Ginni Rometty: A Pioneering Force for Women in Business

CWIB Chronicles features Ginny Rometty, CEO of IBM.

Women are pioneering their way through the business world as emerging leaders of major companies, and Virginia M. (Ginni) Rometty is one of these women. Beginning in January 2012, Rometty became Chairwoman, President, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of International Business Machines Corporation (IBM). According to IBM’s website, the company is committed to creating a more innovative world in which advanced technological change will be coupled with increased human productivity. That being said, Rometty is in charge of a fast-paced environment where her decisions are constantly revolved around how IBM can better society.

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Ginni Rometty has been the Chairwoman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of IBM since January 2012. She is the first-ever CEO in the company’s 100-year history.
Photo credit: IBM

IBM sustains a $79.1 billion revenue and operates on a pre-tax income of $12.9 billion, according to the company’s webpage. The main components of the business revolve around healthcare and life sciences, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and quantum computing. The company is, “Driven to discover,” stated on their website. They are in charge of over 3,000 researchers in 12 labs located over 6 continents, stressing their influence as one of the leading corporate researchers. With this responsibility comes the right leaders for the job. This is where Ginni Rometty plays a crucial role.

While she became CEO in 2012, Rometty began her career with IBM in 1981 and held several leadership positions before advancing to the top of the company. Her education from Northwestern University gave her a bachelor’s degree with high honors in computer science and electrical engineering, showcasing the knowledge she had acquired in order to take on the responsibilities at IBM. For example, Rometty led the “successful integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting, creating a global team of more than 100,000 business consultants and services experts,” early on in her career at IBM, according to an article on IBM’s website

One major goal of hers that stood out, in particular, was her dedication to diversity and inclusion. To ensure these qualities actually exist in the workplace, Rometty has extended parental leave and made it easier for women to return to their jobs through a “returnships” program. Ginny was awarded the Catalyst Award in 2018 for advancing diversity and women’s initiatives, which was included in her biography on the company’s website. In addition, she strives to equip workers without college degrees for “new collar” jobs within technology. According to the same article, “The IBM-created Pathways in Technology (P-TECH) education model is a six-year program that prepares students for career success by combining high school with a community college degree, mentoring and internships — all within existing local education budgets.” This initiative stresses Rometty’s desire to increase jobs in an ethical manner.

Going off of ethics, Rometty was a part of IBM when it became the first to “publish long-held principles of trust for AI, data responsibility and data transparency, according to the same article. Ethics is crucial in a business conducting technological feats, so it is imperative that their CEO’s mindset is focused on taking these ethical boundaries into consideration. Rometty’s ethical standards were developed early in her life, beginning with difficult family situations.  

Coming from a poverty-stricken family, Rometty appreciated the concept of hard work early on. Her father left her mother and three siblings when she was 16 years old. They had to live off of food stamps until her mother went back to school and landed a good job. This inspired Rometty to take her education seriously, as she was rewarded with an honors degree and a full-time position with General Motors right out of college. A year later, she accepted an offer from IBM and her career soared from there.

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Rometty and family. She learned the power of hard work from her mother after her father left them.
Photo credit: Bloomberg

In a Makers article, Rometty said, “Growth and comfort never coexist. If you want to grow as a leader you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. You welcome risk because you know you come out better on the other side.” Ginni Rometty’s words left a resounding impact on me as she has proved you are what you make out of your situation. Her passion for achieving the best for yourself and the world around you has been a leading indicator of her career success. She was named to Bloomberg’s “50 Most Influential People in the World” and Fortune’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business,” according to an interview on Makers.

Rometty’s inspiring drive to grow and succeed has provided an exceptional image to women of what they are capable of achieving in the corporate world. Her involvement goes beyond working at IBM, as she is co-chair of the Aspen Institute’s Cyber Group, serves on the Council on Foreign Relations at Northwestern, and is a member on the board of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, according to her biography. Rometty’s corporate and volunteer experience is a representation that women can truly do it all.   

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Rometty believes growth is crucial to a business’s success. “Growth and comfort never coexist.” -Ginni Rometty
Photo credit: Business Insider


By: Emma Harwood

Networking for Introverts

Do you feel overwhelmed when asked to present in front of a group? Does the thought of meeting new people and putting yourself out there make you anxious? After a long day of socializing, do you feel drained and exhausted? If these traits apply to you as they do for me, you would consider yourself an introvert. Defined by the article, “What is an Introvert” on, an introvert is someone who is “interested in one’s own thoughts rather than the physical environment.” They develop their strength through “calm, minimally stimulating environments.” While the negative stigmatism surrounding introverts is that we are standoffish, this is most certainly not the case. Introverted qualities include a “ love of introspection, a need for solitude, and a slower, more focused communication style.” After taking all of this into consideration, we are then able to present our best selves to others in social settings.


