IBMer Stories

The Power of Giving Back

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(3 min read) By Marcela Cabrera

I am lucky! I have a job I care about and I work for a supportive manager who encourages my professional and personal goals. Volunteering for worthy causes is one of those pursuits.

I’ve worked at IBM for 5 years now. I spend the majority of my time designing products, working with engineers and managers, collaborating with other designers, and connecting with our customers. Although I’m fortunate to do something I love which is to design great products, it can also be high-pressure and stressful at times.

Why I Give Back

My professional path has not always been easy. I am an immigrant who has lived through unemployment and worked on odd jobs to make ends meet. I know from experience what it means to be at the bottom and go through rough times in life. But I’ve also been fortunate to have had amazing opportunities. Because of this, I’ve blossomed and thrived.

Throughout this journey, I’ve seen and experienced first-hand the impact someone can make in your life. When things got tough, people I didn’t know helped me and their generosity and kindness is something I never forgot. They changed my life. Because of this, I’ve made it a goal to pay it forward whenever I can.

Can you do the same? I bet you can!

Benefits of Giving Back

While working for IBM, I became involved as a volunteer in worthwhile causes. From leading and mentoring junior designers and engineers, connecting our organization with annual holiday toy fairs to help a low-income organization, to working at a homeless shelter.

Giving back brings a sense of fulfillment. This has allowed me to evolve as an individual, develop a great deal of empathy, and become a stronger designer at IBM.

Here are some of the reasons why I enjoy the experience of giving back:

1. Giving back is rewarding. To give your time helping others in need is something we should all strive for. It can take very little of your personal time and it is highly rewarding.

2. Kindness goes a long way. Your actions can change someone’s emotional and physical wellbeing. Be nice. It matters!

3. It develops empathy. Using your life experiences to learn to understand those less fortunate allows you to connect, be a better listener and supporter.

4. You can make an impact. Whether it is a big action or a small gesture such as a hug or a smile, you can help steer someone’s path in a positive way.

5. You have the power within you. Yes, you do! Believe it or not, you have the power in you to make an impact on someone’s life.

As the famous quote says: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

I believe in that mantra. Being an IBMer has given me the chance to volunteer for causes I feel passionate about and create opportunities for others to give back themselves.

I hope that by creating these opportunities or joining those larger IBM-sponsored volunteer events, that I am putting a little bit of that positive energy we all need in this world.

When I give back, I receive back so much more.

How will you make a difference?

About the Author
Marcela Cabrera is a Design Lead at Aspera IBM for the Cloud Integration and Cognitive Software. Marcela was born in Bogota, Colombia. She is an award-winning designer, illustrator and art director with over 20 years of experience in Visual Design and Software Development applicable to multi-platform experiences for branding, education, enterprise software, and video games. She is a fine artist, a bass guitar player, a karaoke enthusiast and enjoys photographing urban art in her spare time.

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