by Padma Chukka
IBM Certified Executive Project Manager
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.
When you shopped around for schools the next day after you landed in America, you did not realize that you would be completing your Masters and would join IBM. In fact, you turned down two high paying jobs and joined IBM as a contractor. Can you guess the reason that you turned down the jobs, you just don’t want to travel and sleep in. Don’t worry about that now, you made a best decision to join IBM for what so ever reason. You have to see your older-self now working as hard as she can to get MBA and raise two girls. I keep thinking about how you got from that stage to this one. The only thing I can think of is your perseverance. You have the drive and passion to accomplish any career opportunity. Do you remember when you got your passport twelve years ago within 2 days? I laughed when I read that IBM helped India streamline the process to get the passport in two days. You got that passport, without the help from your parents/technology. When you ran from one office to another, you told the “Rishaw Wala” (pedicab) if he could get you there within five minutes, you would pay him more. This motivated him to drive you faster. That’s the exact strategy you will/are be using in your projects to motivate people in various ways to deploy on or before schedule. In this process, you know exactly whom to call and have them ready to sign before you get there so you could get the necessary signatures to move on to the next level of approvals. At that time, you never even knew that you would be using all these skills to work at IBM and life. You always knew how to show respect and demand respect, and I know that you will carry this ethic forever.
I give you credit, Padma, that although you were very worried the day you landed, you never lost hope and courage to follow your dreams… Hang in there with all the life skills that you have learned during your journey, and they will undoubtedly take you to the next levels.
On a personal note, you met the most wonderful man and married him… He is very supportive of all your activities. You both have two beautiful, loving girls. Your journey has shown your girls that anything is possible with perseverance and hard work. “Leading By Example” is the motto on which you base your carrier and personal life.
Never lose your drive, perseverance and courage. You have all of the puzzle pieces; simply let them fall into place. Hang in there, you will be just fine. Always remember that if you can dream it, you will achieve it.
(PS: I know you (I) are not there “yet” to add our letter to this document, but thought/hope some body out there who may be able to get some inspiration based on our conversation.)