Ep#55 | The Godmother of Diversity at IBM Global

Marilyn Johnson is now founder of MarilynJspeaks.com, and serves as a principal spokesperson, keynote speaker, facilitator or emcee, and as a global ambassador to promote and support women in leadership. Prior to this she served as the CEO of the International Women’s Forum, a nonprofit with a global mission to promote women in prominent senior leadership roles internationally.

In 2012 she retired from IBM as the Vice President, Market Development, based in Armonk, New York. In this capacity, she led an organization responsible for developing IBM’s strategy for marketing to businesses owned or operated by Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and Women in the Americas. In that role she expanded her mission to include women-owned and women-led businesses in selected markets around the globe, expanding IBM market share significantly.

She has extensive management experience in sales and marketing in the information technology industry. She has held executive positions in key IBM business units and Ms. Johnson has had management and operational in North America, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia.

A graduate of John Marshall University, she holds two advanced education degrees. She attended the Harvard Business School Strategic Leadership Forum representing Finance Sector Marketing for IBM. Ms. Johnson serves on the Leadership Advisory Board for The Blanton Museum and a Director on the Board of Advisors for the One World Theatre in Central Texas. She has held positions on the Executive Board of the United States Council for Better Business Bureaus and the Executive Boards of the Asian Pacific Islander American Scholarship Foundation, the National Council of Negro Women and American Airlines Marketing Advisory Council. She has been applauded for her active commitment to mentoring and coaching activities. Marilyn has been a featured speaker for numerous professional organizations around the world, including The IWF Executive Development Roundtable in Toronto, Canada; the World Diversity Conference in the City of Prague in the Czech Republic; the Black Women Executive Round table hosted by the Mayor of Paris, France; B.I.G. (Blacks in Government), Washington, DC. ;AWAKE in Mysore, India; and the International Women’s Forum Cornerstone Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. And she spoke at the DLD Media Conference in Munich, Germany; the Women Leader’s Forum in Douala, Cameroon and the Women Chiefs Forum in Canberra, Australia.

Marilyn has received numerous awards, including the "Corporate Supporter of Women Entrepreneurs Award" in Beijing, China; “The Profiles of Prominence Award” from the National Women of Achievement, Inc.; the Center for Women’s Business Research, “Leading By Example Award”; the “Corporate Visionary Award” from The Count Me In - Women’s Business Growth Forum; named one of “The Top 25 Influential Black Women” by The Network Journal Magazine; inducted in the YWCA of New York City’s prestigious “Academy of Women Leaders” and in 2012 Enterprising Women Magazine awarded her with the prestigious “Legacy Award”. President’Organization named a National Women of Color in Business Award after Ms. Johnson. She has been featured in Working Mother Magazine, ESSENCE Magazine, Minority Business News, The Financial Times – United Kingdom, The Atlanta Tribune, Global Executive Women, Enterprising Women Magazine, The Network Journal Magazine and Uptown Professional Magazine.

She is different and she loves it! 

She entered the world of men and she proved her worth when she took a top position in the company. She reached out to a new market that was being overlooked - women and places beyond.

A woman who impacted and made a big and lasting impression when I first met her, it's great to have this chat with Marilyn again. She is truly that person that you will love listening to with her insights and great wisdom.

Some great takeaways from Marilyn :

  • Racism is due to ignorance

  • Use your skills to show your worth

  • People can look beyond the box that you're in - make them see it

  • Be Courageous

  • Inspire and empower people

  • We all live in boxes

  • Be part of a minority

For as little as $3 a month you can support The Change Makers to open up for the limiting, isolating and divisive boxes that are no longer serving humankind.

Just go to www.Patreon.com/NoMoreBoxes today!


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