Women at IBM

Sonali Parande: An Inspirational Executive

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The women of IBM are doing some amazing things to change the world, so let’s celebrate them! This March to celebrate women’s history month and #IWD2020, our incredible female IBMers are sharing their stories with you. Want to learn more about the incredible women at IBM and how you can join them and work at IBM? Head over to our Careers Page to learn more!

Today, meet Sonali, an inspiring IBM executive from London. Sonali is an internationally positioned Senior Executive with over 20 years of experience! Throughout her career, she has worked in many organizations, from start-ups to large multinationals, and has worked across a number of industries. What is the common thread across all her roles? Each has had significant room for growth and transformation. Of her experience so far, Somali says, “My roles continue to offer me great learning opportunities, and I am motivated to create success for my clients and my teams.”

 

Can you describe your role at IBM?

I am an Executive Partner in the communications sector. Specifically, I work within the Energy, Environment, and Utility industry team. I work with clients who want to embark on transformative journeys and leverage IBM’s wealth of knowledge and cognitive tools to expedite their time to return on investment.

Currently, I am working with a large Midlands-based water utility company. This client is in a unique position of being fast-tracked by Ofwat (the governing body of the water industry) and being tagged as a transformational leader in the industry. This is not just because of their deliveries in the last 5 years, but also because their plans are backed by solid data and strategy for the next 5 years.

 

What skills and experience have you developed over your career to lead you to this position?

There are oceans of knowledge that will last us a lifetime and beyond. I love to keep my mind fertile, to allow learning to grow. Success for your clients and your teams comes from listening, empathy, and the ability to adapt. I have deeply embedded global and cross-industry knowledge, culture, integrity, and the ability to enable transformation. I leverage these things to create success for my clients and teams.

Additionally, I soak up all that I can learn from the younger generation and leaders alike. The virtue of humility comes with practice. To stop and breathe at a milestone accomplishment is hard to master and is always work in progress for me. I have a lot of gratitude towards all my clients and colleagues who have played a critical role in my career.

 

Outside of IBM, what are your hobbies and interests?

My hobbies include hiking (I hiked Kilimanjaro in 2019!), traveling, reading, and meeting new people. I want to learn from my journeys, my challenges, and my victories. So I want to understand trends in technology, finance, gastronomy, religion – my passion for learning is what makes me! I am also very passionate about furthering causes that support and enable children to create an even more beautiful tomorrow.

 

 

What is your favorite thing about being an IBMer?

Early on, a fellow IBMer told me that at IBM, you make your own box in which you operate. You will be supported at every stage to discover what the guard rails of your box are. And the best thing is, you can change, expand or contract your box as you like! It took me some time to understand this, but now I have started building my box, I am loving it.

 

Do you have any recommendations for employees aspiring to an executive career at IBM?

The pace of change has gathered speed and will only continue to increase. Focus on skills that make you essential to the industry and your client. Never underestimate the value of family as you maneuver through life and career. And most importantly, have fun!

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