Building a Career with a Company that Cares

By , Caitlin Mouland, and TJ Stidwill | 7 minute read | September 12, 2022

Your career, your way

In an ideal world, going to work should be rewarding, satisfying, and empowering. It should offer varied experiences and challenging opportunities that feed a chosen career path. Education, training, and mentoring should be readily available to help employees grow their skills and confidence.

Sound too good to be true? It doesn’t have to be. These are the elements that make IBM Consulting Canada a special place to work – and we believe it’s the reason we attract and retain talented, growth-minded people to serve public and private sector clients.

We foster an environment where IBMers can share and learn from each other. Employees are encouraged and empowered to map out their career trajectory, given growth assignments, and guided by mentors, coaches, and colleagues. They are plugged into fascinating, complex initiatives, where they work in teams to solve world class problems that impact local and global communities, such as ESG with Energy and Mines, MVPs and the Province of Nova Scotia, elevating Alberta as an Energy Transformation Centre, Autonomous Ocean Navigation, and Customer Innovation Centres.

In IBM Consulting Canada, entry-level consultants are hired through the Associates Program, a one-year entry-level consulting experience. Each starting consultant is aligned to a practice where they develop core consulting skills and subject matter expertise through specialized training and on-the-job experience across a variety of service areas, accounts, markets, and industries. New consultants hone their interests and skills and are guided by managers, coaches, and senior management in creating a career path that suits them best.

As “graduates” of the Associates Program, we’d like to share our stories to showcase how IBM invests and empowers its people.

 

Growth opportunities second to none

 

Caitlin’s Story

“I started at IBM in 2014 as an entry-level consultant working on a large project in Nova Scotia to gain firsthand experience. I soon joined the SAP Success Factors practice, which was just starting to gain ground as an HR solution. Our team was small, with less than 10 people, so we all wore multiple hats. Although it was a very steep learning curve, I had the support of colleagues, leaders, and clients as I supported their implementations. Today, the practice has grown to over 100 people in Canada, across both the private and public sector.

My consulting experience has been focused on the ERP modernizations. From day one, the support has always been there for me. The mentorship and coaching that we receive at IBM is second to none. For example, Associates are paired with “buddies” who have been through the Associates program and who help navigate our careers. Everyone is fully empowered to help others through the various mentorship programs.

In fact, key to my success was having people I respect mentoring me along the way, providing me with opportunities, and advocating for me through challenges or new opportunities that arose. This helped me gain confidence and build my skills, capabilities, and experience as I took on new responsibilities, and contributed to the promotions I received along the way.

With the nature of consulting for companies across Canada, travelling four days a week was a regular occurrence. When growing my family became a priority, I was afforded the opportunity to broaden my knowledge and capabilities in a new role, closer to home.

As a business development manager supporting the federal government, I had the opportunity to position IBM services to assist in the digitization of citizen services and internal operations. Stretch roles are available at IBM to top talent, who demonstrate the performance and potential to excel, and we often encourage people to take on stretch opportunities to challenge themselves and continue to grow. I spent a year growing my sales-focused capabilities, developing relationships, and helping solve complex business challenges.

Currently I am an associate partner supporting both the sales and delivery of IBM Consulting services for our public sector clients focused on SAP Modernization programs.

 

TJ’s Story

“Since joining IBM in 2010, I’ve had close to 10 different roles within IBM Consulting, and each one built upon the learnings and experiences of the previous one. I believe IBM gives smart, ambitious people an opportunity to really create their own career trajectory.

When I joined as an entry-level consultant, I was parachuted into our SAP consulting line of business, growing into a team lead role in our SAP program with the Department of National Defence. Within two years of starting my career, I went from first day on the job to leading world-class, first-of-a-kind deployments of next-generation, SAP solutions for the Canadian Navy.

I then took advantage of an opportunity as an account executive with the Province of Nova Scotia account. Travelling to Halifax 30 weeks a year for several years, I built some amazing relationships and friendships that continue to this day. During this time, my wife and I started talking about growing our family. Clearly, I needed to reduce my travel.

After selling the first-ever Public Sector Innovation Garage with our Nova Scotia account, IBM afforded me the opportunity to balance my career and home life by moving into a role in Ottawa leading data and technology projects as part of IBM’s federal team. I’m now proud to be leading one of the largest Salesforce programs in the country with a marquee Canadian brand.

 

Mountaintops and mentorships

 

Caitlin

A peak experience for me, was in April 2021, when the IBM Consulting Team led a successful S/4HANA go live in the federal government. An incredibly successful S/4HANA financial transformation in the federal government, but it’s also a great delivery story because we were just two months into the project when the pandemic started.

From then on, we worked completely remotely. We stayed true to our go-live date of April 1st, 2021, which never budged. Leading through such a challenging time wasn’t easy, but and everybody dug in and got ready to deliver for the client. The success of the project was a massive testament to the teamwork and commitment of the IBMers and clients on the project. I was so proud of the achievement of our team.

The advancement of women at IBM is a top priority for our IBM leadership team. IBM has established dedicated mentorship programs to support women’s career advancement, where top female talent are paired with an executive from our Executive Leadership Team (ELT) as a mentor to share advice, opportunities, experience, and coaching. The Executive Sponsorship offered at IBM is a true testament to the culture here. The ELT Sponsors top talent into executive positions. They champion, advocate and provide exposure to up-and-coming talent.

I am so proud to be co-leading a program of this calibre. It is extremely refreshing to see how committed our ELT is to advancing women into leadership and executive roles.”

 

TJ

“In my early days as a consulting associate, I found myself in a boardroom with a team of 4 or 5 IBMers and the Vice-Admiral of the Canadian Navy. The Navy was seeking to explore opportunities to utilize next generation technology to advance onboard safety and operations. We built a prototype AI voice command capability Virtual Bridge Assistant called Boatswain’s Mate, which the Vice-Admiral demonstrated at the Navy’s annual conference.

I remember thinking, what an amazing opportunity for me to see how IBM and its partners were using next-generation technologies to build world-class solutions that augmented decision-making where it mattered most.

The other career highlight that stands out has been the ability to contribute directly to the growth of other people’s careers. I focus on having one-on-one conversations with my teammates about their readiness to take on stretch assignments, or roles that they’re passionate about. We are investing in our people in this way, and by having people in roles that excite them, it gives IBM an opportunity to better solve client problems.”

 

As we invest in our people, our people invest in IBM

Running a successful company means putting people first. Research by The Harris Poll found that one in three employees had quit their jobs because they didn’t feel the company had invested in developing their skills and learning. With skilled employees in high demand, investing in employee growth helps them envision an exciting future within the organization.

Dave McCann, IBM Canada President and Managing Partner, IBM Canada Consulting, affirms that IBM is committed to continually investing in its people.

“We run a people-based company. Both our clients and our employees are at the heart of our strategy. They’re the first thing we think about when we wake up and work in the morning, and the last thing every night.

Can going to work be satisfying, rewarding and empowering? We believe the answer is yes. For us, the opportunity to manage projects, gain contracts and negotiation training, experience support by mentors and executive leaders, and much more, represent a big investment by IBM in our career growth.

As IBM continues to invest in our people, our people will invest in co-creating market-making opportunities with our clients – and in the future of a company that cares.

 

 

Caitlyn Mouland, Associate Partner – IBM Consulting | SAP Public Sector Consulting, IBM Canada
LinkedIn

 

TJ Stidwill, Associate Partner, Public Sector Data and Technology Transformation, IBM Canada
LinkedIn

 

LEARN MORE

Consulting Associates Program

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