Work and Money
This IBM Executive Has a '#NoExcuses Attitude'
Staying true to yourself can be challenging at times, but not wavering can pay off professionally and personally. This was true for Victoria Pelletier, the vice president of North America talent and transformation practice at IBM. At 44 years old, she already has over 20 years of corporate leadership experience and shows no signs of stopping.
Pelletier says that she and her team have been so successful because they built personal brands based on their authentic selves. She tells CircleAround that this brand should “not just [be about] your subject-matter expertise, but crafting the message and the voice about how people describe you.” She says, “Some of my greatest rewards have been having team members who want to follow me to new organizations. It feels good hearing from some long-time employees that they have never had a leader like myself.”
Began Working at Age 11
Pelletier not only attributes her success to staying true to herself but to learning from her early experiences. These experiences shaped her self-proclaimed “unstoppable nature and #NoExcuses attitude.” She tells CircleAround that she grew up in an abusive home until she was removed and later adopted and that this history inspired her to go beyond the generations before her. “I began working at age 11, was supervising and leading people at age 14, and became an executive as COO and GM of a large privately held organization at age 24, just a few months after giving birth to my first child.”
Now, the majority of her career is focused on leading business-to-business consulting, technology, and service organizations. “I started in operational roles and then grew into broader general-management roles, where I have led large teams, divisions, and business units for Fortune 500 companies, such as Brookfield, American Express, Aon, and now IBM,” Pelletier tells CircleAround.
"I made a very bold move when I accepted my first executive role."
"I made a very bold move when I accepted my first executive role. I was not only a brand new mother, I was leaving my ‘safe’ and ‘secure’ job in senior management at a bank to take a stretch role in a private organization. It was THIS role, however, that set me on my career path and a trajectory for success. I learned how to be a general manager and run a P&L and large business.”
At IBM, she leads the client-facing Americas business unit that supports clients with all things people, culture, and workforce/organization. She helps with everything from strategy to technology to outsourcing services and leads teams focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. She sets an example to others to be their authentic selves by creating a safe environment and culture for her team members to show up and deliver each day.
"I am spending a lot of my time being an advocate and providing consulting both IN and OUTSIDE of IBM around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion."
“I am spending a lot of my time being an advocate and providing consulting both IN and OUTSIDE of IBM around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Having achieved a senior role as an executive at such a young age, my focus has shifted much more so over the last number of years to the impact I can have as a leader, on business and my community, so my advocacy and public speaking have been where I've spent a lot of my time outside of my professional work.”
Pelletier is currently focused on growing and building her team to meet the needs of her clients and the changing market landscape. “Some of the greatest challenges are around keeping the team focused on delivering with an infinite and growth mindset, particularly when working for a public company that is focused on quarter to quarter results.”