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In the Inspirational Executive Series, we interview executive IBMers on how they have successfully built a career in leadership in this demanding market. Juggling work, life, and family commitments is a daunting challenge. This series reveals how, with time management, flexibility, and a willingness to embrace challenges, successful executives can succeed at IBM.
In this Inspirational Executive interview, we talk to Marietta Davis, Vice President, Enterprise, NA Communications and CSI Market with IBM Global Markets. Marietta has built her success and brand as a visionary and inspirational leader in the most authentic way. She works on developing individuals and teams to unleash their full potential.
Starting off with an easy question, what is your position at IBM?
My role as Vice President, Enterprise Sector within the communications market is helping clients succeed within their respective industry space. Whether it be Utilities, Media & Entertainment, or CSI our goal is to focus on what is best for our clients by harnessing the best of IBM assets, cloud, Z mainframe, Storage, Software, combined with services from Global Business Services (GBS) and Global Technology Services (GTS). We are the face of the IBM to our clients within the c-suite and all other roles within the accounts.
What skills and experience developed over your career led you to this leadership position?
My focus is and will always be on the satisfaction of my client and partners, my team and my company. When you put your clients’ goals first, you work to develop solutions that are win-win in the market place. We can often develop joint solutions to bring to market that impact the planet. Bottom line: our goal is to THINK, so we can help develop a better planet.
What would you say is the key ingredient to the success of your sales career?
Exceptional salespeople enable their customers to be wildly successful. Inspirational sales leaders enable their teams to be wildly successful. I have empowered people by focusing on relationships and clearly communicating expectations. I work to create an environment that cultivates a commitment to fundamentals and repeatable processes that drive success. Making these connections with customers and my teams is what has fuelled my growth as a sales leader and business executive. When I am helping others grow, inspire and achieve, we all win!
Navigating the world of technology over the past 3 decades has taught me that my skills and passion are suited for driving change, executing turnarounds and transforming businesses. Knowing that what I do is valued and contributes to the greater good—for my team, the company, and my community—keeps me motivated to strive for the next goal post.
What is your favorite thing about being an IBMer?
My favorite thing is the impact we can have on future generations. Through programs like IBM P-Tech and other incredibly rich offerings, we will impact the next generation of leaders.
How do you manage work-life balance?
I enjoy cooking and pilates, but my passion is giving back. I am active with service projects within my sorority and church, and I also serve on the board of three amazing non-profits: Youth Villages, Posse Foundation, and Vision to Learn.
Can you tell us more about the projects you work on outside of IBM?
My passion is and will always be helping others. I sit on the board of Youth Villages. Youth Villages provides help for young people across the United States who face a wide range of emotional, mental and behavioral problems. We work to find solutions using proven treatment models. They strengthen the child’s family and support systems and dramatically improve their long-term success. Youth Villages has helped more than 25,000 young people and their families this year.
I also work with the Posse Foundation. The Posse model is rooted in the belief that a small, diverse group of talented students – a Posse – carefully selected and trained, can serve as a catalyst for individual and community development. Posse believes that the leaders of the 21st century should reflect the country’s rich demographic mix. The key to our future rests on the ability of strong leaders to develop consensus solutions to complex social problems. Posse’s primary aim is to train these leaders of tomorrow. I often mentor young women of color with a focus on STEM. Additionally, I am an active member of the Autism Society.
What are your hobbies and interests outside of IBM?
I love to read, mentor and spend time with friends and family. Also, I am a HUGE NBA basketball fan.
What’s one fun fact about yourself?
I once sang an Ike and Tina Turner song at the House of Blues in Memphis!
Finally, do you have any recommendations for those aspiring to an executive career?
Be authentic to who you are. Have a servant leadership passion. Don’t aspire to the role, aspire to be the best at where you are today. The future will reveal itself in time.