May 19, 2020

Professional Support Systems for the C-Level Executive

supply chain software
Cloud migration
procurement technology
Bizclik Editor
4 min
Professional Support Systems for the C-Level Executive
Few people are able to relate to the demands and rigors of a high-profile C-level executive position. Despite the support of friends and family, many C-level executives must turn to others in similar positions of power for new perspectives and fresh ideas.

Where does the C-level look? What are the organizations and associations fulfilling these needs? Ultimately, what benefits can one expect? The answer to these questions and more will allow for C-level Executives to connect with their peers and apply their newfound knowledge for added profits and exponential growth.

Women’s President Organization

WPO is a nonprofit organization for women presidents of multimillion dollar companies. With over 82 active chapters and over 1500 members, each serves as a peer advisory group based on the 4 C’s of WPO: Collaboration, Confidentiality, Commitment and Connections. As a result, 68 % of WPO members do business with each other; 32 % of its members pay themselves a salary of more than $300,000 a year; WPO members collectively generate $14.8 billion in annual revenue and represent about 21,000 years of collective business experience.

“Our meetings are about bringing the genius out of the group,” says Dr. Marsha Firestone, Founder and President of the Women Presidents' Organization.

“There is already collaboration; a sharing of ideas in a confidential environment with non-competitive businesses that build connections. Business opportunities develop because the women get to know it each other; not only in their own chapter, but we have chapters on four continents. They get to know their peers at our annual conference and build relationships that enable cross-border businesses. The main reason they join is to accelerate the growth of their company and enhance their competiveness.”

Young Presidents’ Organization

A global network of young chief executives, the YPO connects 17,000 peers in more than 100 countries to enhance their business, community and personal leadership. Founded in 1950 by manufacturer Ray Hickok, YPO centers on education and idea exchange. The companies run by YPO members employ more than 15 million people and generate US$5.4 trillion in annual revenues. Business leaders must be under the age of 45 and must be the chief operator (CEO, managing director, president, chairman or equivalent) of a company.

“I joined YPO in 1991 as a way for me to get connected to Winnipeg business leaders or peers, who were going through the same business growth issues as I was having,” says Derek Johannson, Chairman of Carlyle Printers, Service & Supplies Ltd.

“Very quickly you open up to your peers because of the confidential-like nature. I started at the regional level and then got connected to YPOers across Canada. I was meeting people in other marketplaces. Through the YPO network I was able to establish relationships with guys locally, so when I needed advice on accountants, lawyers and real estate, I had a trusted advisor, which accelerated my ability to plan an office, get the right people and see growth. YPO is also global. I was the chair of Canada and then got on the international board. Now I know people all over the world. I called a YPOer in Shanghai and told him I was coming and could he put me in touch with t he right people.

Vistage International

Vistage International has global affiliates in 16 countries and more than 14,000 leaders. Members meet in small peer advisory groups every month under the guiding principles to become better leaders, make better decisions and achieve better results. In 1957, a Wisconsin businessman named Robert Nourse met with four fellow chief executives and formed what would become the Vistage. Collectively, Vistage-member companies generate nearly $300 billion in annual revenue; employ approximately 1.8 million employees worldwide; and, on average, grow their revenues at three times the percentage growth rate after joining the Vistage Executive Leadership Programs. The national affiliate is TEC Canada.

“TEC allows for CEOs to step away from a day-to-day approach and allows them to be in a confidential setting with 16 other CEOs,” says Lynn Tanner, Founder and President of TEC Canada.

“More specifically, they can raise issues that they couldn’t with their boards or with lawyers to other CEOs who have been in similar situations or with experts we bring in from across North America. The experts are people who have been very active in creating wealth and growing companies. The key is how CEOs or presidents obtain new and significant intellectual capital. As peers, there’s not a deferential mentality like there is with Vice Presidents, accountants, lawyers and consultants. There is no conflict of interest. It’s an environment that is straight-up, in-depth and of good quality with people who genuinely care.”

Share article

Jun 13, 2021

Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl

Kate Birch
5 min
Former CMO for IBM Americas Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl. Maria talks about her new role and her leadership style

Former Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, and an IBM veteran of more than 25 years, Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for 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.

Share article