Padma Chukka

by Padma Chukka
IBM Certified Executive Project Manager

Padma Chukka

Padma Chukka

Dear Padma,
Do you remember the day that you landed at JFK Airport in NY with a suit case, a carry on bag and $200 in your pocket book?? That picture is still in my mind and I will never forget it. You tried to find a police officer and wanted to stay close to him for safety. What innocence. I am laughing at you now, but I know exactly what you went through waiting for a friend whom you had not seen in 10 years. I wish I could go back in time and reassure you that everything would be just fine.

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Andre’a Jackson

by Andre’a D. Jackson
IBM Client Value Manager, North America

Andrea Jackson

Andre’a Jackson

Dear Andre’a,
You played a great game today even though the boys did not want you to play on the team. Thankfully, you had the support of your brother, Marvin… who actually had no choice in the matter as Mom had told him to look after you and make sure that you play with the team. You held your own and ignored that awful pain when you slid into third base… that is when the guys began to take you seriously and really began to look at you as a real softball player! Not to mention the cheers going up when you scored. Marvin was glad that you had not embarrassed him. Even though the team lost the game… you knew that you had been a real team player and gone the extra mile… on that slide… to support the goal of the team (win the game). Afterwards, as the team walked back towards home, the discussion centered around the fun and excitement of the collective plays in the game… the loss forgotten. They joked and chided you on the way you had slid into third base… totally amazed that a girl could slide like that… ”Didn’t it hurt?”… one of them asked…”No, not really”… you replied. “We need you to slide like that in the next game”. The next game… you reflected… not sure I want to keep hurting myself.
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Ronnie Maffa

by Ronnie Maffa
IBM Vice President, Web and Social Software Development

Ronnie Maffa

Ronnie Maffa

Dear Ronnie,
The opportunity to really establish yourself is in front of you. Leading project Hydra will test your ability to not be afraid to take chances. I know you only have been in the work force for a few years, and you are worried that you neither have the experience nor the stature for your manager to trust you with this complex project. And you are worried that more experienced leaders on the team have tried and have failed. You are concerned about the impression that you may make on your colleagues and manager when you ask for this opportunity. The seemingly endless debate you have with yourself about whether you should apply for the position: what will happen if you are turned down?, what will happen if you get the job and can you succeed if you do?, is the risk worth it?, and are you really prepare to do whatever it will take?, will eventually convince you to take the safe route, keep doing what you are doing and wait for the next small growth opportunity.
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Susan Puglia

by Susan M. Puglia
IBM Vice President

Susan Puglia

Susan Puglia

Dear Susan,
When Dad tells you that you can be anything you want to be in life, believe him. But know that you’ll need to work hard, be alert to recognize and take opportunities that come your way, stretch yourself to operate outside your comfort zone, persevere to make a difference, and most importantly just be yourself… always be yourself. Although you’re a very reserved, even shy child, there will be many people in your life who will help you to build your
confidence and find your voice. And as you do that, amazing things will happen.
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Erin Murphy

by Erin Murphy
IBM, Distinguished Engineer.

Erin Murphy
Dear Erin,
Your parents were both from large families in Ireland and they worked hard and thrived in the US. What great role models they were; hard working people who still found time to enjoy life with their family and friends. It was a bit unusual to have a Mom who was a Registered Nurse, a woman who worked as a professional, albeit part time, in an era of stay-at-home Moms. Your parents instilled in you a serious work ethic. Providing educational opportunities to you and your siblings was one of their primary objectives.

Remember when Mr. Burke signed your 8th grade graduation book and said “don’t sell yourself short?” I know that comment left you scratching your head wondering what he meant, but take it from your older and more experienced self, he saw something in you that you didn’t quite see yourself. He saw that you were holding back from realizing your full potential, deferring to others when you could have stood up and asserted yourself.
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Kalpana Margabandhu

by Kalpana Margabandhu
IBM Director, WebSphere Development, India, India Software Lab

Kalpana Margabandhu

Kalpana Margabandhu

Dear Kalpana
Sitting down to pen a letter to you immediately brings to mind something I read awhile ago – Robert Fulghum’s “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”. The rules of the game are similar all the way through in life & work – to quote from Fulghum – “Play Fair” – Trust & Personal Responsibility in all your actions is paramount; “When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together” – Collaborate & show dedication to every effort, even the most seemingly insignificant of them; “Be aware of wonder” – Innovation is the single most touted buzz word today – learn to dream & tread off the beaten path ; “Share Everything” – the importance of teamwork & networking cannot be understated in navigating your way through the maze of the big & complicated corporate world; “Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some…” – learn to look at work as not a physical place but a state of being, of integration with your regular flow of daily life – you will enjoy it much more thus!
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Creating the Anita Borg Awards

By Kathy Richardson

Kathy Richardson

Kathy Richardson

Anita Borg was a friend, and an inspiration to women technologists and feminists working to improve women’s lives. She encouraged and challenging us to be more of both. I was instrumental in developing the Anita Borg awards to honor two of her passions.
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…Accepted Invitation to Technovation

by Anar Simpson, Global Ambassador – Technovation Challenge

Anar Simpson with the 2014 TechWomen delegation

Anar Simpson with the 2014 TechWomen delegation

Last year I shared the path that led me to Technovation. Fast forward one year – the Technovation program has doubled in size with amazing opportunities for young women around the world to work toward their vision of changing the world!
Read last year’s (2013) story here:You are Invited to…

Today I want to share the amazing projects these young women have created through the program.

The young women are encouraged to create apps that address a problem within their own community. Many of the problems are basic human struggles,such as stress, fitting in, and uncertainty.
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