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(7 min read) The Inspirational Executive Series consists of interviews with our executive IBMers to demonstrate how you can successfully build an executive career in this increasingly demanding market. Juggling work, life, and family commitments is a daunting challenge, but this series reveals how, with careful time management, flexible leadership, and a willingness to embrace the challenge, IBM can support successful executives to succeed in every aspect of their careers.
On this issue of The Inspirational Executive Series, we are featuring Valerie Maure, Mobile Executive Leader, UK and Europe, IX.
About Valerie Maure
Valerie has been a creative consultant for 25 years with a recognized ability to leverage a combination of design and leading-edge technologies to help clients transform. A resilient and audacious change catalyst, she is able to identify innovation opportunities including game changing partnerships, define and execute large-scale digital transformation programs, inspire and lead in complex environments where achieving objectives in the context of a high-performance culture is the norm.
This IBM inspirational executive believes that there is no transformation without creativity, no innovation without uncertainty, no learning without mistakes, and that agility brings great value when leveraged properly.
She is very passionate about people: assembling great and fast-growing teams by recruiting and coaching the next generation of leaders, giving space to young talents while valuing experienced profiles. She leads by a shared vision and delegation, and believes successful teams combine complementary profiles and approaches. I am also an active sponsor of all inclusions.
Her DNA is in the consumer industries, essentially in retail, consumer products and transportation, and for Valerie, “Customer experience is central to everything I shape.”
Can you describe your role at IBM?
I rejoined IBM six months ago as the UK and Europe mobile practice lead and therefore proudly sit in the IX family, which has been my home since it was created some years ago. Mobile is not an option. On the contrary, it is already a commoditized way to interact with consumers, empower employees, and trade with partners—I would be surprised if you do not experience it every day. Our role in the mobile team is to integrate all the leading-edge technologies IBM has developed and acquired – in data and cloud, security, iOT, and blockchain – into transformative apps to be able to provide a superior experience.
What skills and experience have you developed over your career that lead you to this position?
I had quite a few jobs at IBM, covering different entities and markets.
I started in France, in Global Business Services (GBS) and, moved to Sales and Distribution where I was Executive Assistant of the CGM and Distribution sector leader. Selling mainframe and managing Software Group compliance was a fabulous experience.
In GBS, I worked in France and now UK and I have adored being part of Matt Candy’s team as IX was launched. It was such an exciting entrepreneurial part of my career where I contribute to a renewal of the external IBM image as well as the internal culture! Each role brings complementary skills and most of them shape you according to who you are. And indeed, I have learned that the key to success it to bring who you are to the role you are given.
Can you tell us about the work you do outside of your role as Mobile Executive Leader at IBM?
I am part of a think tank called “Engage” which looks to reinvent tomorrow’s world around key society subjects such as education, environment, and politics. I really enjoy being confronted by different disruptive perspectives, and discussions in this group provide challenging viewpoints on the role of large corporations in a world where success is measured on other than financial criteria. I have also managed a contemporary dance company for some years.
What is your favorite thing about being an IBMer?
Interestingly, I left IBM a couple of years ago to move to Apple. It is a fabulously successful company with a strong culture, but I rapidly found that there was a DNA mismatch and was blessed to be offered to come back “home”. That experience taught me how culture is an important part of being happy and successful and more personally that I need a very diverse, inclusive and agile culture to give my best.
Today, I feel incredibly excited about what I do and who I do it with—a bunch of very creative, young, and passionate people. I cherish IBM because it lets you be and grow who you are, and it recognizes that success can only be achieved through diversity and inclusion of different talents, backgrounds, personalities.
What are your hobbies, interests, and passions outside of IBM?
Definitely mountains in winter and mountains in summer. Chamonix is the place I retreat to as often as possible to skin-up slopes and climb. I also support my children’s passions in sustainable development, art for all, football, and skateboarding. I also cook and really like good wine, mostly pinot noir.
What interesting fact about yourself can you share with us?
I burned out once which means I woke up one morning incapable of opening my computer and going to the office. It led to a two-month leave of absence that transformed me upside down. I feel so much stronger after that experience of bringing myself outside limits. We often say “pressure is a privilege” and I completely agree to that statement as long as we manage the pressure and, most importantly, the sense in what we do. Reading books, letting the mind wander and having little moments for myself, my partner and my family are things I have learned with maturity.
How do you manage your work life balance?
I have personal non-negotiables you would laugh at such as always eating breakfast, a little daily meditation, lots of exercise (I cycle to work), and family time. Nothing fancy, but it’s finding a basic balance. I also surround myself with great autonomous people.
What advice would you give to employees aspiring to an executive career?
Have the courage to take risks as you will either win by drastically changing things or win by having learned something; surround yourself with people bringing different uncomfortable perspectives; manage your time; and stay aligned with who you truly are!
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