By SAMANTHA WHITFORD
I like stories because they provide the inside scoop into people and allow you to learn more about them. As a recent new hire, I’m always curious to hear about other people’s careers and how they got to where they are today and stories are a great way to find that information. Whilst working at IBM, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to attend conferences and training sessions and I’ve met so many women who have different backgrounds and stories along the way. Here are just a few that stand out to me:
My Mentor who sends me cool opportunities within IBM
IBM encourages all employees to have multiple mentors and my mentor has positively helped my career so far. I asked her to be my mentor after starting to follow her on Twitter. I really enjoyed what she said and so I emailed her and she agreed. She immediately added me to a community she manages and has gone out of her way to let me know about awesome opportunities happening at IBM that I otherwise would not have known about. On our calls I hear about what she does for her job and I tell her about what I’m doing. In a company as large as IBM, it’s hard to know everything that’s going on so she always keeps me in the loop.
My CMO who teaches a kickboxing class
The next woman I want to talk about is the CMO of my business unit and while I do not actually interact with her on a daily basis, I’ve had a couple of opportunities to hear her speak in person. She spoke on a diversity panel in my office in Austin, Texas and I learned about how she started her career at IBM. Because she is bilingual she was able to work internationally and use her first language to help her in her job. She is also a fitness instructor outside of work and I took on her shadow boxing classes (my arms were sore for days after). It’s hard to remember that executives were once new hires fresh out of college, just like me, but hearing their stories makes them more relatable. While attending the summit in Atlanta I had the opportunity to see her outside of her job pursuing her passion of teaching fitness classes.
My coworker who is afraid of aquariums
One of my favorite co-workers who works in the same office as me has had many different jobs before starting her marketing career at IBM. Between hanging out at lunch or traveling to conferences she always has a story about a past job and what she learned from it. We both attended IBM InterConnect in Las Vegas and traveled to Atlanta to attend a marketing summit where we visited the Coca Cola World and the Atlanta Aquarium. She is afraid of aquariums, something I would never have known if we hadn’t been on the trip together. We had a great bonding experience as I helped her face her phobia. Working for IBM has created opportunities for me to get to know my co-workers outside of a standard work setting and because of that I feel even more comfortable working with them.
So while these are just three women who have stood out to me, there are many more extraordinary women at IBM. Coming from someone who just started their career it’s nice to hear about how others started and what their goals and aspirations are–it just takes a couple of stories to get to know them better.
Samantha Whitford works as Portfolio Marketing for IBM Systems.
You can find her on Linkedin
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