By Ingrid Van Uden
As a business graduate excited to join the corporate world, having a Tech career wasn’t a natural choice for me.
I had always thought IT companies would want people with computer science degrees. I was impressed that IBM was open to hiring skills that weren’t just focused on IT knowledge. It made me think IBM might be more than just a geeky computer company.
Having joined IBM as a graduate in 2000, I started as a Business Analyst on a large telecommunications account. Six years and many business and technical roles later, I was asked to bid manage and act as an engagement manager for a large outsourcing deal. Initially, I was nervous about the move: I had no experience in such a role, but my managers had confidence in my skills and capabilities. They recognized potential I didn’t see in myself, and they were right.
I led the bid to a successful conclusion, putting me on the path to sales roles including my current role in Sales & Distribution as a Client Executive.
I attribute my career success to three key things – networking, strong senior management sponsorship and support, and the business pushing me to enhance my skills so I can take on new roles.
Over the years I have also been an active member of IBM’s Diversity Council for Australia and New Zealand, getting involved in projects that help drive IBM’s diversity strategy particularly in relation to women in the workforce and cultural awareness. I was the Lead for the Cultural Diversity Networking Group, which has a focus on providing networking opportunities, mentoring and personal development activities with a mission to promote cultural awareness.
I attribute my career success to three key things – networking, strong senior management sponsorship and support, and the business pushing me to enhance my skills so I can take on new roles. “Networking has been a key factor for my career development. I have formal and informal mentors who have helped me through various challenges in my career. I would be lost without them.”
I also take full advantage of IBM’s flexible work practices. In my current role, I sometimes work very long hours to meet client deadlines, but my managers are very understanding and give me time to recover. This is important – it gives me time to refresh, and maintains my motivation for the next deal and project.
I believe IBM is a great place for women to forge a career and my advice is ‘Go for it!’ As long as you have passion and persistence you’ll enjoy working at IBM.
Ingrid van Uden is an IBM Client Executive in Sales and Distribution.
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