Home Impact 2023 IBM Impact Report IBMers Meet the IBMers

From apprentice to AI engineer, volunteers to senior leaders, get to know some of the IBMers making a difference across the globe     

Governing AI through multiple lenses
Christina Montgomery, IBM Chief Privacy and Trust Officer

The rapid expansion of artificial intelligence is unprecedented and magnifies the need for the support and creation of responsible technology. At IBM, we believe the rising tide of artificial intelligence (AI) should lift all boats and we are committed to playing a pivotal role in bringing forward responsible AI.

Christina Montgomery, IBM Chief Privacy and Trust Officer, leads the company’s efforts in addressing AI governance. In this unprecedented era of global AI innovation, Christina has helped set a vision in which IBMers acknowledge that the importance of innovation is as much about its impact as it is about invention. Confronting and mitigating the immediate and long-term risks that AI poses to our society is setting the standard for how we, as a trusted partner, approach the integration of AI into business and society.

Under Christina’s leadership, IBM is actively engaged in promoting AI ethics and governance globally both internally and externally through education, participation in international events and through the contribution to the development of industry standards and guidelines, advancing a risk-based approach to the regulation of AI. IBM is also a “living lab,” continuously using our own experience to inform and produce solutions with the capabilities needed to help, develop, deploy, and use AI responsibly. In 2023, our governance framework was used to inform AI solutions designed to accelerate responsible, transparent and explainable AI workflows.

Ensuring technology ethics and diversity among suppliers
Jennifer Turner, Program Director, Global Supplier Diversity

For IBM, responsible tech extends through our value chain including suppliers. IBM holds itself to high social, environmental and ethical standards and we expect IBM suppliers to do the same.

Since 2010, IBM has required that its first-tier suppliers maintain a management system to address their social and environmental responsibilities. The company's objective is to help its suppliers build their own capability to succeed in this area. Also, we require them to report their own diverse supplier expenditures that are utilized in support of IBM contracts and are collected as second-tier spending.

In partnering with our suppliers to serve IBM and its customers, IBM also requires all suppliers to sign a commitment to adhere to the Responsible Business Alliance Code of Conduct which includes social, environmental, and ethical industry standards. These standards include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The International Labor Organization’s Standards, The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and many more. Also, following our commitment to train 1000 tech suppliers by 2025, we trained more than 600 suppliers in technology ethics during last year.

In addition, we recognize that a diverse supplier base is integral to our company’s strategic objectives, and we have a Global Supplier Diversity Program in existence for over 55 years led by Jennifer Turner, Program Director, Global Supplier Diversity and her team.

IBM team’s work has been successful. In 2023, building and maintaining a community of diverse suppliers increased IBM’s opportunity to hear new ideas, apply different approaches, and gain access to additional solutions that respond to our customer needs.

Fostering innovation through diverse leadership
Sola Ogunsola, Vice President, Marketing & Communications

At IBM, every person can bring their authentic selves to work. We have eight official communities, including Women, LGBTQ+, People with Diverse Abilities, Black, Hispanic, Native American, Pan-Asian, and Veterans.

For Sola Ogunsola, Vice President, Marketing & Communications, this is critical not only for equity but also for innovation. Diverse leadership fosters creativity, and this leads to the development of more inclusive and equitable technologies. That’s why IBM fosters a culture of conscious inclusion.

In 2023, this vision was part of the Artificial Intelligence Systems team too, in which Sola is a part of. For Sola, there are two interconnected goals between diversity and her work. In addition to promoting diversity and inclusion within the organization, this helps design and deploy AI systems that promote fairness, equity, and diversity.

For Sola, all this work helps ensure that AI technologies benefit everyone equally and creates pathways for everyone, fostering social mobility and economic empowerment.

Supporting remote communities in Japan
Takahito Motonaga, IBM Sustainability Accelerator Squad Leader

IBM leverages the power of technology and innovation to drive climate solutions, especially for the communities and organizations most impacted by climate change and environmental challenges. In addition, IBM has a commitment to volunteerism, allowing inspired IBMers to combine their talent and skills with passion and purpose.

