College/Strategic Partner to design for Poverty-Free Future
Doing what’s best for clients is what motivates CampusWorks.
Since 1999, the firm has delivered unmatched leadership expertise to colleges and universities of all shapes and sizes to increase institutional effectiveness and enhance the student experience. Its relentless drive to solve deep, systemic challenges and create the conditions required for lasting change has earned CampusWorks a reputation for being bold – something that made Dallas College take notice during its search for a strategic partner.
When college leadership set the audacious goal of eradicating poverty in the region, Chief Innovation Officer Tim Marshall knew significant transformation was on the horizon. Overtime that came into focus: seven individually accredited institutions would need to be consolidated, groundwork for the adoption of a single enterprise technology platform established, and a shared vision of the ideal student experience created. As it embarked on this journey, Dallas College knew that having an independent perspective at the helm would be key to its long-term success. Having found a unique synergy with CampusWorks, the firm was engaged. “There’s a reason why they’re called CampusWorks,” Tim Marshall, Chief Innovation Officer for the College, reports, “the name is very appropriate.”
“Our ambition was to uplift the community, which is different from the aims of a lot of other colleges,” continues Marshall. Attentively digging in, CampusWorks set about aligning the College’s people, processes, information, and technology in preparation for the future, but Chief Executive Officer and Board Chair Liz Murphy confirms her team’s work went deeper, “while we used our standard methodologies, we had the blessing of the chancellor and leadership team to really push the organization to think completely differently about how they would operate as a single institution.” Exploring beyond stated needs and desired outcomes CampusWorks’ student-centric approach was critical to helping faculty and staff identify and embrace the possibilities created by change.
One such possibility was creating the nation’s first career connected learner network. “We coined the term ‘enroll in a job’, because that’s what students really need and want,” says Marshall. “Our mission and our vision, our goals and objectives, are all about moving students into jobs. When CampusWorks came in and created cross-functional teams to investigate the new environment, discussions became less about functions as opposed to how it enabled interesting approaches to the students.”
With that network in place, Dallas College is helping students connect learning to living wages and sustainable careers - moving the College one step closer to reaching its goal of ending systemic poverty in the region. “Colleges and universities have a profound ability to make real change,” says Murphy. The CampusWorks CEO believes Dallas College has set the bar high, but she reports seeing an uptick in the number of institutions setting similarly ambitious goals. She says her team routinely advises clients to “begin with the end in mind” and to have “a really clear sense of the impact they want to make”.
Murphy encourages today’s higher education leaders to think about the ripple-effect they wish to have because it’s not about “where your pebble drops, but where the ripple goes when it reaches the shore – what is it that you’re changing in the world?”
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.