November 11, 2019
Categorized: Diversity | IBMer Stories | Inclusion
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(2 min read) By Cecilia Duffus
Looking back at what led me to IBM, it truly is an engrossing tale of how I got here. While considering different options on my transition out of the military, my mentors said I have a great story to tell for interviews.
I started off in the US Army at the age of 17 (and, yes, I had to get my parents’ approval). I was sent off to basic training in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Then, I moved to Fort Gordon, Georgia for advanced training in communications and my first duty station was Fort Hood, Texas. While stationed at Fort Hood, I deployed to two different countries. I met my husband, who is also a soldier, during a 9-month duty in Korea. We have been inseparable ever since. We then got transferred to Georgia and about a year and a half later we had our wonderful baby girl named Emilia.
Transitioning Out of the Military
Once Emilia was born, I knew I couldn’t continue to travel or do military duty. She would never get to see us if both my husband and I were in the military. I thought about my future and about how I was going to provide for her. Female veterans have higher unemployment rates than their male counterparts, and I didn’t want to be another statistic. I wanted to be an excellent role model for my daughter and show her that I could balance my work and life.
I came across a flyer in the Transition Center office for an internship called “Service2Software.” It advertised on-the-job training with a SaaS company during your last 6-months of service. The internship was centered around Business Development and Sales. After talking with the program director, it sounded like it would be a great fit for me. I wanted to transform myself into a business professional but had no idea where to start. This internship had a plan laid out to ease the transition into corporate America.
An Apprenticeship with IBM
My mentors from the program led me to the recruiters at IBM and I landed this amazing role as a Technical Solutions Seller Apprentice. I had a couple of offers on the table, but IBM was where I truly wanted to work. IBM has earned a spot on the Working Mother 100 Best Companies list for 33 years. IBM fosters innovation and believes in growth. Those commodities were the main three things I was looking for in my career after the service.
I’m completely happy here and excited to see where this apprenticeship takes me.
Learn more about how the IBM New Collar Apprenticeship Program creates new pathways to employment for candidates without an advanced degree.
About the Author
Cecilia Duffus is a Technical Sales Specialist Apprentice working in Global Markets. She joined IBM in August 2019 after transitioning out of the US Army and is based in Coppell, Texas.