Mary Kolbenschlag
August 2017

Growth and Comfort don't co-exist

If you hadn’t known better, we looked like a choir getting ready to break out in song. Fifty of us stood together nervously waiting for our CEO to join us to take a picture. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a beautiful tall blond woman running towards us. As she ran (yes ran) with her admins close behind, my first thought was “would a male CEO run towards waiting employees”? I think we all know the answer but I prefer not to comment further. Ginni Rometty was smiling ear to ear, and profusely apologizing “I’m so sorry, I was with the President, and when it’s the president, you wait until you’re excused”. It was 2013, and the President was Barack Obama. The meeting was an urgent request to help with the floundering healthcare website another company had created.

I also recall on 9/11, IBM and its team of technology gurus as well as our CEO meeting around the clock with the president, George W Bush. Many people are not aware that our government trusts and depends on the CEOs of technology companies (and others) to keep us safe and secure. In fact, CEOs and their leadership teams spend a lot of time and resources with our government leaders advising, enabling, protecting, monitoring and modernizing systems for our safety and security. These CEOs are our government’s trusted advisors.

I’m a fan of Ginni Rometty. I’ve seen her speak many times, I met her & she forever won my heart (and mind) when she pronounced my last name right and recognized me for doing a good job. I read and listen to almost everything she puts out. It’s just good stuff!

Here’s a few of her recent gems (I’d encourage you to listen to Ginni's interview with David Rubenstein)

On her first day as CEO, she said “what an honor it was and responsibility”. Leading a 106 year old company is about being a ‘steward’.

“IBM is great but for a reason you didn’t mention” we reinvent ourselves over and over and we will again and again. “The art of reinvention is in our DNA

Sadly, her father left her mother with 4 kids. She was “intent on not letting others define who she was”. She didn’t use that as an excuse to limit herself. Her mom went to college at night and taught Ginni and her three siblings “never let a situation define who you are

The importance of networking. Her husband called an IBM friend and got her an interview.

The value of mentors “Mentor: I’m going for a job (promotion) and you’re going to take my job”

Her view on adaptability: “Growth and comfort don’t co-exist. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable”

On gender bias “IBM is the most inclusive company I know” (I would agree). Ginni does understand the importance in being a female role model on appropriate things. Understands the notion that many women want to SEE what they can Be. It’s hard to dream to be something when you don’t see others like you. She said a lot more… (teaser to listen to it)

There will be another reinvention of IBM. They are champions of business. The gold is in the data & artificial intelligence.

We’ve (IBM) made a conscious effort to keep women in the workforce.

“I’m not retiring, my work is not done….We help society make itself better”

Recently: A series of meetings Ginni has been involved with is focused on “Modernizing the IT (information technology) in our Government, including modernizing the systems….”quite focused on how for our country, we’ve got to work on our skills and prepare not only this current generation but anyone, because all work is going to include technology”

My note: This is our passion at Discover Pathwaze. This is why we do what we do. We want to enable you to your fullest potential. To discover and develop your skills and make sure you’re in the right job/career or path to get there.

©2023 Discover Pathwaze - All rights reserved.