Inclusive IBM & What Does It Mean To This IBM Leader

Creative people use technology to innovate – that’s IBM. We challenge, support, develop and reward our employees in a dynamic and inclusive corporate culture.

In this edition of ‘Your Perfect Fit’ a #WomenAtIBM series, we are in conversation with Sonal Makdani – EA-SAP Capability Advancement Leader, Global Business Services, on her career journey at IBM. “I work where there is never a dull moment” she says.

Sonal Makadani

Tell us about the diverse growth opportunities you have had at IBM?

It has been a decade in IBM now. And for someone like me, who has earlier switched companies every three years in need of more challenging roles, this is a huge change! At IBM I have had a very broad landscape to experience & grow, exposure to cutting edge technologies, multiple challenging roles and opportunities to lead teams. The one thing that has been consistent throughout my stint at IBM – is the support & encouragement that I have received from my managers & mentors.

How do you make an impact in your role?

In my role as the EA-SAP Capability Advancement Leader, I need to ensure that every project kicks-off on time with a capable team in place and within budgeted costs. This calls for meticulous workforce planning, leveraging demand & pipeline analytics. I plan for the right mix of talent from within & outside the organization and ensure we are continuously building new skills & capabilities in the team.

And every time when I receive an email for a successful project initiation & go-live, I know I have made an impact. I am immensely satisfied in delivering value to our clients’ business, enabling my team to exceed their goals, powering their learning & development and essentially doing work that matters to IBM and our clients.

How has being at IBM helped you grow professionally and personally?

There is no limit to how much you can fly… spread your wings as much as you like and soar as high as you like. IBM provides you with open blue sky to explore your potential. I have done diverse roles across geographies working with virtual teams on delivery, sales, operations and gained an all rounded exposure. At every juncture, I had the right guidance and support provided to succeed in my role… it totally enables you, skill wise to achieve what you aim for.

Tell us about the people you work with and the environment you work in?

My role requires me to collaborate across globe – it’s a virtual world well connected with video/audio technologies with no boundaries. It’s like ONE team across the globe seamlessly delivering innovative solutions for client. I can reach out and leverage SME’s from other side of the world as seamlessly I would have someone sitting at the next desk. You have access to immense wealth of not just people but knowledge accumulated on shared internal social media sites.

#InclusiveIBM – what does this mean to you?

There is no limit to growth at IBM; it is like an open blue sky where you can spread your wings as wide and soar as high as you want to. I had opportunities to take up diverse roles across geographies, work with global teams on operations, delivery & sales and this has given me an all rounded experience. At every juncture, I had the right guidance & support from my leaders to ensure I succeeded. For me this is #InclusiveIBM

What is your message to women who may want to pursue a career with IBM?

IBM has received immense recognition for its diverse & inclusive work culture. I have been part of sessions with representatives of other companies wanting to emulate what IBM has been doing in the space of diversity & inclusion.

There is a specific incident that I’d like to mention about – after my second child when it was time to join back after maternity leave, I had doubts on how I will manage both work & the baby. I spoke to my manager about extending my leave by few months and he came to me with a solution that fit my need perfectly. I got a role that involved working with teams in Japan – that meant I could finish my meetings by noon and work through the rest of the day at my pace. There was no looking back after that!


IBM takes great pride in harnessing a Diverse & Inclusive work culture. It is not what we do but who we are. Follow more stories on #WomenAtIBM

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Discover what you could do at IBM http://ibm.co/jobsin

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