Posted on May 31, 2011, by JD Kathuria, under Featured Interview.
Despite Anne Altman’s longtime career in the private sector, Altman views her professional life as one dedicated to the public sector. She believes creativity is vital to establishing your brand and growing your company and that innovation is most useful when developed by teamwork and cooperation. Having a large network of business and personal friends not only has helped her in career, but has also provided her with a variety of outlooks and world views. Altman also strongly believes that you must maintain balance between forwarding your career and giving back to your community, as shown by the various her advisory positions in the academic, nonprofit and music sectors.
What’s your current role at IBM?
I currently serve as General Manager of IBM’s Global Public Sector. In this role I’m responsible for the strategy, direction, and development of solutions for public sector clients worldwide spanning federal and state and local government, education, health care, life sciences and pharmaceutical industries. I work with a team of more than 7,000 technology, research and consulting services practitioners globally who are playing a key role in IBM’s internationally recognized smarter planet campaign.
How would you describe your personal brand?
Passionate and dedicated to the Public Sector. I joined IBM in 1981 as a systems engineer supporting the Federal Bureau of Investigation and then went on to many other roles within IBM – with the exception of a few, all in the public sector. I’ve been privileged to have worked in re-establishing IBM’s position in the Federal market, and now combining health care, life sciences and education industries to my government portfolio in a global capacity. In my IBM career, while many things have changed – there’s been one constant – namely, helping clients leverage hardware and software technologies, research and deep expertise to improve their operations and deliver quality services their respective constituents.
What are some best practices that you found worked for you in building your brand?
Being grounded in a set of values that guides decision making. It’s helped me stay focused. Being bold — creative and passionate about what one does – and looking to solve challenges in imaginative ways. Leading through collaboration – the world today and many of its problems are so complex that no single individual or company can solve them alone.
How has building a network of people in the public and private sector helped your career?
Fostering a strong and diverse professional network has helped me to be more effective in the business community. These connections – friendships really – have enabled me to expand my knowledge and improve the level of expertise I share with clients and those I work with every day. The varied group of people I’ve met and maintained relationships with through the years has also helped me expand my world view – not only professionally but personally.
What is something most people get wrong when trying to build their personal brand?
Trying to go it alone. It’s just not an effective way to earn trust and respect. Gaining the support and confidence needed to succeed requires the help of others, and they’ll need your cooperation too. Collaboration is so very important. It’s ultimately more gratifying as well. It may seem easier to do it yourself, but you’ll achieve better results and feel a greater sense of accomplishment working collaboratively.
You are deeply involved in the community. Tell us why that’s important to you.
Giving back to the community is very important to me. Like all of us, we are who we are because of the families and communities we came from and because of the colleagues we have worked with and the great clients we have served. I try to give back by helping where I can. I serve on the boards of the Northern Virginia Technology Council, the James Madison University Executive Advisory Council, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the National Kidney Foundation. It’s an honor to serve the larger community this way.
What is the best piece of advice that you have ever received?
Don’t take yourself too seriously and always, always make sure you keep that important balance between your dedication to your career and your love and commitment to your family.