Maria B. Winans was most recently Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, where she oversaw all marketing activities across North America and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement.
As a native of Santiago, Chile, Maria has served as co-chair of IBM's Hispanic Executive Council, has been awarded the ASPIRA Association’s Corporate Leadership Award, and has been named one of the "Top 10 Latina Corporate Executives of the Year" by LATINA Style. A graduate of the University of North Carolina, Maria is the proud mother of two children. She is also a certified instructor in Kickboxing, TRX and Russian Kettlebells, and teaches fitness classes in her spare time.
What inspired you to get into a technology career?
When I interned with IBM after college, I found smart people with global backgrounds and a company that offered endless opportunities. I saw the impact of technology and how it was changing industries and markets around the world – and after almost three decades in tech, I’ve never stopped learning. A technology career offered me an open canvas of possibilities to work with purpose to impact the world around me.
What personal or professional accomplishment are you most proud of?
I immigrated from Chile when I was 10 years old and spent the rest of my childhood in North Carolina. Growing up, I was always different from the other kids around me. Even when I joined IBM out of college, I was often one of the only Hispanic women in the room. But I made a choice throughout my career to lean into the power of being different and to work as hard as I could to say yes, to be all the things I wanted to be.
I chose to be an executive AND a mother. I chose to be a proud Latina AND a proud American. I chose to be a fitness instructor AND an artist. I’m most proud of this example I’ve set for my children and for other Latina women that regardless of where you come from, you can do whatever you put your mind to. You can choose to be all the “ands” that you want in life.
What made you make the move to Kyndryl and what are you most looking forward to as the company becomes independent?
It’s a dream job for a marketer – building and launching a brand from scratch. I knew this was a once-in-a-career opportunity. We have an amazing journey ahead at Kyndryl as we build off the foundation laid by IBM and create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first.
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
My identity as a Latina is core to who I am. My mother used to tell me that being different is an advantage – it’s an opportunity. I use my unique perspective and experiences to lead my organization into the future because a thriving economy based on constant innovation depends on a truly diverse, inclusive workforce at every level.
Like many diverse women, I’ve experienced my own share of adversity and prejudice, but my diversity is my source of strength – I rely on and draw from the power of my community frequently. Hispanic Heritage Month is a special time for pausing and celebrating the deep beauty of the Hispanic Community.