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Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month
Rafa Mercado, Client Director – The Coca-Cola System, Kyndryl

 

Rafa Mercado co-leads the account for one of Kyndryl's most strategic customers – The Coca-Cola Company and its franchise system of bottlers. Rafa manages the strategic partnership, key initiatives, and end-to-end business/financial operations of the account while overseeing executive relationships and more than 300Kyndryl employees. Rafa previously held the same role for IBM’s Delta Air Lines account and has held various other leadership roles focused on customers and growth.

Before IBM, Rafa focused on supply chain and business development at Procter & Gamble. He earned MBAs from The Wharton School and INSEAD, and degrees in systems engineering from the University of Lima and the University of Central Florida, from which he graduated magna cum laude. Throughout his career, Rafa has been a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion.

What inspired you to get into a technology career?

I loved magic as a kid, and liked the way people were “wowed” when I performed magic tricks. So after reading the Arthur C. Clarke quotation “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” I was inspired to go all-in on technology. But my passion for technology evolved. It started with a desire to excite people with what technology could do, and then matured into a commitment to improving people’s lives by helping to solve their toughest challenges.

What personal or professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

I’m very thankful to have been one of only nine people selected for IBM’s program to groom the next generation of General Managers. I got the opportunity to live on all inhabited continents over the course of nine months helping customers with their AI and hybrid cloud journeys. These were the early years when we were creating new markets for AI to unlock billions in hidden value for our clients.

During the pandemic, I have been humbled by the efforts of Kyndryls around the world to keep so many of the vital services that we depend upon day-to-day – from retail to health care to transportation – up and running.

On the personal front, like many parents, raising and protecting my children during the pandemic has been challenging, but also extremely fulfilling. And I feel the experience has helped me grow immensely as a person.

What made you make the move to Kyndryl and what are you most looking forward to as the company becomes independent?

As an engineer and technology geek at heart, I’m excited to be able to contribute to the re-design of a $19 Billion “startup” and help shape its go-to-market, practices and governance. And I am especially excited about Kyndryl’s customer centricity principles. I love that the customer will be at the center of everything we do.

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you? 

Diversity and inclusion in the US have enabled our competitive advantage globally. The US Hispanic population has grown 23% over the the last 10 years, to the point where nearly 1-in-5 Americans consider themselves a Latino. For me, this is an opportunity for Hispanics and allies to celebrate our greatest achievements, to get to know each other, and strengthen our collective network for a greater purpose. The value of diverse teams comes from the perspectives each contributor brings forward – shaped by our unique experiences. And Hispanics have a lot to offer!