call the IBM Employee Services Center at 1-800-796-9876, 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET*.

TTY: 1-800-426-6537, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET*

* On business days (excluding holidays recognized by the New York Stock Exchange)

Catch Up with The Greater IBM Connection

In this issue:

  • IBM Retirees, Watch your Mailbox for Annual Enrollment Packet Soon
  • The ESC Key – Did You Know an IBMer Made That?
  • Women at IBM in the News
  • Join the Conversation!


IBM Retirees, Watch Your Mailbox for Annual Enrollment Packet Soon

IBM retirees, the annual enrollment period for 2013 is about to begin. This year, the enrollment period begins October 25 and runs until November 16.

Very soon, you’ll receive your packet in the mail. Take the time to thoroughly review your current plan benefits and costs, including the Retiree Health Access (RHA) plan option.

IBM is committed to providing high-value retiree benefits, and continues to offer a wide variety of plan options tailored to your needs. To read more about the available benefit plan options, learn about the advantages of each, and see why many IBM retirees and their Medicare eligible dependents have enrolled in the RHA program, click here.


The ESC Key – Did You Know an IBMer Made That?

It undoubtedly helped drive the computer revolution of the 1970s and ‘80s. “It says to the computer: ‘Stop what you’re doing. I need to take control.’ ”

In other words, it reminds the machine that it has a human master. It’s the Escape key, and it was created by an IBMer.

Read more about the invention and the late Mr. Bob Bremer.


Women at IBM in the News

In case you overlooked the following stories, here are three blog posts that feature one thing in common: the amazing women associated with IBM. Three not to miss:


Join the conversation! Don’t forget to:

  • Like our Facebook page
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Bookmark, visit, and subscribe to this blog
  • Use the hashtags #IBMAlumni and #GreaterIBM in your own Facebook and Twitter posts and get connected!

“You Give, and You Get”: Employers (like IBM) Overseeing an Army of Retiree Volunteers

by Kerry Hannon, The New York Times

Highway sign reading Retirement Next Left

THE day Alan Toney retired from Michelin North America he bought a Triumph Bonneville motorcycle and made a plan to ride on all seven continents.

After nine years, only Antarctica remains on his bucket list.

When Mr. Toney, 72, returned to his home in Greenville, S.C., though, a chance encounter with another Michelin retiree took him somewhere he had never expected. It turned out to be a classroom.

Mr. Toney is a member of his former employer’s Michelin Challenge Education volunteer mentoring program, begun three years ago to help struggling public elementary schools near Michelin’s 14 American plants.

It is one of many corporate-sponsored retiree volunteer programs that are gaining momentum in philanthropy, generating community good will and tax breaks along the way, among other benefits.

For many among the growing legions of baby boom retirees who want to do volunteer work, employer programs like Michelin’s provide ready-made placement services able to put their skills to use.

Short-on-cash schools and understaffed nonprofit groups welcome the trained and vetted expertise these programs provide and would be hard-pressed to create anything like them on their own. Many are, in fact, using volunteers to do jobs previously handled by paid workers.

This is not likely to change soon. Nonprofit groups continue to suffer from cuts in government financing and reductions in aid from donors, according to a report by the Nonprofit Research Collaborative, a project of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and five other organizations. The upshot is that roughly six in 10 of the charities surveyed said that they were “looking to volunteers to make ends meet.”

While no reliable figures are available on how many companies offer retiree volunteer programs, they are a growing trend, according to Jackie Norris, executive director of the nonprofit Points of Light Corporate Institute, which hands out an annual Corporate Engagement Award of Excellence to companies that offer employee and retiree volunteer programs.

Companies like General Electric, I.B.M. and Intel offer grants of $500 to more than $5,000 to support their retirees’ projects, like building a playground at a public school or designing a science exhibit at a small nonprofit museum. Such donations are eligible for tax breaks.

The programs typically provide retirees with a Web site and newsletter listing available projects, as well as a place to post their own proposals, which a corporate screener assesses. Employers act as liaisons to the public schools, or nonprofit groups, to connect retirees with projects.

“For a company, it’s not just the charitable thing to do, it’s also the opportunity to have a great group of brand ambassadors out there in the local community to build good will,” Ms. Norris said.

