By Sunny Simon

     While scrolling down the LinkedIn home page, I paused to observe a short video. I guess it was the blond hair with the bling encrusted hair band that made me pause. (Yep, you guessed it, any-shiny-thing syndrome). I did not immediately recognize the female speaker, but I know I will never forget her because her message strongly resonated with me. Turns out the blond lady telling her story to the camera was Ginni Rometty, the first female CEO of IBM.

     Inspirational rags to riches stories captivate me. Ms. Rometty, a self-made woman, experienced a rough start. At the age of 16, Ginni’s father abandoned his wife and four children with no money and no home. Rometty’s mother was a fighter, she returned to school, became employed and continued to grow her career and her income, while Ginni cared for the children.  

     During the four plus minutes of speaking, the IBM CEO related lessons learned by the struggles turned triumphs she experienced. What struck me most was a refrain my mom drilled into my head during my youth. Both women believed, in this country, where there is a will, there is a way to succeed. And in their own way, both did. By working hard and believing in herself Rometty was awarded a large scholarship from the General Motors Corporation and attended Northwestern University. After a stint with GM she accepted a position as a systems engineer with IBM and worked her way to the very top.


     Two important factors are pointed out by Ms. Rometty. Number one, “have conviction about what you believe is right.” And here’s a good lesson based on her journey, don’t think the corner office comes with a great view and side of nirvana. The CEO title did not exempt Ginni from defeat and harsh criticism. Under her leadership the corporation experienced 22 consecutive quarters of revenue decline. Things changed in January 2018 when she announced IBM’s first quarter of year-over-year revenue increase since 2012. Time Magazine named her the 6th most important person in the technical segment. Perhaps that speaks to the second critical factor Rometty highlighted, “Stay the course.” 

     All too offend we complain the road to success is too hard and rather than pressing on we give up too soon. How do you get to the top or even near it?  By believing you can, then proving it to the world. Remind yourself this week to do no whining and no quitting. Go out and prove where there is a will, there is a way. Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at