When it comes to the workforce, these characteristics prove extremely beneficial as employees who are self-reflective and attentive will produce effective results. Now how about the process of actually landing the job? Introverts may be at a slight disadvantage with all the networking events, conferences, and interviews that go into getting that dream job offer. However, there are many ways to combat the stress of meeting new people and being in unnatural situations.

Something very important to remember is that networking is simply meeting new people. Think about a time you’ve met new friends. Obviously, you had to work at that friendship; maybe connecting came easily, or maybe you had to spend time together to see if you had common interests. When encountering recruiters, imagine that they are a new friend to make. According to an article published by Forbes in 2014, it is crucial to “build rapport and trust that business will happen.” Try to refrain from putting so much pressure on meeting a recruiter. When making new friendships, you don’t think “Wow if this doesn’t work out I’ll never meet another friend.” So, try to develop an optimistic and confident mindset before attending networking events. Stay calm and collected while remembering that these individuals are just people too.

CWIB private networking session

Preparing for an event is equally as important as performing highly once you are there. One tactic I find very helpful is writing down what I would like to say to recruiters, my goals of what I hope to get out of the experience, and encouraging statements to inspire myself. These do not have to be long paragraphs, just bullet points of questions to ask or phrases of your personal statement that will leave a positive impression on those you meet. Reviewing these notes beforehand will leave you much more confident. This will help alleviate the stress you feel when asked a question on the spot. Additionally, this introspection will assist us in identifying what we truly desire out of a networking session, therefore leading us to ask more direct questions in order to achieve specific results. These desired results could include an internship, externship, or even an invitation to the company’s next event.


As introverts, we are more concerned with deepening relationships than having as many friends as possible. This is a terrific character to have when meeting future employers! They want to add committed, dedicated people to their team who feel a sense of obligation to their company. In the same article published by Forbes, the author states that you should “focus on making just a few solid connections. People can sense when you’re simply speaking to them to grab their card and go.” I for one definitely feel the pressure of “it’s all about who you know” when getting a job; however, even if you have 50 random connections, these will not lead you anywhere in your professional career if you have not worked to develop true relationships with a few of these individuals. This is also an added benefit for you as the job-seeker. Why introduce yourself to many employees at companies you have no desire of working for? Seek out those businesses you see yourself thriving at, have a meaningful conversation with those recruiters, and your passion will be apparent.

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Networking events and conferences can be long and strenuous for anyone, so it is completely okay to take breaks! Get a drink, refresh at the bathroom, or take a walk outside before reentering. An online article published by Businessese in 2017 states that “Crowds can be overstimulating and disrupt focus,” so this alone time is truly beneficial and will leave you recharged and ready to go back into the event. Remember this the next time you attend Business Horizons; it is a perfect event where introverts can feel drained and only want to hide in the background as I did. Step out of the room and recollect your thoughts. Even a few minutes away will help you feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle to next conversation!

Looking around at all the other attendees at networking sessions may seem discouraging if they seem to know what they’re doing, but everyone gets nervous when it comes to meeting employers, not just introverts! Our unique character traits will help us in the long run to find those meaningful relationships that lead to our dream job. While the entire job search process is stressful and requires you to be in situations you are not used to, introverts can use their qualities to their advantage. No longer look at introversion as a setback; always remember to show your best and most authentic self to recruiters, as this is the person who will show up to work every day.



Here She Comes- Introducing Heineken’s First Female CEO

One of the main goals of The CWIB Chronicles is to empower our readers so that they have the confidence to chase after their professional dreams, no matter how big they may be. Being a woman in business has always been somewhat of a challenge. This is represented by the fact that, according to Business Insider, there are currently only 25 female Chief Executive Officers (CEO) out of all Fortune 500 companies. Fortunately, there are some pretty spectacular women who have been breaking the glass ceiling and showing us that our dreams are valid. In a new series of articles, The CWIB Chronicles will be highlighting some of these women, starting with the first female CEO of Heineken.

