Monday, February 28, 2011

Leaving IBM after 25 years to pursue my passions

After a career of more than 25 years working at IBM, I decided to start a new project in my life.

For most of the younger people, a career of 25 years with the same company seems impossible as the world has changed and corporations are treating people more and more like commodity rather than asset. Only in public organizations or in academia can you still have such long career with the same employer.

However, in my 25 years at IBM I feel like I have been working for many different companies.
- I worked in 3 different IBM divisions and one partner company: Software Group, Research, Enterprise Initiatives, and ELiAS NV.
- I had 8 different jobs: system engineer, sales representative, worldwide marketing operations manager, CEO of ELiAS (detached by IBM), marketing manager, strategy program director, business development manager, offering manager.
- I developed market plans for more than 10 new software innovations.
- I worked in 6 different locations: Brussels Belgium, Milford CT, Leuven Belgium, Somers NY, Raleigh NC …and from home.
- I visited 30 countries in 5 continents on business travel.
But more importantly, I had the chance to work with some of the brightest and most passionate people and for a company that had the biggest impact on the IT industry and ultimately on people’s life over the last 100 years
So thank you IBM, I had a great time and will stay an IBMer at heart.

So what’s next for me in life? 

In my life after IBM I want to give back what I received from IBM to the community. I plan to pursue my passion for Africa where I grew up and for teaching. I want to go back to the academic world that I left 25 years ago when I joined IBM and I am interested in working on projects about the use of Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D).

That is why I have accepted a position of Distinguished Service Professor at Carnegie-Mellon University. I will teach innovation management at the College of Engineering and participate as Assistant Director in the future CMU project to create a Center of Excellence in Rwanda Africa to deliver Masters Degrees in Computer Science. This project is still under discussion and I will publish a special posting about it when it becomes official.

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