"There is no substitute for preparation," said Jacqueline Woods, the 2017 BEYA award recipient for Technical Sales and Marketing, when asked what it takes to achieve professional success.
Woods will receive her award during the upcoming BEYA STEM Conference in Washington, D.C. This honor is proof of her commitment to preparation and excellence, which she has pursued since her college years.
Woods is global vice president and chief marking officer in IBM Global Financing.
Her career in technical sales and marketing lets her combine managerial economics and digital knowledge with her business expertise. She is involved in every phase of the product cycle at IBM Global Financing, from market research and offering concept and development to packaging and promotion.
"My long-term focus has always been on matching customer requirements with business solutions," she said.
Since Woods was appointed CMO of IBM Global Financing in 2015, she has been responsible for several high-profile IBM projects.
But prior to her current role, Woods led a group of IBM Distinguished Engineers and chief technology officers responsible for developing industry solutions for the Systems Technology unit to complement IBM's software and services portfolios.
In this role, she was also responsible for Systems Software strategy and Cloud, Analytics, Mobile and Social marketing for the IBM Systems and Technology group.
Early in her career, Woods led an IT project that reduced the overpayment of vacation benefits, saving the company over $500,000 annually, and she has sold software to major corporations.
As an undergraduate at the University of California, Davis, Woods took the math classes required for engineers (as opposed to basic math core requirements). She also studied the Fortran and COBOL languages and belonged to the Black Engineering Association. Still, she chose not to pursue a computer science degree.
"At that time, I was more interested in the business side of technology, way before it was en vogue," she recalls.
To help make ends meet while in college, Woods took a job with the State of California as a canned tomato inspector. What she observed in this role has set the tone for where she is today.
"Most people don't know that growers [farmers] get paid based on their crop yield and on how their crops are processed," Woods said.
"Back then, they planted their crops, hoped for a big yield, and hoped they could meet standards for better color and higher sugar content, which would make them more money. But today, farmers consider a litany of other factors such as the type of tomato, soil, variable moisture, pests, and more."
In other words, growers are faced with business analytics problems.
"What I learned was about industry challenges from the grower's point of view, and I now know how to translate those requirements into solutions that growers can use to earn more money," Woods said.
After graduating from the University of California, Woods earned her MBA from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.
There, she focused on marketing and venture management, which ultimately paved the way for her to enter the technology field--first as a product manager for Ameritech's (AT&T) business line, where she ultimately became the general manager and P&L leader, Customer Premise Equipment, for $1.2 billion (cv) in products covering both B2B and business-to-consumer distribution channels.
And then Oracle called. Woods had sent a blind resume to Oracle and was chosen from a field of 40 candidates to take over pricing and packaging for Oracle's technology products and services.
"I had to learn about the technology before I could price and package it," she says.
After serving at Oracle, Woods joined GE, where she drove the company's global go-to-market initiatives for its Finance, Media, and Infrastructure (including Energy, Transportation, Industrial, and Healthcare) business units. This time, the revenue responsibility became even bigger, with responsibility for marketing messages that drove more than $175 billion in revenue.
Woods initially joined IBM in 2010 to help the company improve its customers' experiences.
But after a short period at IBM, she was tapped to build out its solutions messaging. Some of her initial work was in IBM's High-Performance Computing, which used to focus on high, parallel computing for scientific and government industries, but now encompasses computational analysis, next-generation genomics, satellite ground stations, video capture and surveillance, 3-D computer modeling, social media analysis, financial "tick" data analysis, and large-scale, real-time customer relationship management environments, and more.
In 2015, Woods moved into her current role as CMO for IBM Global Financing, where she heads Strategy, Marketing, Communications and Offering Management worldwide for the group, an LLC with a customer base of over 125,000 across nearly 50 countries and more than $37 billion in assets.
She is charged with building eminence, strengthening brand equity, improving the client experience, and enhancing the company's share position.
HOW SHE GIVES BACK:
Passionate about her community, she was recognized as a top 10 fundraiser for the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) in Los Angeles, when she was only two years out of college.
Since then, she's served on the board of Neighborhood Studios for seven years and was instrumental in helping the organization refocus its mission: to improve its strategic objectives to link art and science together for minority youth in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
She has been an active member of The Links, Inc., for 20 years and led an annual giving campaign, raising over $250,000 for underserved minority youth in Fairfield County, Connecticut, the most in the chapter's history.
JACQUELINE'S ADVICE FOR SUCCESS:
"There is no substitute for preparation. Make sure you're over prepared and then prepare some more; this will always lead to bigger opportunities. Excellence is not overrated; it's your brand. It's up to you to care for it and manage it. Your personal brand will have the biggest effect on your career and where you take it."