[Leadership Development] Renewing my vows with IBM.

The continuation to the journey of getting unstuck, rediscovering purpose and building my very own authentic definition of success.

If you read my latest post on “The journey to finding purpose”, this is a continuation to that post. If you haven’t, pop over there to get the scoop.

In short: I explained how I had been feeling stuck for about 6 years, dug into the detail of the turning point that helped me get unstuck and how I planned to take action. In only 5mos after this get-unstuck-journey I met my goal to switch gears in my career and find more meaningful work — work tied to my purpose.

I’m here to catch you up on the actions taken and the incredible transition I’ve been through. I worked through all the actions I took and held myself responsible for all of them. I’ll fast forward to the good news (cause why wait?): I had set out to get a job in Talent/Learning/HR/mainly focus on people and growth strategies by March 2019. Guess what happened on March 1, 2019? I started a new role (custom-designed with my epically talented new boss) in the Leadership, Learning & Inclusion group at IBM.

I now joke that I essentially created a vision board during my time with Your Project X but as silly as it may sound, I did do exactly that. Just with a few more uncomfortable layers: de-constructing and re-constructing my view of myself, my past and my future.

This past summer I almost left IBM. Yep, I was about to go back to freelancing (I left my LLC for a Corporation). What’s better than working for yourself, right? Well I’ll tell you what: the people I met at IBM. This post is by no means endorsed by IBM — I really mean it. Every time a friend, a coworker, a mentor would ask “Why have you not left yet if you want to leave so bad?”, I would always answer “The people here”, and then I would pause and hear how silly that sounded. But was it? Who cares where you work—from crunching numbers at an office, to a pet hospital, to an ice cream parlour, to gazillion digital agencies in NYC, it’s always been about the people, not the work, nor the company. My dear mentor helped me reframe my perception of the problem in front of me.

“With your experience, you can go to any competitor tomorrow and shake things up. Google, Facebook, Amazon, you name it. But you will face the same mundane daily grind, similar conflicts, issues and challenges. It won’t be any different. If ‘the people’ is what’s important to you here, try to find something that will make you happy doing here first and if not, then leave. But at least give it a try.”

And just like that I took off on a 4 month sprint of coffee dates and lunches. I listened for smart strategies, intent for change and good leader qualities. I did not know not much about HR and the worlds of Talent, Learning and Development. It was intimidating to say the least. Folks went to school for completely different things than I did to enter these fields but slowly but surely I came to realize how my background and perspective would offer support or at least complement each other. I did my homework, compared my notes and zeroed in on the group that aligned the most with my values. Most importantly it’s the group that touches humans in terms of offering growth paths for their own development. They also happen to be wicked smart bunch of inspiring leaders to be beside and follow.

Fast forward to today.
3.5 mos into a new role, in a new industry! Intense, fun, uncomfortable, stressful, passionate, brain-numbing, optimistic, positive and growing every day — I’m happy. Stay tuned as I plan to write more. Until then, below is follow up detail from the original post in case you care to indulge.

Oh, and today is IBM’s birthday. Here’s to another 108yrs. However, I plan to shake things up in way less time than that ;)


  • Take action on a product/business idea within 30 days: FAIL
    Out of Your Project X, I had a product idea I was suppose to push into MVP mode. It was to be called CoachSpace; a hybrid of coaching, therapy and peer-mentoring models. It’s the Noom of this space. In inspiration of Noom’s clear and catchy: CoachSpace helps you build healthier habits to get in shape — no dieting needed. I got distracted (will explain below) and didn’t move along on CoachSpace. If it sounds enticing to you, give me nudge. (Sidenote: I just so happened to try Noom right after Your Project X and it’s hands-down such a different approach to nutrition education. Happy to answer any questions from my trial phase)
  • Conduct more research and interview Coaches to learn more about the practice and certifications: SUCCESS
    I took a few lay-of-the-land calls with coaches to find the right education/certification program that suit me. I spoke with 7 coaches and even made a new friend out of one of them! I’ll be honest: the education and training options are overwhelming. You need to dive in and practice first. I read John Whitmore’s 101 book Coaching for Performance in parallel to taking IBM’s in-house Coaching Development course, Blue Core Coaching. Just completed both this past month and will continue to coach my 3 IBM clients and take things from there!
  • Put my learnings from my experience with TalkSpace to use anytime needed: SUCCESS.
    The toolkit I acquired allows me to dip into balance, focus, intent, goals, self-care and to be more aware of things around me.
  • Put my learnings from Headspace to use on the daily: SEMI-SUCCESS
    I learned how hard and how important it is to take breaks in your day to slow down, to relax, and sometimes to challenge your mode of thinking. I definitely did not use Headspace as much as I wanted to, but have been more aware of the resilience needed to relive work and life stressors.
  • Get a job in Talent Development: MEGA SUCCESS ← READ THAT AGAIN.
    My actions were:
    taking intros, calls and meetings with various folks that work in or have retired from HR to get more perspective in a rather new industry for me. BOOM: DONE.
  • Learn from my time with BestSelf Co journal and visualize my entire day to avoid letting work or my inboxes dictated the planning of my day: SUCCESS
    I do these things ever since:
    1. I use a the Mac Reminders Lists to organize my ‘thinking’ and ‘doing’ tasks by This Week and Next Week view (I do this for my personal life too)
    2. I use a notebook to capture key notes from every conversation and meeting (I will use digital notes too).
    3. I express gratitude and drop moments of mindfulness in team Slack channels.
    4. I clean up my calendar and inbox every eve between 4–6pm. I sleep better and don’t swim in my inboxes anymore!

I am in flow when I mix program management, leadership development & wellness — and I’m here to write about all three of these areas. Thanks for stoppin’ by.