Want to build an Executive Career? Make Yourself Relevant and Remain Focused

Inspirational Executives Series

The Inspirational Executive series consists of interviews that profile executive IBMers 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 to succeed in every aspect of their careers.

Today we are featuring Maite Gonzalez Mac Dowell, a female executive from the Global Business Services (GBS) of IBM Europe. This interview discusses how Maite’s career has grown over the past thirty years, how she manages her work-life balance, and what advice she would give to others aspiring to an executive career at IBM.


Maite is an IBM Executive Partner within GBS Communications Sector where she has two roles: leader of the Application Innovation Consulting Client Services organization, and Diversity Executive Sponsor.

Maite joined IBM as a graduate in 1986 working on projects within the financial sector, moving later into the communications sector.  Her career has been mostly in services and her expertise lies within Project Management.   She has served as the Project Executive on large, complex services deals, and her main experience in IBM has been within GBS, managing solution areas such as CRM, e-business, Application Management and Application Innovation Services.


Can you describe your role at IBM?


I am responsible for the delivery organization in GBS Communications Sector Europe. My responsibility is to work with the project leaders to ensure we meet our client expectations as well as our own financial objectives.  In my role as the Sector’s Diversity Executive Sponsor I really enjoy working with younger women who share both ambitions and work-life balance struggles, and my aim is to ensure they believe they can reach their goals, and to help them along the process.

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

My experience comes as a result of having worked in different organizations, different countries, different clients and industries, different solution areas, and especially with many diverse people in all these years who have, even unknowingly, contributed to my success. It has a lot to do with having the right attitude, and the ability to be able to get the most out of each task you perform or each person you work with, focus on observing, exploring, learning and eventually adopting that singular and differential skill that each of them can potentially provide to complement and enrich your overall competencies.

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

Taking care of my four children and enjoying the time I spend with them has always been my greatest passion. When not at work, I am very homely, and my house has always been the extended family’s gathering site for both my husband’s family and mine. I love organizing, cooking, taking care of all details and even cleaning the dishes afterwards… And I am a great knitter! Now that my children have grown up, I have 2 lovely grandchildren to knit for.

How do you manage your work life balance?  How did you manage an executive role whilst working part-time?

Managing work life balance is always a challenge. I need to consciously and constantly make sure I set the right priorities and focus on what is important to be able to manage both my work and personal life trajectories. I am normally very positive, spend my time in looking for solutions instead of complaining about the issues, try to learn from my mistakes and take a deep breath every now and then.

The opportunity to be promoted to an executive role came at the time I was working part-time. Two things converged – the position was a perfect fit for me, and I was ready to take the challenge despite the fact it would require an additional effort to ensure the right balance was kept in place. And it worked out great for both interests! Planning, organization, focus, flexibility, passion, and being surrounded by a great family and a great team certainly helped.

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

The most important thing is you need to believe you can do it – set the goals to achieve it, and start building your network of people who will help you in your development as well as in opening up new growth opportunities.

Given that, reaching an executive role has a lot to do with being good at the job, so one must keep in mind these five things:

  • Constantly learn new things.
  • Focus on achievement.
  • Make yourself relevant.
  • Be ready to embrace new challenges.

In the end it is your career: you own it, you drive it.

If you are interested in learning more about our executive opportunities within Global Business Services, please contact andrewro@ie.ibm.com.

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Discover what you can do at IBM. ibm.biz/workatIBM

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