Inspirational Executives Series – IBM Europe.
This series consists of interviews that profile executive IBM’ers across Europe to demonstrate how one may successfully build an executive career in this increasingly demanding market.
Juggling work, life, and family commitments is a daunting challenge, but this series reveals how, with careful time management, flexible leadership, and a willingness to embrace challenge, IBM can support successful executives throughout Europe to succeed in every aspect of their careers.
Gill Wiggins – IBM Executive Partner – AD&I Service Line Leader, London, United Kingdom.
Gill is an IBM Executive Partner in GBS Communications Sector.
From her early career as a Programmer, through her roles as a Partner and Vice President at global consultancy firms, to her current role as Executive Partner at IBM, Gill’s career trajectory shows what is possible with hard-work, careful planning, and the right skills and experience.
This interview discusses how Gill’s career has developed over the past twenty-four years, how she manages her work-life balance, and what advise she would give to others looking to follow in her footsteps.
Can you describe your role at IBM?
I have two roles at the moment – I am the Application Development & Innovation (AD&I) Service Line leader for Comms Sector in Europe and I am the Account Partner for a Major Utility provider in the UK.
What skills and experience have you developed over your twenty-four year career to lead you to this position?
The consulting business is fundamentally a people business – to be successful you need to be able to build strong teams, for sales and delivery projects. Finding the right experts is never easy, so building a strong network is really important, both inside and outside of work.
I think the ability to develop strong client relationships is also key. This means really listening to clients and challenging where appropriate with new or different ideas.
You’re trilingual (English, German, and Turkish). Has this flair for languages played a pivotal role in your career development?
I wish I could say I really use my languages, but sadly no. I finally worked in Germany 20 years after graduating with my degree in Management Science and German – luckily it only took me a couple of months to get back up to speed. Although presenting to clients in German is possibly the most stressful thing I have had to do (& thankfully we won both times!)
How do you manage your work life balance?
Everyone has different priorities. I travel a lot and I am away from home during the week. I tend to work long hours during the week, staying in a hotel Monday to Thursday – so when I do get home my laptop always stays shut – apart from maybe an hour on Sunday evening.
Outside of work, I am a keen equestrian, spending most weekends riding – this is my way of completely switching off and I cannot be interrupted with a phone call!
Do you have any recommendations for employees aspiring to an executive career at IBM?
My advice would be to:
- Get a mentor, someone who can help guide you into the right roles at IBM that will challenge you and help you grow to the next level in your career
- Make sure you know what you need to do to be successful. If you are drifting, or not enjoying your role – it is up to you to do something about it
- Keep in touch with your clients and IBM colleagues – you never know where they – or you – will be in 5 years time.
Find previous editions of this series here
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