Through programs like the IBM Sustainability Accelerator, a pro bono social impact program that applies IBM technologies, such as hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence (AI), IBM volunteers donate their time and expertise to help create a lasting impact in communities around the world. Takahito Motonaga is one of these volunteers and he is making a difference in the community where he grew up: Miyakojima City, Okinawa, Japan.

Sustainability issues are often complex, created by a variety of factors, yet Takahito knows the importance of understanding various local realities and bringing heart and passion into the work we do. He serves as the squad leader for the IBM Sustainability Accelerator’s clean energy project in Miyakojima City, where the team is working to develop an energy forecasting model using Cloud and AI solutions. This model aims to contribute to improving the community’s self-sufficiency in clean, renewable energy. He also works closely with the community where he grew up, using local perspectives to strengthen his team’s approach to the project.

Check out other stories from the IBM Sustainability Accelerator

Infusing the power of AI for IBMers
Parul Mishra, Vice President, Product Management, Digital Labor at IBM

Artificial Intelligence (AI) used to be only available to a select few. But for it to be truly transformative, as many people as possible should have access to it and know how it can augment the way we get work done. And that’s something IBM pursued last year. Parul Mishra, Vice President, Product Management, Digital Labor at IBM, was part of the leadership team that brought AI closer to IBMers across the world.

In 2023, thousands of IBMers came together during the “watsonx challenge” to explore how generative AI and automation can be easily infused into existing processes to change the way work gets done. The goal of the challenge was to give all IBMers an opportunity to develop hands-on experience with generative AI so that they could better convey the way it can augment human productivity.

During this challenge, Parul and other team members created ways for IBMers to uncover how large language models can be embraced for productivity— redesigning the way sellers engage with prospects, how procurement sourcing specialists engage with suppliers, and how to transform customer self-serve experiences. IBMers learned to quickly design and build new experiences that leverage these intelligent assistants to get work done on behalf of the user. 

As a result, IBMers can focus more on high value tasks that require a higher degree of creativity, insight, collaboration and execution.

Empowering future technology experts
Oscar Ramirez, IBM SkillsBuild Student

IBM has a longstanding commitment to helping build a diverse and inclusive workforce. We aspire to help democratize opportunity, fill the growing skills gap, and give new generations of workers the tools they need to build a better future for themselves and society.

For this, in 2023, IBM announced a commitment to train two million learners in artificial intelligence (AI) by the end of 2026, with a focus on historically underrepresented communities in tech. IBM offers free education programs such as IBM SkillsBuild, which helps communities develop valuable new skills and access career opportunities.

That’s the case of Oscar Ramirez, who arrived in California from Mexico when he was five. Oscar worked and attended college full-time. During his last semester, Oscar was introduced to the IBM SkillsBuild program through the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. Through the career assessment tool of the program, he identified areas where he could excel and allowed him to dig deeper into learning paths that matched his interests and skills. He started taking courses, such as AI fundamentals, and earning credentials to better stand out for his next role.

Going from apprentice to AI engineer
David Cruz, AI Engineer

When COVID-19 struck, David Cruz took the opportunity to embrace his passion for technology. After a few months of learning more about data science, he decided to take it to the next level and send an application to IBM.

In March 2021, David began working for IBM as a data scientist apprentice. After a two-year program, he was hired as a full-time IBMer and now he is an AI engineer working for IBM’s Client Engineering team.

During his apprenticeship, there were two major components he used to learn and grow. The first component was the technical coursework, which he followed and used to learn all the core skills needed for an effective data science practitioner. The second component was the people. He had a team of worldwide practitioners to learn from and to ask questions. These two elements gave him the ability to fully immerse himself in a culture of growth and curiosity which enabled him to succeed in the apprenticeship.

Embedding net zero goal in business operations with AI
Jimmy McDonough, Global Energy Manager at IBM Global Real Estate

IBM has set a target of reaching operational net zero GHG emissions by 2030 with 350,000 metric tons or less of residual CO2 emissions. This requires that we reduce our current operational emissions as much as possible through energy conservation—increasing operational efficiency and energy conservation and reducing energy consumption.

