travel & lifestyle blog by ruth dela cruz


Working for the Most Essential Company

September 10, 2012

Bonne journée à partir du Canada!
I am hoping my French is correct. I am not speaking French yet (although I know some phrases – thank you to my Foreign Language professor in College!). I am hearing and reading French and English in this country where I am typing this blog entry now. I have a lot of stories to tell, but I don’t have much time to blog since I am traveling for business. 
I just want to share this article I wrote for IBM newsletter which features the company that I am working for, and our General Country Manager. Know more about the company which sends me to different places, and connects me with the different people around the globe.
An Essential Luncheon with IBM Country
Manager, and Executives
By Ruth dela Cruz
I can say pass to an event invitation
with Phil Younghusband; or cancel an exclusive interview with Derek Ramsey; but
I could never say no for a luncheon invitation with the IBM Philippines’
Country General Manager, Mariels Almeda-Winhoffer.
It was the exact day the Big Blue was
celebrating its 75th anniversary – July 20, 2012. The night before, IBMers
welcomed the day with a charity concert and fireworks display. We were like a
league with our anniversary shirts on which represents teamwork and positive
attitude towards the future.
Media practitioners and technology
writers were welcomed in the Malacanang Boardroom – the function room where we
usually have our weekly policy cascade and meetings. The mood was light and
everyone was excited. Even I, who came from my shift the night before, still
have the energy to take pictures, greet the other guests and welcome them in my
second home.

Then it was announced – the guests of
honors had arrived – but when Dod Peralta, Director, GBS Global
Delivery Center; Cassandra Soto, Director, Philippines Delivery, Global Process
Services  and Mariels Almeda-Winhoffer,
President and Country General Manager arrived in the venue, they turned the
tables and gave everyone their sincere and warm welcome.
Click Read More to know why we think IBM is essential..

The three of them each greeted and shook
hands with the guests – including me (such an honor!). From the countless media
events that I attended, it was the first time I encountered someone holding the
highest position in the company welcoming each and every guest and taking time
to know them. The two executives were as pleasant as the big boss. Despite
stressful jobs, hectic schedule and a big title under their names, they never
projected an intimidating presence.
Mariels then welcomed everyone and shared
that they chose to hold the event in our humble office instead in a luxurious
hotel or venue, to make the guests feel that they are welcome. It is like
inviting a guest to one’s home.
Mariels shared laughs with the media
practitioners during
the Media Luncheon held to celebrate IBM Philippines’
75th Anniversary
Ms. Cassandra Sotto, popularly known as
Candy Sotto in the organization opened the event with a short ice breaker. She
shared with us the story behind the beautiful painting posted in the room. She
said that every time there would be a client visit, they start the meeting with
the introduction of the painting – it depicts the Filipino values that supports
the IBM values. Can you name the Filipino values being portrayed in the
painting? Take a look and appreciate its beauty the next time you visit the
Malacanang Boardroom.

 Candy Sotto shared the story behind the beautiful painting
in the Malacanang Boardroom
There is no better way to look back at
how IBM Philippines has grown through a video presentation prepared by talented
IBMers. It was like riding a time machine watching the history and milestones
of IBM Philippines unfolds. The pictures turned from black and white, to colored;
until familiar faces were shown in each deck. Popular brands and companies were
cited showing their partnership with IBM which significantly strengthens their
A video presentation showing IBM Philippines’
Mariels being the first female Country
General Manager is a true-blue Filipina armed with 26 years of previous
experience in IBM US operations.  She is also one of IBM Corp.’s six top
women executives worldwide. With her charming smile and eloquence, she
impressed the guests with her knowledge and understanding of the Philippine
economic state and IBM Philippines’ history, including its successes and
Agnes Africa, newly appointed Country Marketing,  Communications & CC&CA Leader
Introduces the Executive Team.
She shared how IBM expands its business
from being a leading hardware provider to delivering software solutions and
outsourcing services. In fact, IBM in New
York has identified the country as among its top 20
growth markets globally. 
Mariels has a bright outlook for the IBM
Philippines.“IBM’s success has been and will continue to be enabled by
transformation through innovation. We will continue to make a positive impact
by leveraging on smarter solutions to advance national priorities, collaborate
globally to grow our business further and make IBM essential to our clients and
stakeholders, here and the world over, 75 years forward.” 