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What better way to start with a splash than with our first feature, Maggie Timoney? Timoney rose through the ranks to become CEO in a business where it is even rarer to see a woman in charge, the beer industry. According to the website Bravo Alpha, a study conducted at Auburn University found that only 29% of women represented brewery workers.  This statistic may be so low simply because of the fact that over the years, the beer industry has often appealed more to men. This is further exacerbated by the fact that the number of women who are sole founders or owners in the beer industry is only between 2 and 4%, this statistic was pulled from The Guardian.

          However, on September 1st of this year, a huge push for more female representation was made when Heineken made Maggie Timoney the first female CEO of one of America’s top five beer producers. As reported by the website Food & Wine, Timoney began with the company in 1998. The Heineken Americas Region President had nothing but great things to say about Timoney when making the announcement. Highlights included, “Maggie is a competitive and energetic leader who is known for inspiring the team,” and “she has the right mix of strategic vision, people leadership and grit to ignite future growth for Heineken USA.”

          Timoney has been making great strides her whole career. Her profile on Bloomberg states that at Iona College, she was a huge asset to the women’s basketball team, setting a school career scoring record and is currently a member of the Iona College Sports Hall of Fame. She graduated from Iona College with a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Business Administration, and then went on to become the captain of the Irish National Women’s Basketball team. As for her professional career, Timoney began her professional corporate career at  Sound Distributing, an Anheuser-Busch wholesaler. After switching over to Heineken, she held many positions including Managing Director of Heineken Ireland Limited, the Chief People Officer of Heineken USA, and finally the Chief Executive Officer.

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Let Timoney serve as an example, her competitive drive and desire to excel led her to serve in one of the top positions in all of the beer industry. It is a very impressive feat becoming a CEO in an industry that has been dominated by men all of its existence. Timoney, however, does not let this define her. According to Brewbound, when asked in an interview what “different perspective” she would bring to the beer industry, Timoney said, “I’ll be judged on my results, not on whether I’m a male or female.” We look forward to seeing the success this powerful individual will bring to the Heineken brand.


By: Cara Yates

Taking Advantage of Your Resources

Coming to a big place like Virginia Tech can be a bit overwhelming! With so many organizations, clubs, and different opportunities and career fairs, it is really a fishbowl of opportunities. It can be hard to self-advocate and take advantage of these resources, especially with balancing your education and school work. However, there are important resources which can help you greatly in your future, and I have some tips for seeking them out and self-advocating!


1. Your Own Affairs in Order

It’s important to make time for opportunities aside from obligations like classes, work, and organizations you’re in. One thing which you can do to start off is print out an hourly calendar of each day of the week, with the 24 hours of the day. Write down how much of your time is already taken, for things like classes, meetings, work, sleep, and how much time you spend doing homework, eating, etc. This may seem to be a bit overdoing it, but in the end, you have a pretty good sense of how much time you can commit to new things.

2. Stay Aware

There are always different flyers and career fairs all over Virginia Tech. There are also organizations on GobblerConnect which post about their events, and the easiest way to access these limitless opportunities is by taking the time to read the flyers or taking a picture of anything you’re interested in going to or taking advantage of. This can range from company visits hosted by different clubs as well as things like tutoring, going to the library and getting someone to look at your assignments. These opportunities are always available and taking advantage of them will ultimately help you in the long run!

CWIB hosts a lot of events year round with speakers from companies. At our second monthly meeting, representatives of Deloitte came to speak about work-life balance. Taking advantage of opportunities like these is almost always a factor of planning ahead and prioritizing them!


3. Self Advocate

With so many opportunities, there are also many people you can meet. For every company visit you go to or every educational opportunity you take, there are plenty of opportunities to meet the people who lead that event and form a connection with them. It’s important to utilize your time spent somewhere efficiently by asking questions to those who are there and getting personal help! This can even come in handy when it’s time for job interviews and those people remember you from your first meeting.

4.Prioritize Your Time

Although taking every opportunity may seem like the right thing to do, that would result in a lot of time spent on one part of your life, and less time for other important obligations! It’s wise to look through your meetings and pick 2-3 to attend per week and be fully present at those meetings.

At CWIB, there are lots of treks for you to take advantage of. On the recent Nashville trek, students got to visit the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Resort and meet with employees from HR, food and beverage, front desk management, as well as revenue management.

