A year after graduating from Rhodes and looking for a different career path, Biology major Dot Neale turned to Mathematics Professor Ken Williams for advice. Williams mentioned that IBM had contacted Rhodes because it had had success in hiring liberal arts majors and had an overall admiration for Rhodes students. IBM was looking for recent graduates, and Neale jumped at the opportunity.
Neale called IBM, and an interview was scheduled the next day. Borrowing an outfit for the interview and having a friend type up her resume, Neale landed the job two weeks later. “My roles have changed drastically while at IBM, but I find myself challenged and still there 32 years later,” she says.
Neale has worked on the SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) Toolkit. However, her work is expansive. “As an IBM corporate citizenship and corporate affairs manager primarily focused across a mid-region of the U.S., my role includes a broad range of responsibilities - all designed to closely align with IBM′s strategy of ′Building a Smarter Planet.′ These responsibilities include directing regional grants, coordinating government relations activities, working with communications, facilitating global projects, promoting community volunteerism, planning for IBM′s centennial in 2011 and enhancing relationships with key leaders in communities,” Neale says.
The SME Toolkit is used around the world by companies wishing to revive or implement ‘green’ standards, or expand into the global market, for example. Although it is a free online resource courtesy of IBM, the company has follow-up meetings to help individual companies use the toolkit effectively. Recently, Neale worked with an organization in Columbus, OH, to use the toolkit to help small businesses in the Midwest cope with the economic crisis.
Currently, IBM is working on a six-figure grant with the Rhodes Crossroads to Freedom civil rights digital archive to make more than 100,000 resources increasingly accessible to teachers, documentary filmmakers and citizens.
Neale feels that the SME Toolkit could even be helpful to students. “Whether as a resource for classwork or an independent project, the SME Toolkit offers students valuable materials,” she says. “As more students become interested in being entrepreneurs, the toolkit offers a vast amount of free resources that might be price prohibitive otherwise.”
By: Alice C. Wombwell ’10