By Gina Ho
At IBM, we believe that a company culture based on core values not only helps our business, but also defines the role that we can and should play in society. We’ve developed a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to corporate citizenship that aligns with our values and maximizes the impact we can make as a global enterprise.
Gina Ho is the Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs Leader for IBM Singapore, and she shares about her passion for corporate social responsibility, and the different programs that she has driven to help the community in Singapore.
My IBM journey
My tenure with IBM started 11 years ago as an Integrated Marketing Communications Specialist. When I first found out about our longstanding, global commitment to corporate responsibility and how as a corporate citizen we have been gifting our technology and expertise to address some of the world’s toughest societal challenges, I never felt more proud as an IBMer.
When the opportunity arose to join the Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs team three years ago, I immediately jumped on it.
As the Singapore lead, I work closely with key public sectors and non-for-profit organizations to leverage on IBM’s resources to bring about meaningful social service outcomes. I’m also a council member of the Community Investment Round Table. The Community Investment Round Table is a member-based, regional platform which builds and advocates best practices for corporate community investment in Asia in order to help companies make a lasting positive impact in their communities.
Making the world work better
Whether it is improving education, building a more inclusive and giving society, nurturing the next generation of leaders or driving economic growth, we continually strive to contribute innovative solutions to support our national agenda
- Bolstering the social service sector through IBM Impact Grants
IBM Impact Grants provide consulting expertise and software specifically designed to support educational and not-for-profit organizations in their efforts to serve our communities. Amongst many of our grantees is the Lions Befrienders who received the Brand Analysis in the Social Web Impact Grant. The insights from the analysis helped Lions Befrienders make informed decisions as they formulate their social media strategies for the next 12 months to better engage their donors and volunteers.
- Nurturing the next generation of community leaders
In collaboration with the South East Community Development Council, we embarked on a community service leadership program that engages students in community projects and gives them a better understanding and appreciation for the needs of the less fortunate in their community. Through our interaction, the Community Laboratory aims to forge closer ties between youths and the residents at large and to groom these youth volunteers into future community leaders. IBM volunteers were also engaged as mentors to guide the students along and impart soft skills needed as they plan and execute their community projects,
- Building a pipeline of highly skilled infocomm workers to meet future needs
The outlook for the infocomm sector is bright as changes in the technology landscape bring about more exciting job opportunities for Singaporeans. As demand for infocomm professionals intensifies amid increasing use of technology and new Smart Nation initiatives, there may be as many as 30,000 new jobs to be filled by 2020. We work closely with the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore on several initiatives to ensure that our local infocomm professionals are equipped with updated and relevant skills to remain employable and to building a pipeline of highly skilled infocomm workforce with a strong Singapore core. One such initiative is the IDA Lab on Wheels – a retrofitted bus that will travel to schools and conduct fun activities involving technology to spark interest in the students to pick ICT as a course of study and eventually a career choice. We also regularly bring in IBM subject matter experts to address students in tertiary institutions to share with them about the current technology landscape and career opportunities in these areas.
- Helping people with special needs
Through an IBM Grant, eight lesson plans specially catered to the learning needs of special needs children were created for the students of Cerebral Palsy Alliance of Singapore School (CPASS). A Science Fair was also conducted at CPASS where all special needs schools in Singapore were invited along with their students, to experience first-hand these experiments and to hear about the Teachers TryScience portal.
I was honored to be a recipient of the Active Citizenry Award by South East Community Development Council and the Community Spirit Award by the People’s Association in recognition of IBM’s contribution of our skills, expertise and technology to support the local community.
In addition, I worked closely with the 15 IBMer volunteers in the Corporate Community Laboratory Project, to achieve the IBM Volunteer Excellence Award in recognition of the time and skills they’ve contributed to supporting the ex-offenders in Pertapis Halfway House as they re-integrate into the community. The IBM Volunteer Excellence Award is recognition from IBM Chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty, and is the highest form of global volunteer recognition given by the company to employees.
However, the real rewards that I receive are deeply personal and they go beyond official awards and recognition. It’s a sense of achievement and deep satisfaction that you’ve made a positive impact to the community. Through the course of my work, I’ve met many people from different walks of life – they include IBMers from diverse departments, community partners, government agencies and even corporate partners. Some of them have become my good friends over the years, and we continue to work closely together to help the community. In my experience in working with beneficiaries, I’ve gotten to know many less fortunate individuals and their personal stories. These experiences have greatly enriched me as a professional as well as a citizen of the community.
Gina Ho is Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs Leader for IBM Singapore
Check out our IBM ASEAN careers website here
Connect with IBM ASEAN Professionals on Linkedin
To find out more about IBM’s Corporate Service Corps, visit IBM CSC website
What will you make with IBM?