Author Archives: Jon Birdsall

About Jon Birdsall

IBM Finance, supporting Global Marketing & Communications in Armonk NY

You Decide….

So, is this an example of

A.)  Australian dry sense of humor,

B.)  Poor calculations of bicycle stopping distance ???  !!!




Comments Off on You Decide….

Filed under Melbourne - Australia

Week 2 in Melbourne

After a very intense week of work (including Saturday!) we have been really fortunate to have had two truly unique experiences!

This morning, we had the great opportunity to visit the Front Yard Youth Services – part of the Melbourne City Mission.  MCM has been helping the citizens of Melbourne for over 150 years.  Front Yard is a one-of-a-kind integrated services facility that addresses the physical, social and emotional needs of young people aged between 12 and 25 years.  Over 7,000 youth visited Front Yard last year, and the MCM team helped another 10,000 by phone – primarily homeless kids.  We were all genuinely touched by the powerful impact the MCM team has had on the youth and tough job they do every day.

The team gave us a tour of their facility (within a couple blocks of our hotel) and we had a roundtable discussion with the staff covering a wide range of IT, social media, and business model transformation topics.  We left with a renewed spirit, and a special place in our hearts for this fantastic work.

Friday evening, a couple of us were able to attend the Australian Football League match between #1 North Melbourne Kangaroos and #2 Western Bulldogs.  The scene in Etihad Stadium was incredibly exciting.  As this was our first ever “footy” experience, we were thoroughly impressed with the intense, fast paced nature of the game!  I’ve already told my American friends that these footy players are tougher and play a harder game than both soccer and American football!!

Sadly, we had to leave before the match was over to get back to work (we all got back together in our team room from 10pm to 12:30am!) – but returned with a deeper appreciation for the Australian athlete!


Comments Off on Week 2 in Melbourne

Filed under Melbourne - Australia

Smarter Cities Challenge Melbourne


Front row: Elaine Murphy, Waya Araos-Wijangco (Australian Business Volunteers), Sandeep Goel.  Back row:  Jon Birdsall, Liz Hampton (New Zealand CC&CA manager), Becky Carroll, Chris Molloy, Mahesh Ramanayake.

It is hard to believe that we have completed a full week in our assignment here in Melbourne!  It is even more difficult to believe that in this group of six over achieving IBMers, it is the Finance guy who is the first to pick up the blog pen !!  Must be a sign of how busy we have been and how much there is here to distract us…..

Our task is to help the City of Melbourne minimize the impact of emergency events on health, safety, infrastructure, and economic activity – focusing on communications to the city’s inhabitants, before, during, and after a disruptive event.

After starting the week with a welcome session hosted by the Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, the City CEO Ben Rimmer, and 70 invited guests, we toured the State of Victoria’s Emergency Management control center.  Without much of a pause, the rest of the week was spent conducting over 25 interview sessions with more than 40 City of Melbourne and State of Victoria officials, professionals, and community leaders.  It’s amazing to see how quickly six IBMers from different countries, backgrounds, and professions came together effectively and efficiently.


Melbourne City Town Hall, our base of operations for Week 1.

More importantly, we discovered what an amazing city Melbourne is – full of youth and diversity, friendly people, beautiful weather, and endless food and entertainment options.


Yummy ???


Street art all over town.       

We have explored parks and river fronts, alleyways and museums, concerts and shopping, the ocean and even one of us found herself diving with sharks!


View of City of Melbourne at night – people always out, enjoying the city.


View of Port Phillip from St. Kilda Beach, a 15 minute trolly ride from Melbourne city center.


Filed under Melbourne - Australia