Coming to the End of an Amazing Journey

The past three weeks in San Isidro have been bittersweet for me. I have had one of the best SCC experiences ever and as the project comes to a close I am feeling sad because so does the SCC program. IBM made a commitment in 2011 to work with 100 cities on their most pressing issues and we have far exceeded that promise!  I have had the amazing opportunity to work on the SCC program since its inception. I was fortunate to be a local citizenship manager when the pilot projects were chosen and my County of Mecklenburg in North Carolina was one of the first pilots in November of 2010. Then I was blessed to be given the opportunity when the program officially began in 2011 to be a part of the program team, working on each project’s logistics. I helped build the program in a small way from the ground up. I had the pleasure of being a part of a really amazing team of bright and enthusiastic people – Jen, Sophia, and Lyle to start and then later Andel and others who had amazing ideas and knowledge about how to make cities smarter. I like to think they kept me young and kept me on my toes.

The best part of the SCC experience has been getting to work with and know all of the amazing IBMers who have participated in the projects  over the years, from the local citizenship managers to the members of the teams.  I have always been amazed that you can put a group of IBMers together after only meeting virtually a few times and they bond quickly; the San Isidro team has been no exception. Then, after a week of meeting stakeholders and learning about the issue,  the ideas and solutions come to life just as quickly as they formed their bond.  The brilliance of our teams and those of the people running cities around the world is truly awe-inspiring. I have learned from them all – about  their cultures, their passions in and outside of IBM, but also about what drives them. I can say for every SCC team, the drive has been to make a difference in society – to give their all and come up with recommendations that are actionable and can help a community thrive.

Here in San Isidro we are helping the municipality plan for renewable energy, but what we have discovered along the way is that it is not just about lowering the cost of energy spend, but it is also about helping those less fortunate to start to help themselves. Isn’t that what we all want to do in this world, make it a better place for everyone!

Our team in San Isidro has just two days left. I am treasuring every moment with them. Yesterday I watched them present their recommendations at a high level to the Mayor and some of his leadership team. This was our final checkpoint with them before they present the findings and recommendations on Friday to a larger audience of stakeholders and citizens. Mayor Posse was so impressed with what the team has accomplished in just two and a half weeks and stated how vitally important their work is right now for San Isidro. It was such a proud moment for me on so many levels. I was proud of what the team developed and presented, proud of being an IBMer and of our company for supporting this type of philanthropic work and proud that I have been a part of this amazing program that has helped Mayors on so many pressing issues.

It isn’t over yet! Still two more days of refining the recommendations, reviewing the presentation and of course enjoying the company of the team, the city staff and the citizens of San Isidro.

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