Book Talk: 'Good Power: Leading Positive Change in Our Lives, Work, and World'
Former IBM CEO Ginni Rometty weaves personal stories with tactical leadership advice as she discusses her journey overcoming childhood struggles, rising from entry-level engineer to IBM’s first woman Chairman and CEO, transforming the iconic company’s foundation, advising global leaders, and advancing today’s SkillsFirst movement. In this inspiring discussion, Rometty offers a blueprint for how each of us can drive meaningful change in positive ways—Good Power—in our lives, our organizations, and society.
Organizational and Societal Transformation: Know What Must Change, What Must Endure
Change of any magnitude requires rethinking broken organizations. Do we reinvent pieces, or dismantle everything? How can we overcome systemic barriers? In this discussion, Rometty shares her lessons leading needed and tumultuous change, first at IBM—a global company that birthed the modern IT industry and has lasted for more than a century by reinventing itself many times—and by reimagining education and employment at the non-profit she co-chairs, OneTen. Her leadership lessons transcend industries and countries, and are especially relevant in these times of digital and social upheaval.
DEI: Diversity is a Fact, Inclusion is a Choice
Under Ginni Rometty’s global leadership as the first women Chairman and CEO of IBM, the company transformed its foundation while achieving record results in diversity and inclusion. Rometty is often asked if there was a silver bullet to IBM’s track record. Her answer: diversity is a number, but inclusion is a choice we make again and again. In this conversation, she shares new and proven approaches leaders can use to source new pools of talent and build more diverse and inclusive workforces. Why? Because it makes companies more competitive on the world stage, and is the right thing to do.
Good Tech: How Every Company Can Steward Trust, Security, and Ethics in Tech
Technology has become so pervasive that even companies that do not make or sell tech are considered technology companies. The onus is on leaders in every industry and country to practice good tech, because if societies are to flourish in our digital age, all people must believe technology will lead them to a brighter future, not a darker place. In this conversation, former IBM Chairman and CEO Rometty speaks from experience about how every leader can steward good tech by advocating for issues such as security, privacy, and diversity.
Effective Management: The Velvet Hammer - Do Hard Things in Good Ways
In our polarized times, conflict too often prevents progress. Former IBM Chairman and CEO, Ginni Rometty, has been admired for using a “velvet hammer” with colleagues and clients around the world throughout her forty-year career. In this conversation, Rometty reveals why “how” we lead is as important as “what” we achieve, and shows us how to have difficult conversations in ways that strengthen relationships and inspire others to be their best selves as they embrace tough tasks.
Women in Leadership: You Can’t Be What You Can’t See
From being one of a few women in engineering school, to becoming the first woman Chairman and CEO of IBM, to being No. 1 on Fortune magazine’s Most Powerful Women in Business list three years in a row, Ginni Rometty has paved new paths for women around the world in STEM, tech, and business. In this discussion, she talks about key moments that shaped her, as well as timeless truths that help elevate all women, from the need for role models to the responsibility all women have to be in service of each other.
Virginia M. (Ginni) Rometty is the former Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of IBM.
Ginni became CEO of IBM in 2012 and retired form the company on December 31, 2020. During her tenure she made bold changes to reposition IBM for the future, investing in high-value segments of the IT market and optimizing the company’s portfolio. Under Ginni’s leadership, IBM built out key capabilities in hybrid cloud, data and AI, quantum computing, security, and industry expertise, both organically and through acquisition. IBM acquired 65 companies during Ginni’s tenure as CEO, including Red Hat, the largest acquisition in the company’s history. She reinvented more than 50 percent of IBM’s portfolio, built a $25 billion hybrid cloud business and established IBM’s leadership in AI, quantum computing and blockchain, while divesting nearly $9 billion in annual revenue to focus the portfolio on IBM’s high-value, integrated offerings.
Ginni also established IBM as the model of responsible stewardship in the digital age. She was the industry’s leading voice on technology ethics and data stewardship, working relentlessly to safely usher new technologies into society. She enabled people of diverse backgrounds and education levels to participate in the digital economy by building talent, skills, and opportunity for disadvantaged populations. Under her leadership, IBM created thousands of New Collar jobs and championed the reinvention of education around the world, including the explosive growth of the six-year Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools, or P‑TECHs, which are helping prepare the workforce of the future, serving hundreds of thousands of students in over 240 schools and 28 countries. She also helped to redefine the purpose of the corporation through her work with the Business Roundtable, expanding corporate commitments to include a wide range of stakeholders, from customers to communities.
IBM also achieved record results in diversity and inclusion under Ginni’s leadership. This included extending parental leave and making it easier for women to return to the workforce through a ‘returnship’ program with hands-on work experience in emerging technologies. This pioneering work was recognized in 2018 by the prestigious Catalyst Award for advancing diversity and women’s initiatives. IBM is the only tech company to have earned this recognition in the past 20 years and the only company ever to be honored four times.
Beginning her career with IBM in 1981, Ginni held a series of leadership positions across the company and led the successful integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting, creating a global team of more than 100,000 business consultants and services experts.
Ginni is the co-chair of OneTen, an organization that will combine the power of committed US companies to upskill, hire, and promote one million Black Americans over the next 10 years into family-sustaining jobs with opportunities for advancement. She serves on the Board of Directors of JPMorgan Chase, the Board of Directors of Cargill, the Board of Trustees of Northwestern University, where she is a Vice Chair, the Board of Trustees of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the Board of Trustees of the Brookings Institute, and on the Council on Foreign Relations. Ginni is a member of the Singapore Economic Development Board International Advisory Council, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Advisory Board, and the BDT Capital Advisory Board. Ginni also serves as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Visiting Innovation Fellow.
Ginni has a Bachelor of Science degree with high honors in Computer Sciences from Northwestern University, where she later was awarded an honorary degree. She also has honorary degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and North Carolina State University.