BLACKIRON Data Renews Commitment to Environmental Responsibility
BLACKIRON Data, a wholly owned subsidiary of Rogers Communications Inc., (TSX: RCI.A and RCI.B) (NYSE: RCI), is marking Earth Day with a commitment to environmental responsibility by hosting a series of eWaste collection events and celebrating the recent LEED® certification of its Toronto DC3 data centre.
“At BLACKIRON we recognize that data centres can be taxing on the environment,” says Jennifer Bell, Director of Marketing, BLACKIRON Data. “We are constantly identifying ways to offset or reduce the environmental impact of our facilities across Canada while also helping our customers achieve their own eco-friendly objectives.”
On April 23 and 24, BLACKIRON has partnered with Artex Environmental to provide eWaste collections at four of its data centres across the country. Customers and employees are invited to drop-off retired and obsolete electronic waste, from servers to cell phones and everything in between, at BLACKIRON’s Toronto DC3 (Markham), London, Ottawa and Edmonton facilities.
“What company doesn’t have a pile of outdated equipment hiding somewhere?” states Bell. “Our eWaste collection drives make it simple for our customers and employees to do a little spring cleaning while ensuring that their eWaste will be disposed of in a safe, secure and responsible manner.”
In 2012, the BLACKIRON collection events diverted more than 30,000 tonnes of eWaste from landfills and developing countries.
In March 2013, BLACKIRON’s Toronto DC3 facility was awarded LEED® Silver certification by the Canadian Green Building Council (CaGBC).
From concept to construction, BLACKIRON considered how to make the Toronto DC3 facility environmentally responsible at every touch point. Construction waste materials were diverted from landfills, cutting-edge cooling technology has eliminated millions of litres of water waste and the facility was designed to reduce energy consumption by at least 10%. Employees and customers also enjoy green initiatives such as bike lockers and showers, priority parking for car pooling and electric car charging stations.
“When we set out to build Toronto DC3 we tasked the team with LEED® certification; they went above and beyond to achieve LEED® Silver certification,” continues Bell. “The result is an environmentally responsible facility that has eliminated as much as 100 million litres of water and is energy efficient in addition to being Canada’s first Tier III design and construction certified data centre. Toronto DC3 is truly the crown jewel of our commitment to the environment.”
BLACKIRON is employing the best practices learned during the build of Toronto DC3 where applicable at the company’s other facilities. “Chiller killer” cooling technologies used in the new facility are now being deployed at BLACKIRON’s data centre in Edmonton.
BLACKIRON Data is an innovator in data centre, cloud and managed services technology, providing a singular focus to ensuring the most robust and bullet-proof IT infrastructure to meet the needs of business. With eight owned and managed state-of-the-art, and highly reliable data centres, including Canada’s first Tier III design and construction certified facility, and the vast array of fully audited operational, facility, and environmental certifications, BLACKIRON Data is the most certified data centre services company in Canada. BLACKIRON Data is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rogers Communications Inc. Visit blackirondata.com for more information.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.