World Water Day: 5 Organizations Making a Difference
In honor of World Water Day and the fact that water is my favorite drink—(if you don’t believe me check out my company profile), Business Review Canada is highlighting five North American organizations that protect, conserve, and provide water to communities throughout the world.
1) Water for People-Canada This is a non-profit international humanitarian organization that builds water projects to provide clean safe water and sanitation solutions to people in developing nations. It is the Canadian sector of the U.S. organization Water for People, which has completed over 50 projects for people in Bolivia, Honduras, Guatemala, Malawi and Vietnam. The organization strives to equip and empower the local communities to protect and sustain their water supply. Water fact: 1 in 8 people in the world don’t have access to clean water.
2) Charity: Water This is another non-profit organization dedicated to providing clean drinking water and sanitation to people in developing countries but their model has an unusual twist. 100 percent of all donations are put into funding the water projects, not paying for staff, website upkeep or email campaigns. I don’t know how they do it but if their model intrigues you, check out their website on the link above. Charity:Water also has an interesting campaign called “Giving your birthday away” where donors ask for donations to the organization rather than birthday gifts.
3) Environment Canada is a government organization whose business is “protecting the environment, conserving the country's natural heritage, and providing weather and meteorological information to keep Canadians informed and safe,” according to their website. If you are wondering why your government is making certain environmental decisions, then checking out the research and environmental summaries made by Environment Canada will probably enlighten you. If that information stirs you to action, see organization number 5, Nature Canada to find out ways to change public policy and your daily habits to protect natural resources.
4) Circle of Blue Providing accurate non-biased information to the public is an additional aspect of the water conservation that Circle of Blue addresses through an “international network of leading journalists, scientists and communications design experts that reports and presents the information necessary to respond to the global freshwater crisis.” These experts serve on international water conferences and provide information to government officials and citizens alike. Circle of Blue is a nonprofit independent affiliate of the internationally recognized water, climate and policy think tank, the Pacific Institute.
5) Nature Canada Everyone has a part to play in the water situation, whether their part is to donate money, build wells, conduct research, or install low-flow faucets and toilets. Nature Canada is a non-profit conservation organization that provides information and advocacy for Canada’s environment and natural resources. Whether you want to promote wind energy, protest the use of tar sands drilling, or consume less water, Nature Canada has the information and tools to empower you.
To find out more information, click on the UN World Water Day page or check out what people are promoting on the World Water Day Twitter page. Also, be sure to check out the May issue of Business Review Canada which will feature Canada’s top charities!
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.