A Greater IBM…(A Virtual Book Club)

It’s nice to reminisce about the IBM of years ago. I have many cherished memories that stay with me. It was different. It also wasn’t perfect. There were struggles and deeply felt changes—and big giant transitions that shook the very soul of it all. Sound familiar? What I remember most in 21 years is that it taught me that things were most fun when they were dynamic — in the constant state of renewal and IBM became very good at reinventing itself and taught many of us how to do ourselves.

Today, the IBM’s global strategy, new products and services, and IBM’s continued leadership, reveal the new promise in the future and a whole new host of opportunities. Additionally, I personally see a more open, friendlier, more hip IBM. The Greater IBM Connection is a good example. It is hard to imagine if the old IBM would ever have built a business and social network that included current and past IBMers — "outsiders!” And an innovative IBM Business Center at Second Life? Can’t imagine it!

DebbedaeOn July 18, I had a chance to personally experience this new hip IBM first-hand at an event that was hosted by Greater IBM. It had some very special attributes. First, it reflected IBM’s world-renown pioneering spirit. It demonstrated global collaboration and leading-edge technology that brought Greater IBMers together across the world. It also was a shining example of an act of pure kindness and consideration I will never forget.

Greater IBM hosted a "virtual book party" for me at IBM’s Business Center at Second Life to help me celebrate the release of my new book. It was a perfect reflection of a putting-our-differences-to-work experience. There were a few IBM Second Life experts mentoring and teaching as this grand experiment came to life. At the helm was a master IBM Intern, Esteban (from El Salvador) leading the way for everyone. For the most part, it was a group of pioneering innovators from our Greater IBM community across the world showing up to step inside a new way to experience connecting with one another. Adventuresome. Curious. Willing to explore — willing to be vulnerable to go where you might not be an expert. That is what it took.

Gibmdkbookparty2We all had to learn how to operate in this 3-D environment — how to show-up, invest ourselves, talk with one another, experiment with dialogue, and have a  party with free-Putting Our Differences to Work-T-shirts they made for the day, refreshments, and even learning to dance. Imagine that!!!

Flor Estevez, Greater IBM Operations Manager and Producer hosted the event (at the mic). Add to that special guests speakers, Mike Wing, IBM VP of Strategic Communications, J.T. (Ted) Childs, former IBM VP, Global Workforce Diversity, and futurist and filmmaker, Joel A. Barker. All three of them, along with Greater IBM, are featured in my book as exemplary leaders of innovation in the art of putting differences to work. Each of them helped to seed the beginning of a conversation. Most of all, seeing Greater IBMers gather from places around the world to be there to share the conversation and experience was truly moving.

It was a special gathering of firsts for everyone at a Greater IBM! History recorded it…and it touched my heart! Thank you!

Did you attend? What was your experience?

Have you joined our growing Greater IBM community? Learn more here…

We’ve got some new events coming up you won’t want to miss!


Dkatdesk2Debbe Kennedy
Contributing Author
Greater IBM Connection
Founder, President & CEO
Global Dialogue Center and
Leadership Solutions Companies
author, Putting Our Differences to Work
IBMer 1970 – 1991 L.A.; Anchorage; Seattle; San Francisco