The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

October - 2008 - issue > Woman Achiever

Pause to Smell the Roses Before Taking on

Sujata Rajpal
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Sujata Rajpal
Marilyn Johnson is Vice President, Market Development, for IBM based in Armonk, New York. In this capacity, she leads an organization responsible for developing IBM’s strategy for and marketing to businesses owned or operated by Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, and women in the Americas. Her mission includes women-owned and women-led businesses in selected markets around the globe. Marilyn is a member of the Executive Boards of the Asian Pacific Islander American Scholarship Foundation and the Council for Better Bureaus. On behalf of IBM Market Development she accepted the Center for Women's Business Research 'Leading By Example Award' and the 'Corporate Visionary Award' from the Count Me In – Women's Business Growth Forum and was named one of 'The Top 25 Influential Black Women' by The Network Journal Magazine. She represented IBM and accepted the '2007 Corporate Supporter of Women Entrepreneurs Award' in Beijing, China. She spoke to Sujata Rajpal on her debut visit to India recently. Read the excerpts of this interview.

In these Times of High Attrition, What has Made You Stay in IBM for 31 Years?

IBM believes in development plans, mentoring, and career shaping programs for the employees that help retain them; but I don't have absolute statistics to claim that this has helped in controlling attrition. In my case, I happened to join IBM because I could see a clear career path. When I started I had no idea that I will come this far off. I was able to succeed because my values matched with those of IBM’s. IBM believes in three principles - Dedication to client's success, irrespective of size, location, country, and ethnicity; Innovation is the other principle. We don't design because we want to do it or because we have one of the best research scientists, but because it helps our customers to get better ROI from their businesses. Trust is the other fundamental principle IBM believes in. I believe in "Where you are born or lived is not important but what you do is of value."

Which is the Common Thread that Binds All Women Together?

'Spirit' binds all women together irrespective of race, color, status, and position. Women are inclusive by nature. Caring, reaching out to include, and attracting others comes naturally to us. Women are comfortable with shared power. This characteristic of theirs manifests itself in their management and leadership style. I have only my life experiences and no statistics to support this.

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