5. Don’t forget that being a Hokie matters!

One thing that is a huge resource to you is that you are a Hokie. That means that you have a connection with anyone who was an alumnus of Virginia Tech, and many of those alumni will want to hire a Hokie like you. Taking advantage of your opportunities now will allow you to meet many alumni who come back to Virginia Tech to recruit, so use your Hokie pride to your advantage by putting yourself out there with them!

Bouncing Back from Business Horizons

Every year there is a ton of hype surrounding the “Superbowl of College Recruiting.” A lot of students are able to secure full-time jobs and internships at Business Horizons, and even more get interviews. The idea of receiving an offer because of Business Horizons is incredibly exciting because you have the security of knowing your next steps with over eight months left in the school year.

This prospect encourages a lot of students to take the time and effort to prepare for this event. This may involve attending resume workshops, practicing your elevator pitch, and/or researching the companies you plan to speak to at the career fair. The day of, you spend hours walking around Squires Commonwealth Ballroom, conversing with recruiters and handing them your finely-tuned resume. After endless, “Make sure to apply online,” and “We are only looking to hire juniors and seniors,” speeches, you may come out not feeling as confident as you did when you went in. So, what are your next steps if Business Horizons doesn’t go as planned?


1.Look for open positions on the web. It can be very frustrating when recruiters tell you to apply online. You didn’t get all dressed up and rehearse your elevator pitch countless times just to be told you could’ve applied for the job from the comfort of your bed! Although you are handing recruiters your resume, odds are, hundreds of other students also handed in theirs. You need to apply online so that the company knows that you’re interested, and it will be another opportunity for them to see your name and qualifications.

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2. Make connections on LinkedIn! If you remember a person’s name that you talked to at Business Horizons or a networking event, send them an invitation to connect on LinkedIn and a quick message about how you enjoyed chatting with them. Recruiters are constantly navigating LinkedIn in hopes of finding the right people to work for their company. If he/she finds your LinkedIn profile and sees that you have connections within that company, it can be another way to showcase your interest. Plus, if you still want to join that company in the future, you already have a contact that you can reach out to. For tips on how to strengthen your profile, check out this article


3. Be open to other opportunities. Even if Business Horizons did not go exactly how you wanted, there are still so many other recruiting events throughout the school year. Just one example is the Hospitality and Tourism Management Department’s very own career fair, CareerScope, today! Even if you are not a Hospitality and Tourism major, it is never a bad idea to get your face in front of recruiters. Keep your eye out for upcoming recruiting events on campus. Your future self will thank you for all of the connections you were able to add to your professional network.


4. Do not be discouraged! It can be incredibly frustrating to hear about students who have gotten offers and interviews from Business Horizons if you did not. If this is the case for you, challenge yourself to new opportunities that will help build up your skills and experience. Step up and get more leadership experience in the organizations you’re involved in or reach out to a professor and ask about opportunities on campus that pertain to your career goals. Also, keep applying online! While it may seem like a lot of companies came to Business Horizons, there are so many more out there! Look on hiring websites like Handshake and Indeed to look for other opportunities that interest you. You already took a fantastic first step by putting yourself out there and networking at the career fair, so do not set yourself back by giving up!


I want to emphasize that it is not the end of the world if you did not receive an offer or interview from Business Horizons. Yes, career fairs are supposed to assist in the internship and job search. However, they can also serve as important learning tools. If a recruiter told you that you needed more experience, look for opportunities that will beef up your resume. If you are a sophomore and a recruiter told you they were only looking to hire juniors, add them on LinkedIn and reach out next year. Use Business Horizons to grow and become an even stronger candidate in the future!


By: Cara Yates

Making the Most of Freshman Year

Freshman year is a nerve-racking, exciting, and memorable time! Whether it’s trying to choose your major or track, finding activities and organizations to get involved in, or adjusting to college life in general, freshman year can present you with overwhelming challenges. However, your freshman year should also be an enjoyable time and one where you set yourself up for success. As an upperclassman, I have some dos and don’ts to help you make the most out of your freshman year!

1.Do pursue your passions

Getting involved with clubs and organizations that match your interests is a must in college. Finding groups of people that share your interests and goals is important, especially at a large university like Virginia Tech. In addition to the connections you’ll build through getting involved, clubs and organizations help you grow your leadership skills and provide access to opportunities and resources that you may not have known about otherwise.


Here in CWIB, we share a lot of the same goals and passions!

