“Ask yourself when you learn the most. I guarantee it’s when you felt at risk” – Ginni Rometty
Ginni Rometty made history by becoming the company’s first female CEO in its 100-year history. She was listed among the “50 Most
Powerful Women in Business” in Fortune magazine for ten years in a row, and she held the top spot in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Additionally, she was included in the 2014 list of the “100 Most Powerful People in the World” published by Forbes magazine.
Her parents divorced when she was fifteen, and her father abandoned the family. The family’s fortunes began to crumble. To provide for her four children, Ginni’s mother began trying for multiple jobs. They had to rely on food stamps till her mother returned to school and found a nice job.
Being the oldest, Ginni began taking care of the house while continuing her education to support her mother. Ginni Rometty had a difficult life growing up in a divided family. But she did not allow her future to be controlled by circumstances.
She pushed herself to change her fate, and as a result, she is now one of the world’s most powerful people. She is now a great role model for individuals who have been damaged by adversity. Let’s take a look at Ginni Rometty’s strategy for success.
Virginia Marie Ginni Rometty was born on July 29, 1957, in Chicago, Illinois. Rometty excelled in sports as well as academics. She was also the student council president. But she was devastated when her father left the house.
Ginni had since vowed to achieve something that will make her mother proud. It had a huge impact on her life.
She gained a big scholarship from General Motors in 1975, where she interned during her junior and senior years, and went on to Northwestern University. She got a Bachelor’s degree in computer science and electrical engineering there.
After that, she attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and North Carolina State University with high honors.
Rometty began working for General Motors Institute in Flint in 1979 after receiving her degree, where she was in charge of application and system development. She started working for IBM in Detroit as a systems engineer and analyst in 1981.
She spent her initial ten years with IBM in technical roles, initially assisting clients in the insurance sector. She soon moved up to a series of management posts, where she worked with customers in insurance, finance, telecommunications, manufacturing, and health care.
By the late 1990s, she was assisting companies like Prudential Financial, Inc. with their internet features. She spent the 1990s working in sales. In 1991, she joined IBM’s Consulting Firm.
In 2002, while serving as general manager of IBM’s worldwide services division, she pushed for and assisted in the $3.5 billion acquisition of Monday, the consulting subsidiary of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The transaction was the “biggest in professional services history,” and it introduced IBM into the services market.
Rometty subsequently got her “big break” at IBM when she was assigned the responsibility of uniting PricewaterhouseCoopers and its consultants with IBM while working as senior vice president for IBM Global Business Services.
She was included in Time’s list of the most influential people in world business in 2002.
She worked as IBM’s senior vice president of global business services from 2005 to 2009, and in July 2005, she was promoted to senior vice president of enterprise business services-IBM Global Services.
She also served as the managing partner of IBM Business Consulting Services, Inc. and the general manager of the Insurance Industry Group. In 2006, the Association of Management Consulting Firms presented Rometty with the Carl Sloane Award.
In 2009, Rometty was appointed senior vice president and group executive for sales, marketing, and strategy, with a focus on the “fast-growing analytics arm” of the company. She took over as senior vice president of worldwide sales and distribution for IBM in January 2009.
She promoted the growth of IBM’s growing-markets division during this time, which had been established in 2008 to concentrate on developing countries like Brazil and Vietnam.
She served as a senior vice president and group executive of sales, marketing, and strategy for IBM from 2010 until 2012. She supervised the preparation of Watson, the computer that plays Jeopardy!, for commercial use.
Rometty took over as CEO of IBM in 2011. Naturally, not everyone was in favor of the new CEO. Her appointment as IBM’s first female CEO drew attention in the news, with former CEO Sam Palmisano claiming that her appointment had “nothing to do with progressive social ideals.”
But Rometty showed that she was given the position for a good reason. The company’s net income increased by 5% during the year. When Palmisano retired on October 1, 2012, she gained the additional post of IBM chairman and was named president and CEO on January 1, 2012.
She arranged a relationship for Apple to create applications for IBM’s enterprise customers in 2014 with plans to get IBM out of underperforming business lines.
Later that year, she declared that IBM would collaborate with Twitter and SAP on cloud computing on data analytics, and she also negotiated a relationship with Box in 2015.
From 2012 and 2015, Rometty ordered IBM to spend $8.5 billion on the acquisition of roughly 30 companies. By 2016, she had also overseen the sale of around $7 billion worth of commoditized assets, including chip production.
In May 2017, Austin Business stated that Rometty had effectively switched IBM away from declining businesses like computers and operating system software and into higher-growth sectors like artificial intelligence. She received the KPMG Inspire Greatness Award on June 28, 2017.
She announced in January 2018 that IBM has grown its revenue for the first time since 2012, particularly in the areas of data, blockchain, and the cloud. By 2018, she claimed that AI, cybersecurity, cloud computing, blockchain, and quantum computing accounted for over 50% of IBM’s 9,043 patents in 2017.
Rometty announced her resignation as CEO of IBM on January 30, 2020. Arvind Krishna took over as executive chairman on December 31, 2020.
Her commitment to inclusion and diversity was one of her primary goals that shone out. Rometty has increased parental leave and made it simpler for women to rejoin their careers through a “returnships” program to ensure these attributes are present in the workplace.
Ginny received the Catalyst Award for her efforts to advance diversity and women’s initiatives in 2018. She also works to train employees without a college diploma for “new collar” professions in technology.
The IBM-designed Pathways in Technology (P-TECH) education model is a six-year program that trains students for professional success by merging high school with a community college degree, coaching, and internships, all while remaining within existing local education budgets. This project emphasizes Rometty’s intention to create jobs ethically.
Ginni is a co-chairperson of OneTen, the organization that will harness the power of dedicated US businesses to upskill, employ, and promote one million Black Americans into family-sustaining jobs with prospects for promotion over the next ten years.
She is a member of the JPMorgan Chase Board of Directors, the Northwestern University Board of Trustees, where she is a Vice Chair, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Board of Trustees, the Brookings Institute Board of Trustees, and the Council on Foreign Relations.
Ginni also serves on the Advisory Boards of Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management, the Singapore Economic Development Board International Advisory Council, and BDT Capital.
Ginni Rometty is the ideal role model for those who face adversity Ginni Rometty had the view that comfort and growth cannot coexist amid setbacks and failures.
Accepting difficulties and taking risks will make a person better in the long run. Rometty thus resolutely succeeded despite all the preconceptions and challenges.
When her father left, she was young and defenseless. Her single mother, who worked multiple jobs, was not always available to support her.
Ginni realized she needed to become her mentor to save herself and her family.
She succeeded in escaping poverty for both her and her family. Her experience is an excellent example of the value of hard work.
Whatever she did, she did it brilliantly. She received a large scholarship from General Motors Institute when she first worked as an intern. Later, when she worked for IBM, she was promoted rank after rank.
This shows her determination, hard work, and aptitude. It always pays to trust in oneself, stay to the right cause, and work hard.
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