Candy Sotto and Dod Peralta echoed the
same aspiration. They breathe the same goals for the company – even during the
interview, you can sense the teamwork and understanding among the three – the
same way when they did the stage and danced during the charity concert.
Having a little understanding at how Global Delivery
Center operates, I find
myself nodding with an impressed reaction as Dod Peralta talked about
the business under his wings. Over 50 large multinational corporations
worldwide from different industries such as telecommunications, chemicals,
insurance, retail merchandising, electronics, and utilities are being serviced
and supported by IBM solutions.
Candy shares how IBM Global Process
Services serves 50 multinational corporations, in 85 countries. The business unit
also attends to services needed by other IBM offices in 65 countries from
finance/accounting, human resources, supply chain management, and CRM or
customer relations management.
Yes, we are indeed Global. We are IBM
Philippines, but we have the opportunity to work with different people around
the world. I, personally experience working in a global setting – in my regular
job – where I work with people from different timezones and geographies; and
through the IBM Corporate Service Corp.
Mariels also took pride of the IBM
Corporate Service Corp and IBM Executive Corporate Corp, specifically the Cebu
road map project which was spearheaded by IBM ECS team composed of top IBM
executives from United States,
Sweden, Germany and Italy. The project aims to assist
on public transportation and urban planning systems.
  Agnes Africa with Owen
, External Relations Lead
The topic gave way for the team to
recognize my presence, being one of the 10 IBMers who had been part of the IBM
Corporate Service Corp. I was surprised and humbled being recognized by the IBM
Philippines Country General Manager and being asked to probably share my
experiences. I could only exclaimed, “oh,
I am not prepared
” – when what I meant was, IBM Corporate Service Corp is indeeda once in a lifetime experience and the story that I will never get tired of
sharing (read my interview here conducted by an IBMer from UK
True to one of the IBM values – Innovation
that matters, for our company and for the world, IBM Philippines is now
embarking on Research and Development. IBM Philippines has partnered with Davao City
to develop a smart public safety operations center with analytics software. In
layman’s term, the project is more like a 911 Response Unit that aims to proactively
respond to public safety concerns such as crimes, fire, and accidents. This
would be the first of its kind in the world.
IBM Philippines continuously grow with
the country. News feeds inform us that IBM continuously partners not just with
leading companies but also government offices such as Department of Science and
Technology (DOST) to assist in addressing national and economic concerns. 
Media practitioners were also given a
chance to ask questions to the executive team. Mariels, Candy and Dod answered
them with expertise, confidence and enthusiasm.
In between questions, we find ourselves
laughing as everyone shared their views about certain topics while enjoying a
great meal. Pressing questions show one’s interest and the executive team
welcomed and accommodated them.
During intimate events such as this,
personal topics would soon be touched. Mariels find herself in tears when asked
what are the three things that made her happy and sad upon her arrival in the Philippines.
She thought of her dad and shared that she wished she had returned home when he
was still here. Seeing this side of her made me admire the woman who is leading
this great company. She is just like me and the people I work with. We think of
our family, and we love our family. Probably that is one of the reasons why it
is easy for IBM to show compassion, to offer help and to volunteer – because
everyone shares the same values.
When faced with challenges and failures,
Mariels shared with us a positive note. She said that challenges give us an
opportunity to improve and to be better at what we do. The recent issue about
IBM and SSS didn’t escape from the discussion, but Mariels handled the question
with confidence and assurance – The issue
has been resolved. We are moving on.
And I believe her, and I believe IBM –
and I am sure companies and clients believe on us too.
She said that IBM Philippines is
continuously talking and meeting with clients for partnership and business
deals; and although most of them are confidential information – the evidence is
shown with the number of open positions in the organization today. 
A sweet experience and a sweet drink to take
The Manila
City Hall clock is
installed and powered by IBM.
With Owen Cammayo, Agnes Africa, Candy Sotto,
Mariels Almeda-Winhoffer, Marian Castillo and
Dod Peralta
I went home with not just a great memory,
a nice picture and a nice bottle of wine. I went home with a new strength and
inspiration. I am working in a company which aims to be the most essential
company to the world, to the country, to the community, customers, people and
its employees. How noble it is to care less about awards, recognition and being
on the top? I think it is what we do and how we do things that make us
If you like to be part of an essential company, please do drop me a note ([email protected]), or like Start@IBM  and IBM Philippines on Facebook. 

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