Tips on How to Work Smart and Enjoy Work Life Balance While Building an Executive Career

Inspirational Executives Series – IBM Europe

This interview discusses how Olga’s career has grown over the past eighteen years, how she manages her work-life balance, and what advice she would give to others aspiring to an executive career at IBM.

Olga Blanco Poves – An Inspirational Executive, Executive Partner GBS – Public Sector Madrid, Spain.

olga-3Olga is an Executive Partner within the Public Sector.  She is responsible for leading central Government, Social Security & Defense in Spain as well as Madrid regional & local governments.  In addition to this she also leads Digital Insights in SPGI.

With a proven background in both consulting and project management, she has become an expert in leading complex large-scale projects.  Experienced in working with national and international clients, she leads projects in strategy formulation, transformational processes, overhead cost reduction, procurement & optimization models, e-administration platforms as well as Smarter City solutions.

A true SME (subject matter expert), Olga has achieved eminent recognition in Spanish Public Sector Ecosystem and is in frequent demand to deliver lectures, write articles/blogs and act as an expert in panels both inside and outside of IBM.


Can you describe your role at IBM?

My role in GBS has two different components, one related to Sector as Public Sector Executive Partner and a second one related to Service line as SPGI (Spain, Portugal, Greece, Israel) Digital Insight Leader. Both roles are very different but are also quite complementary at the same time.  I really enjoy performing both roles and they provide me the opportunity for personal and business development.

My day-to-day involves many different aspects: clients, projects, sales, delivery, innovation, strategy, planning, management, reporting, coaching and the most important, people.

What skills and experience have you developed over your 18 year career to lead you to this position?

I started my career as a SAP Junior Consultant, firstly programming then later in Business Analytics, then a team leader, project leader… and lately leading important SAP implementation across different customers and sectors.  I then settled within the Public Sector 8 years ago and I began leading all the Back office SAP Implementation in a Health Department in Spain. This was a great challenge as it was a first of a kind for IBM in many aspects, firstly SAP big project for IBM Spain in the Public Sector, first SAP Implementation with Health Solution, first Public Sector project to make a complete transformation…and it gave me the opportunity to start creating solutions around Procurement and Cost efficiency as well as around HR that we later implemented in other Public administrations around Spain.

Then I started moving step by step to a Go-To-Market role.   First as BSP in Public Sector leading Share Service Centers and Cost efficiency solutions and later becoming an Account Partner of different Public Sector customers all over Spain.  Since 2012 I have worked on defining on a new vision/strategy for the Public Sector in Spain moving from SAP solutions to CAMSS (Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, Security and Social) solutions whilst moving to new customers. Today Smarter Cities, Social Security or Analytics/Cognitive are my core business.

Outside of IBM, what are your hobbies, interests, and passions?

I love Interior Design, I really like to read blogs about this subject, imagine an empty house and how it will be after reformation and Design…Perhaps this has something to do with my passion for painting since I was 6 years old. But my most important passion are my two children, Carla who is a small lady of 8 and Yago who is only 3.

How do you manage your work life balance?

Well, to be honest, it is not always easy and in my case, it is possible because I have my family support – my partner and my parents help me a lot.

But I have learned that the key is how you work not how many hours you spend every day, so the key is work smartly. This means prioritization, organization, delegation, coordination, etc….but also leave work at work (at least on weekends :-)).

Do you have any recommendations for employees aspiring to an executive career at IBM?

My main recommendation is “Believe in you”. If you are passionate about something, go for it, follow your instincts and take the risk!

 The Inspirational Executive 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.

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