One of the key challenges is data. In sustainability, it’s a popular saying that you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Jimmy McDonough, Global Energy Manager at IBM Global Real Estate, knows the key to address this—artificial intelligence (AI) powered tools.

In 2023, AI allowed Jimmy and other teams at IBM to capture and analyze IBM’s energy data within a single, auditable tool across a portfolio of over 600 locations. With this, the company can pull reports and filter by location, geography, and utility, among others, to understand where energy consumption is highest, where there are unexpected changes in energy, and where the company has the most opportunity to drive energy conservation to help meet our 2030 net zero target.

For Jimmy and other IBMers, embedding this philosophy and strategy across the company’s operations generates new insights that can create new energy conservation opportunities.

Read more about the work from IBM Global Real Estate

Reusing IBM Z® and IBM Power® to avoid waste
Linda Demmler, GM of IBM Global Asset Recovery Services

For many decades, IBM has developed products with consideration for serviceability and upgradability, and for the reuse, recyclability, and recoverability of materials within them. For this, IBM supports hardware refurbishment, remanufacturing, and recycling. Linda Demmler, GM of IBM Global Asset Recovery Services, leads the team that identifies ongoing opportunities to redeploy IBM Z, IBM Power, IBM Storage and other IT devices to avoid waste.

In 2023, IBM reused equipment that clients returned to IBM when they upgraded their infrastructure with new IBM systems. IBM used this returned equipment to refresh its own internal fleet of servers and storage. Linda and her team initiated a series of projects to replace equipment, such as replacing Z13 with Z15 servers. These projects repurposed servers that ultimately avoided waste and supported IBM’s results of reselling, reusing or recycling 96.8% of end-of-life products.

By utilizing IBM’s Certified Pre-Owned equipment in this project, the team was able to deploy cost effective cloud-based resources to support development teams, which enabled them to have capacity that matched the timing of application support requirements.

Using AI to power sustainable buildings
Wael El Chouwani, IBM Sustainability Software Market Leader

Wael El Chouwani, IBM Sustainability Software Market leader, believes that leveraging the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to support sustainable building operations is of utmost importance. This not only aligns with our commitment to sustainability but also showcases the transformative potential of technology in creating smarter cities, including objectives in sustainability. In 2023, IBM put this into practice with clients such as The King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD).

Created with sustainability in mind, IBM and KAFD worked together on one of the world’s largest real estate projects to achieve LEED Platinum certification for green neighborhood development, the highest accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council. And Wael was part of this project.

Through our collaboration with KAFD, using AI capabilities, IBMers helped achieve sustainable building operations by enabling advanced data analysis and leveraging machine learning algorithms to identify patterns, anomalies, and potential energy-saving opportunities. Thanks to the integration of AI tools, the KADF can optimize energy usage, reduce environmental impact, and enhance overall operational efficiency.

The seamless integration of AI capabilities empowers the KAFD to achieve its sustainability goals, making it a leading example of how technology can power sustainable buildings.

Read more about the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD)

Creating, enhancing and restoring habitats
Andrea Sarudi, IBM Corporate Environmental Affairs

Pollinators are critical for maintaining a diverse ecosystem, and they are fundamental for food production.

That’s why IBM established a global program involving creating, enhancing, and restoring pollinator habitats. Andrea Sarudi, from IBM Corporate Environmental Affairs, worked with IBMers to implement 50 pollinator gardens at IBM locations globally from 2021 to 2023. One such garden involved replacing grass with flower beds in Bogota, Colombia’s capital. This and other pollinator projects required different strategies according to each location and they help not only bees but also flies, moths, butterflies, wasps, beetles, hummingbirds and even bats and small mammals.

By the end of 2023, IBM established 70 pollinator gardens across 26 countries, surpassing the goal of 50. 

Next steps

Want to learn more about IBM's ethical, equitable and environmental impact? Dive deeper into our framework to see how IBMers leverage technology to make a difference.

See the IBM Impact framework