Embracing Change, Making a Difference

Clarissa is a Strategy Consultant for IBM Consulting. She was born in Brooklyn, NY, and is a proud Nuyorican of Puerto Rican and Peruvian descent. She studied at NYU before joining IBM, where she spent 26 years developing expertise in program management, business operations, and strategic financial planning.

She believes in balance, so she volunteers by mentoring students, facilitating courses on coaching, business leadership, and finance, and works on productions for authentic representation of the Latino culture for the Familia@IBM and Hola@IBM communities.

Over the last 29 years, Clarissa has built a life with her loving husband, and together, they have opened their hearts and home to five rescued dogs.

In this blog, Clarissa provides insight into her experience as a Latina at IBM, shedding light on the importance of inclusivity, and the incredible power of resiliency, growth, and self-confidence.

 

Growing up in the vibrant chaos of Coney Island, NY was an adventure like no other. The sounds of laughter, the scent of saltwater in the air, the rhythm of life displayed by both locals and tourists alike – it all became an essential part of who I am.

With immigrant parents from the Caribbean and South America, I was blessed with a double dose of cultural richness.  My home resembled a vibrant mosaic, mirroring the beauty of my heritage and the symphony of urban life where the city’s echoes harmonized with the distant rhythms of the ocean.

Oh, and my no-nonsense attitude? Well, it’s stronger than my fading Brooklyn accent. Where I come from, we don’t have time to beat around the bush. We tackle life head-on, unapologetically, and with a fire in our hearts. It instilled in me an ability to read the world around me, to navigate its twists and turns with a mix of intuition and street smarts. It wasn’t just a skill; it was instinct. I learned to be adaptable, to seize opportunities, and to always keep my wits about me.

Life in New York taught me to be tough, to stand my ground, and to embrace my culture with pride.

 

 

My journey at IBM has been anything but linear. Throughout the years, I’ve encountered biases and preconceived notions. I’ve had to work hard to prove myself, battling against assumptions that I might not be as competent or capable as my peers.

However, thriving at IBM for me wasn’t just about climbing the corporate ladder or excelling in my role; it was about embracing change and adopting a forward mindset. Every challenge became an opportunity to learn, to stretch beyond my comfort zone, and to unearth hidden potentials. Whenever I stepped into unfamiliar territory, I reminded myself that I was armed with the resilience and determination rooted in my Brooklyn Latina upbringing.

As I navigated the roller coaster of corporate life, I realized that my immigrant parents had unknowingly given me a unique set of skills. The hardships they’d overcome, the sacrifices they’d made – they were all woven into my DNA, creating a natural wellspring of resilience. When I encountered setbacks, I channeled that spirit of perseverance, reminding myself that giving up was never an option.

We’ve been through so much as a community, and that history of overcoming adversities became my backbone. If my ancestors could grow and change despite challenges, then I certainly had it in me to do so.

But perhaps the most powerful tool in my arsenal was my belief in myself. As a Latina, I understood the importance of my voice in a corporate landscape. My unique perspective, rooted in my heritage, added depth to discussions and fostered a culture of inclusivity. I became a champion of my own ideas, confident in the knowledge that my voice mattered.

So, to all the dreamers out there, remember this: your roots are your strength, your attitude shapes your destiny, and your belief in yourself can move mountains. Embrace your journey, and let your story be a testament to the incredible power of resilience, growth, and self-confidence.

 


Discover Your Potential at IBM

For more than 110 years, IBM has been a catalyst that makes the world work better, and we remain dedicated to driving actionable change and outcomes for a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive society.

Consider IBM as the next step in your career journey!

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