She clearly loves technology for what it can do for the world. “One reason I am at IBM is its commitment to leverage advanced technology and continue to push the innovation envelope to deliver value to the industry and benefit for clients..”
She characterizes herself as a 'tech optimist with a strong dash of the entrepreneur.' Very early in her career, in 1987 she co-founded and served as president and chairman of Thinque Systems, a software pioneer for mobile devices with integrated capabilities to help field workers be more effective: it was a global success, adopted by distribution giants including Nestlé, 7Up and Anheuser-Busch.
Before joining IBM, she spent six years with Intel, as GM running its IoT strategy and integrated platform group and before that, was GM of Intel’s hybrid cloud business. As Global MD, CTO and VP at IBM she still encourages entrepreneurship above all other values among her teams. “To be a good leader you have to be an entrepreneurial thinker – anticipating and adapting to enable new capabilities that deliver higher value to users.”
Innovation is another of her tenets. “I am always thinking about different uses for technology. One of the things that attracted me to IBM was its commitment to pushing the innovation envelope. What I find really inspiring are the endless possibilities innovation presents to leverage technology for the benefit of humankind, giving hope that we can meet pressing global challenges of providing nutrition and healthcare to everyone, or urgently addressing pollution, global warming and climate change for example.”
She is no autocrat or micromanager: “I find it’s important to lead by example. I work to ensure my team develops a combination of trusting their own vision and approach, and is able to articulate and execute their decisions. That is the pattern I try to follow. I try to role model the qualities I expect in others. I try to communicate to my teams that my expectations from them are no different than the expectations from myself. If my teams see me practicing those values and demonstrating those when working across different divisions as well as with clients, that will help foster empowerment, collaboration and encourage inclusiveness.”
“Being inclusive is very important to me. I work to ensure that people feel included and are in jobs that leverage their strengths. It’s important to know yourself as a whole person, and play to your strengths: that way you will build your confidence and at the same time advance your skills and talents.” Her managers need never be afraid to admit their mistakes: “I believe in accountability: if something goes wrong, I take responsibility, look to find a resolution and learn from the experience. Mistakes and failure are important elements of growth..”
Such passionate espousal of the principles of inclusiveness, collaboration and co-creation runs deep with Bridget Karlin. In the years she headed the software company she founded, client co-creation was at the heart of its success. “These are best practices, not because we say so but because they prove successful from generation to generation of technology.”
Bridget has a busy life. In addition to her day job, she is visible in the industry, helping to advance the growth and adoption of technology. She serves as chairman of the board of Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which represents the $398 billion US consumer technology industry, and serves on the board of Dana Inc, (NYSE:DAN) a world leader in providing power-conveyance and energy-management solutions for vehicles and machinery, from axles, driveshafts, and transmissions to electrodynamic, thermal, sealing, and digital solutions, enabling the propulsion of conventional, hybrid, and electric-powered vehicles. When not at work, she enjoys kayaking, playing tennis and hiking in the tranquility of Westchester, New York where she lives.
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