In South Carolina, where Michelin is based, nearly 20 percent of students leave third grade unable to read at grade level, according to Mick Zais, state superintendent of education. The high school graduation rate in the 2010-11 school year was 73.6 percent.

Michelin’s Challenge Education program pairs employees and retirees with eight elementary schools in the state to make presentations and provide tutoring on a range of subjects, including elementary physics, healthful eating and basic math, science and reading skills.

Mr. Toney, an engineer and former tire production quality manager, spends a couple of hours a week helping disadvantaged 9-year-old boys at East North Street Elementary School.

“I love travel and motorcycles, but in the classroom it comes down to one basic truth,” he said with emotion. “When I see the light come on in a kid’s eyes, and he says, ‘I get it!’ It’s priceless. I feel invested in these kids.”

His wanderlust, however, adds a twist to his tutoring. “I always try to give them a little information about where I’ve been and see if they’ll bite and ask a question,” he said. “Then I pull out a map and try to widen their world a little.”

When he retired three years ago, Ray Creely, 63, a former director of I.B.M. business consulting services, jumped right into the company’s On Demand Community program. With support from I.B.M. and National Geographic, he helped create a curriculum for a high school in a low-income area of St. Louis to help students understand their origins through a genome project. In conjunction with the University of Missouri, St. Louis, Mr. Creely started a summer science camp for 30 high school sophomores from low-income urban areas.

“I want to help students stay engaged in school and think about their future,” said Mr. Creely, who volunteers 10 to 15 hours a week. “My wife has been known to say, ‘Did you forget you’re retired?’ But I’m not one to sit back and play golf all the time.”

Mr. Creely is one of more than 16,000 I.B.M. retiree volunteers, a number that has more than quadrupled since the program began in 2004. On Demand is a Web-based portal with more than 5,000 projects listed. It also has educational tools for volunteers, like video presentations and training materials, for instance, on how to teach students in the sciences, as well as ways to bolster literacy, build robots and help with disaster recovery.

I.B.M. volunteers who log 40 hours or more of service in a calendar year at an eligible school or nonprofit organization can apply for a $500 cash grant for the institution. Depending on the number of hours they volunteer the use of I.B.M.’s educational offerings, they can apply for $3,000 grants for the institution. To encourage groups, $3,000 grants are also offered for projects with 25 or more volunteers involved. I.B.M. will award a total of more than $4 million in community grants this year, said Diane Melley, vice president for I.B.M.’s Global Community Initiatives.

Related: Volunteering and IBM

The Intel Retiree Organization was created in 2008 to connect with more than 5,000 retirees worldwide. The Intel Foundation matches the time employees and American retirees spend volunteering in schools and nonprofits with a cash donation. Retirees can gain access to volunteer resources and read about volunteers’ experiences on the retiree organization’s Web site.

General Electric’s Elfun volunteer program has about 30,000 members; about half are retirees, working in 28 chapters around the country, according to Janine Rouson, the program’s executive director. G.E. also provides money though the GE Foundation for a wide range of retiree volunteer efforts.

Universities are also stepping up programs involving their retirees. Cornell’s Encore programs include part-time paid employment opportunities at Cornell that can often be done remotely from anywhere in the country and two volunteer options. One unites retirees and current employees who need their expertise for a project. The other connects retirees to local and national volunteer opportunities run through the university, as well as local agencies in the cities where they live.

“We realized that there would be a significant number of our employees retiring in the next 10 years, and that was a lot of knowledge we’d be losing,” says Lynette Chappell-Williams, who manages the Encore programs.

Three years ago, Karin Ash, 62, retired as career development director at Cornell. She is still on campus, though. She and her Cavachon dog, Walnut, volunteer through Cornell Companions, a pet visitation program sponsored by the College of Veterinary Medicine. Volunteers and their pets visit children with disabilities and patients at hospitals and nursing homes.

Ms. Ash logs in a few hours a week at the child care center on campus and helps at a local independent movie theater and the public library. “I like doing a little bit of everything,” she said. “I can be as active as I want to be, and the Encore program puts it all out there for us to pick and choose. It’s a joy. You give, and you get.”


Greater IBMers who’ve retired: tell us YOUR story! What has retirement given you the time to do?