The changes the world is facing today, in every industry, have created existential shifts requiring people to step outside of their comfort zones and reimagine the world of work and its impact on humanity. Purpose-driven business models have the highest propensity for positive influence on highly complex and interdependent supply chains because they focus on adaptive, collaborative innovation through sustainable ecosystems. Sustainability is critical for a business to survive. This is especially critical in the high-tech industry, as it has an impact on all others.
Kimberly Smith started her career by creating new paths for female leaders who were delivering technology in manufacturing and financial services before making the leap fully into the high-tech industry. She is the Global Vice President at IBM.
IBM is a world-class leader in innovative technology solutions. At IBM, the teams work smarter, not just harder, to bring new ways of thinking and engaging with one another each and every day. Kimberly says, “If something doesn’t work, we assess, adjust, and move on quickly so that we can continue to learn and grow from our experiences.”
Taking Challenges as a Source of Improvement
What Kimberly loves about her journey is that she could never have predicted it. She says, “I have found that by being willing to embrace my vulnerability, have faith in my capability, and infuse flexibility and agility with each new role, has provided me with the opportunity to make a difference.”
As per Kimberly, she has experienced a variety of challenges, including unconscious and conscious bias, exclusion, and discrimination. Yet, these were not the ones on which she spent her time and attention. The challenges she decided to focus on are similar to those that many others encounter at any given moment in their careers. She adds, “What defines my journey most is where I have been able to make choices to overcome these obstacles and pay it forward. Paving the way for other leaders who have faced challenges based on diversity and inclusion in the workplace means not just breaking glass ceilings but sweeping up the glass along the way. It only matters if I can actually do something that has a positive impact on others, so they don’t experience the same challenges I have faced. ”
IBM- the Global Tech Leader
IBM is a global leader in cutting-edge technology solutions. Kimberly is very enthusiastic about the company’s theme, “Put Smart to Work.” IBM is doubling down on its investment in hybrid cloud and AI because it sees it as the best way to help customers on this journey. They want the benefits of cloud computing, such as speed, efficiency, and innovation, without having to rethink their whole IT architecture. That is the essence of the hybrid cloud.
IBM is uniquely qualified to deliver what clients need and want. Red Hat OpenShift is the leading open source hybrid cloud platform. Add its Cloud Paks, and it can transform a complex legacy architecture into a completely secure integrated platform. The company states, “Our clients benefit from the seamless automation, data mining and analysis, development of cloud-native applications and multicloud management our platform provides. Our services team brings the expertise to make migration to the hybrid cloud easy and a custom fit for each client. ”
Learning from Global Leaders
Being the child of a teen parent and the first person in her family to graduate from college, there are so very many aspects of Kimberly’s life experiences that have had a tremendous impact on how she is leading today.
At IBM, Kimberly has a personal board of directors made up of people from various industries, leadership backgrounds, and walks of life. These people assist Kimberly in her development as a leader. One person in particular, Dr. Chantal Line Carpentier, Chief UNCTAD NYC, is one of her time’s most powerful leaders. Kimberly asserts, “Pioneering foundation for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development through the Sustainable Development Goals, it has been her leadership, research, and papers, in particular, which have had a profound impact on how I derive purpose driven leadership priorities.”
There are countless other strong female leaders, and impactful male leaders, who have been allies in Kimberly’s career and personal life on whom she still relies for advice, guidance, and perspective.
Transformation towards Virtual Working and Future Goals
The teams at IBM adapted to applying dynamic delivery models to facilitate seamless collaboration across time zones by extending its IBM Garage framework into a post COVID world. By creating automated methods through contactless delivery for virtual collaboration, transparent governance that focuses on humans in the network, shifting to inspirational virtual leadership enabled by remote engagement, flexible and available expertise interconnected through digital knowledge platforms and processes, and developing adaptive delivery infrastructure enabled by on-demand support with secure and robust cloud-based collaborative delivery platforms. “My industry has the luxury of being 100% virtual when needed. That digital advantage does come at a price,” says Kimberly. She further adds that the teams must be able to focus on maintaining a healthy quotient of work life fulfilment to allow the company to continue to keep up with the ever growing demand for its products and services, while also having a positive influence on sectors and those with socio-economic limitations who do not have the same opportunities.
According to Kimberly, IBM is on a solid path toward continued growth and a positive impact on the world. She looks to continue to be part of the journey and enable it to the best of her ability.