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.

You will be challenged in many ways, and while it may seem hard at the time, keep life in perspective. Looking back, I have learned that regardless of how difficult things may seem, the sun will always come up tomorrow and with it brings a new day. Sounds corny, but it has helped me through many situations… take a deep breath, count to 10, roll-up your sleeves and find a way to fix it.
Fortunately, you won’t have to go it alone. You will have the privilege of working along side some amazing people. People who will be your mentors, who will provide valuable advice and guidance. Listen and learn. They will be instrumental in shaping your career and the kind of leader you’ll become.

Having said all of that, I don’t want you to focus too much on the future right now. While I do encourage you to set goals and dream big dreams for your life, don’t miss the now. It’s really the only thing you’ve got. The past is gone, and the future hasn’t been written yet. The now is all that you can control – enjoy it!

You don’t yet realize what you are capable of. Fortunately, I have the benefit of hindsight. Chris, you’re going to amaze yourself! Enjoy the adventure.

See you soon, Chris Alford

General Manager, North America Domestic Delivery Centers
IBM, Global Business Services
PS. Remember life is too short not to have fun. So be sure to make time to do the things you enjoy with the people you love. Oh and remember to call your mother. After all, you are her favorite!

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