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Icons of Progress

Building an Equal Opportunity Workforce


All IBMers are encouraged to take pride in their company and their own identities. Employees from all walks of life have demonstrated how self-expression can have positive impacts—for themselves, IBM and society. These IBMers exemplify commitment to equal opportunity in all walks of life through their participation in social, cultural, and educational initiatives and organizations.

David Schwartzkopf

Afflicted with cerebral palsy and legally blind, David Schwartzkopf’s personal experience has fueled his drive to improve the lives of those who also face the challenges of disability. From 1967 to 1996, Schwartzkopf held various positions of responsibility within IBM, from product development group and team leader, to manager of technical education. While serving as a consultant he was responsible for putting the Americans with Disabilities Act into practice at IBM, Rochester. In 1969, the company provided Schwartzkopf with an exclusive grant to enable IBM computers to print in Braille. Following his tenure at IBM, he served as assistant commissioner of the Minnesota Division of Rehabilitation Services and executive director of the Southeastern Minnesota Center for Independent Living. His outstanding record of achievement in the field of accessibility was recognized in 1990, when US President George Bush presented Schwartzkopf with the Disabled American of the Year award.

Charles Lickel

In 2009, retired IBM Vice President Charles Lickel received the Harvey Milk Alumni Award from the State University of New York at Albany for his commitment to the GLBT community. Charles is a director on the boards of Out & Equal, a leading GLBT workforce advocacy group and the Guidance Center, a social service agency in Westchester County, New York. Beginning in 1998, he served as IBM’s first co-chair of the GLBT diversity task force. In 2001, the Gay Financial Network 25 recognized Lickel for his contribution to a culture of inclusion in the workplace and for exemplary professional leadership. During his 30-year career at IBM, Lickel earned four patents.

Steve Scott

Steve Scott, an IBM software development manager, combines his own Cherokee heritage with an active concern for children. As a frequent career coach for middle school students, Scott has spent substantial time encouraging and educating Native American youngsters. His primary objective is to spark their interest in technology-oriented careers. On North Carolina’s Cherokee reservation, in a remote area 300 miles away from Raleigh, Scott successfully enlisted the help of fellow IBMers to run a technology camp on the reservation. Students engaged in realistic technology development projects and learned about the career opportunities available to them at companies like IBM.

Silvy Vluggen

Silvy Vluggen is IBM’s global GLBT program manager, with worldwide responsibility for the development and implementation of IBM’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender policies and programs. She works with senior leaders across the globe on challenges connected with the GLBT constituency. Vluggen is responsible for all coordinated initiatives and activities of the councils, task forces and diversity network groups who champion GLBT activities at IBM. She also manages the external relationships for the GLBT constituency, and has worldwide responsibility for cultural intelligence, helping to ensure that every employee is capable of achieving results in a multicultural environment. An IBMer since 2001, Vluggen was part of IBM’s Software Group before joining the HR organization. Prior to her current role, she served as IBM’s critical situations manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Wim De Pauw

In 2010, IBM software visualization researcher and manager, Dr. Wim De Pauw, was an individual sponsor of the Twelfth Annual Prideworks Youth Conference in White Plains, NY. Prideworks supports GLBT youth through education, awareness and advocacy. An IBMer for nearly 20 years, Dr. De Pauw has witnessed the ongoing advancements in diversity and equal opportunity at the company. In Out and Proud, an IBM recruitment brochure written for GLBT prospects, Wim comments, “When IBM approved ‘same-sex’ domestic partner benefits, it was a big message to me as a gay employee. It was also an important message to all employees.”

Raul Cosio

As vice president of technical sales and support, Raul Cosio’s unwavering focus on equal opportunity has helped yield remarkable progress at IBM. In 1995, Cosio was tapped as co-chair of the first Hispanic Executive Task Force, a post he continues to hold. Thanks in large part to his work, the ranks of female Hispanic executives rose 343 percent between 1996 and 2007. Roughly 1000 Hispanic IBMers have logged onto HispaNet, the company’s online Hispanic networking initiative, which he spearheaded. Among the many honors and accolades Cosio has received over the years are the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility Award for Support of the Hispanic Community and the National Eagle Leadership Institute Award for business and community leadership.