Chris Alford

by Chris Alford
General Manager, North America Domestic Delivery Centers
IBM, Global Business Services

Chris Alford

Chris Alford

Dear Chris,
You have an exciting and fulfilling life ahead of you. You can’t even begin to imagine the places you’ll go, the impact you’ll have and the adventure you’ll live. For a steel town girl from Sault Ste Marie, your life is going to change.

I know that Marine Biology is your passion and you hope to find adventure sailing the seven seas. If that remains your dream, follow it with all your heart. But stay open minded, life will present you with opportunities you never dreamed of. It may take you down some uncomfortable paths, but remember that you can’t grow without pushing yourself. Take risks. Sign up for those opportunities, even if you don’t have all the skills. As motivational speaker Zig Ziglar says “you don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great”.

Always remember to be yourself. Stay grounded in your values, never comprise. There is no other “you” in the entire world. So develop your own voice, and your own personal style – bring energy into a room.
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Lucy Chan

by Lucy Chan, IBM Vice President, Growth Markets Business Development & Global Services

Lucy Chan

Lucy Chan

Hello Lucy,
The Winter Olympic Opening Ceremony in Vancouver brought back many memories from long time ago, yet so near and so dear. Mom and Dad left their homeland to begin a new life in Hong Kong, determined to build a better future for us. Perhaps you inherited their spirit when you left Hong Kong alone at 16 to begin a new life in Canada, determined to give yourself the best opportunity to realize your potential. Those teenage years in Canada taught you well. That you didn’t have to wait for external circumstances to shift before a transforming experience overtook your life. What you needed was to Have Faith in Faith. It was your inner transformation that caused circumstances to shift. It was your faith in your true identify that would create space for you to move from living in the past or future to being present. And at the present, your responsibility was to make wise choices with your soul, to intend with your heart and to act with your mind and body.
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Edie Stern

by Edie Stern
IBM Distinguished Engineer, Tivoli Analytics and Event Management

Edie Stern

Edie Stern

Dear Edie,
Remember when you wondered if you’d make it through your first week at IBM? You did it, kiddo, and you’ll have more than 35 years with IBM. You’ve worked hard, and you’re smart. That’s been a decent combination. But there are a few things that will take you a while to figure out, so let me give you a little advice.
Have confidence in yourself. Have persistence and commitment, and you’ll develop the skills to be a leader. Oh, and when Momma told you to be modest, she meant to exempt performance reviews. Your managers will have a good opinion of you, and it’s ok to show them you have a good opinion of yourself too.
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Hester Ngo

by Hester Ngo
IBM Director, Smarter Analytics Solutions

Hester Ngo

Hester Ngo

Dear Hester,
Here you are, having delivered the valedictory address to your high school graduating class – surrounded by friends and family, eagerly anticipating what life has to offer next. On the surface, things can’t be better – making it to your university and program of choice and being chosen among all incoming freshmen to deliver the welcome speech. Yet, uncertainty reigns.
Father’s business has fallen apart and he has fled the country. Mother and your 5 younger siblings have all moved back in with Grandpa and Grandma. Watching Mother go through this ordeal was very painful – she acted as though our world has crumbled and we’re the victims of a cruel world. She never ventured outside the house. She waited and waited for Father to rescue us out of this state. But we did not hear back from him for a very long time.
Through Mother’s plight of powerlessness, you resolved to be a different kind of woman – one that takes life on with its many challenges and rises above them.
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Susan Jaworski

by Susan Jaworski Director, New Technology Introduction IBM Systems & Technology Group

Susan Jaworski

Susan Jaworski

Dear Susie,
You are very lucky in life and you will use it well. You already know you have a wonderful supportive family with seven brothers and four sisters. You will learn that you have been blessed with many great skills like math, logic, spatial ability, and maybe the most valuable… you don’t just adapt well to change, you thrive on making it happen.
You will learn, and I know it doesn’t feel like it now, someone was giving you a gift when they placed you younger than six brothers. It will teach you many things, like not to be afraid of confrontation, and that you have to work hard for you position in life. Given the year, you will live in a man’s world, but you will barely notice. And then of course, a gift that only brothers can give, you will also expect respect from everyone (except them), because as a young girl, no one will ever get near you unless they give you that respect. Oh, another thing… it takes a bit, but after about 20 years they stop calling you bossy and just call you boss.
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Renee Ducre

by Renee E. Ducre, Director of Marketing, Cloud and Smarter Infrastructure, IBM Software Group

Renee Ducre

Renee Ducre

Ah…To the Young Miss Ducre :)
In the words of Marianne Williamson, I say to you… “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of a higher power. Your playing small does not serve the world… We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of a higher power that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same…”
Some other words of advice to help you along your way… Stay true to who you are… remember the lessons taught by your parents and those who paved the way before you…
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Christine Arnold

by Christine Arnold
Director, Cloud Managed Services
IBM Global Technology Services; Europe

Christine Arnold

Christine Arnold

Dear Christine,

You are only 8 years old and it is so cute to see you reading books like someone might eat sweets, I trust you might want to write a book yourself one day and wish your work balance will allow for it. It will always be up to you to manage what is important for you.

Christine Arnold , age 8

8 year old Christine

Number 3 ex-aequo of a 6 kid family, you are so lucky to have a (non identical) twin, she is a beloved present for life. Your mother also has one and their relationship is simply a model. Plus having one brother and four sisters is something very few people can tell about teams.
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Teri Soken

by Teri Soken
IBM Development Director

Teri Soken

Teri Soken

Dear Teri –
As I look back on our career over the last 35+ years I’d offer you (and me…grin) the following observations: a) Hard work does pay off b) Variety will offer you a much broader basis for your future career c) It will be hard to balance work and home life, but worth it d) Focus on customers and customer satisfaction will always be key. Let me tell you more of why I say this.
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