2. Don’t spread yourself too thin

While it’s important to branch out, explore new interests, and get involved in college, you don’t want to spread yourself too thin by joining every organization that peaks your interest. Pick a few organizations that you like the most and commit to those for a semester to get a true feel for what they’re all about. Then, if an organization does not make you happy, join something else you’re interested in or shift your attention to the other more fitting organizations and get more involved in those. It’s not about how many organizations you’re in, but what you do to add value to those organizations!



If you join CWIB, take advantage of all the opportunities we have, including treks!

3.Do seek mentorship

Trying to navigate college can be challenging.  One of these struggles could be picking a major. As a former “University Studies” student, it’s hard to feel like you don’t have a network of people in the same program as you. Actively seeking mentorship by reaching out to career advisors, upperclassmen in a major you’re interested in (CWIB has a mentorship program!), and family and friends is important if you are unsure of your major (or any other area you may need guidance in!). As you receive advice from different resources, recognize that ultimately, you know yourself, your passions, and what you are capable of better than anyone!


Sydney with her mentor, Maddie

4.Do set yourself up for success

While freshman year should be a fun and memorable time, do set yourself up for success by building good habits to carry into the rest of your college career. Find the right study schedule that works for you, discover that study spot that lets you focus really well, and learn what kind of class schedule is best for your learning. School comes first and you don’t want to slack off so early in your college career. Your GPA will thank you for getting good grades your freshman year when you get into tougher, upper-level classes!

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Panelists at the 2018 Power Panel giving their pieces of advice to CWIB members

5.Do Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

College is a brand new experience for all of you and Virginia Tech has infinite opportunities for us students. Is there a hobby you wanted to try in high school but never got around to? Join a club for it or try it on your own! Did you meet someone in your dorm who is so different than you that it’s fascinating? Ask to grab lunch! Being open to new experiences and new people can lead you to find out some things about yourself, so be proactive and try new things!


Some former freshmen with upperclassman, Gigi Jones


One Last Time

With a new school year comes a lot of exciting new experiences and opportunities. This is especially true for seniors, who will be graduating in about 9 months. Seniors need to find a perfect balance between making the most of their last year and thinking about the future. Although this is a very exciting time, it can also be very overwhelming. To help ease any concerns you seniors have, I asked some CWIB alumnae for advice they could offer to current seniors to make this the best year yet!

Madison Blevins, Class of 2018, had some great advice to offer regarding making connections for the future.

“Prioritize relationships! The friends you make and people you meet at career fairs/professional events are your future network and can be really valuable in the next season after college.”

Ashley Roberts, Class of 2018, offered a tip for those moments when senioritis hits a little too hard.

“Think about your plans for the future and what you want to achieve. When I needed some extra motivation, I would look at apartments in Richmond (where I’ll be moving to after graduation) to see what I had to look forward to.”

Annie Bokulic, Class of 2018, thinks CWIB is going to be a valuable resource for your last year, and I have to agree! “Go on a CWIB trek before you graduate. You won’t regret the experience.” CWIB treks are great for networking and making connections. You will also be making lasting memories in different cities with fellow CWIB members. Be sure to stay tuned for more information on the handful of treks that we have planned this year! The first one is to Nashville, TN from September 20-23rd!


Ashlin Webster, Class of 2018, thinks that preparing for your life post-graduation will save you from a rude awakening in the months after you leave Virginia Tech.

“Treat it [senior year] as practice for the real world. Go to sleep early and wake up early. Your body will thank you later.”

Shannon Cabrey, Class of 2018, made a fantastic point about not limiting yourself just because you think your life should be perfectly mapped out. “If you find something that interests you and you’re passionate about in an area of your studies or work, take a class in it, or look for more ways to get involved.” It is never too late to do something that makes you happy!

Catie Kidwell, Class of 2016, gave tips about not limiting yourself to what you think you are supposed to do. “There were so many other jobs and opportunities I didn’t pursue because of fear of failure and perceived ‘lack of skills/background’ – if I were to do it again I would apply to so many more jobs and think of them as learning opportunities.” Catie was kind enough to pass along her email ( if any of you would like to ask her questions about the consulting world, Deloitte, and life post-graduation.


CWIB is so fortunate to have a successful and passionate alumnae network that is still willing to help out current members. Thank you to these co-founders, past CEO’s, and other former CWIB leaders who took the time to give these valuable pieces of advice.

Seniors, make the most of this year! There is one year left at this amazing university, so don’t walk away feeling like you could’ve done more. Good luck to all of you amazing young women!