On this issue of The Inspirational Executive Series, we are featuring Isabel Gomez Cagigas from IBM Middle East and Africa. In this interview, she shares a bit about her career journey, her insights about being an IBMer, as well as career advice for aspiring leaders.
The Inspirational Executive series consists of interviews with our executive IBMers to demonstrate how you can 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.
Isabel Gomez Cagigas is the General Manager for IBM Global Technology Services in the Middle East and Africa. In this role, she is responsible for the strategic direction and day-to-day operations of IBM’s Global Technology Services. Named to her current position in May 2016, Isabel leads a team of professionals who provide industry-leading services and innovative solutions to help clients address some of their most difficult business challenges during their transformational journeys – locally and globally. Prior to this role, Isabel served as the General Manager of IBM Turkey for 4 years.
What skills and experience have you developed over your career to lead you to this position?
I graduated from the Department of Computer Engineering in Spain. I have an MBA from the School of Industrial Organization (EOI) and a Degree in Management Development Program from the IESE Business School. My education enabled me to build key skills such as strategic thinking and attention to detail. Technology is such a creative field and studying computer engineering widened my horizons a lot; it changes your point of view, the way in which you think, and enables you to come up with creative solutions to problems.
What is your favorite thing about being an IBMer?
I consider myself lucky to be working in IBM which has always stood for making a difference in the world; to make the world work better. As IBMers, we have always worked to solve the problems of the day and make systems operate better. IBM’s enduring purpose has never changed, and today our focus is still to create a more prosperous and progressive future for our world. With more than 100 years of history, IBM hasn’t only evolved itself to a changing world but also took the lead in innovation and transformation in times of crisis. IBM also has a long history of supporting women in the workplace. I’m always happy to mentor many young women in IBM and see how they progress in their careers. Talent has always been a priority in our company and for myself. In order to skill, up-skill and re-skill our capabilities based on the needs of this new demanding era, we continue to invest and build our pipeline of talent. We see the increase in the percentage of women in management, technical and executive roles. And as IBMers, we create this environment together and celebrate together. This is why I can truly say that I’m proud to be an IBMer and I love my job!
Can you tell us an interesting fact about yourself?
I never give up! It is sometimes good and sometimes bad.
How do you manage your work life balance?
It is all about planning. Starting the day early is always a good start! You should prioritize your activities and drop the ones that consume time and have no value. Asking for help also helps; because most of the time we forget that we don’t need to do everything by ourselves!
Do you have any recommendations for employees aspiring to an executive career?
Never stop investing in yourself. Develop your capabilities, improve and gain new skills. Always trust yourself and don’t be afraid to push your boundaries and leave your comfort zone.
If you are interested in learning more about our executive opportunities, please contact Andrew.P.Roughton@ibm.com.
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