Leaders in the Limelight: Meg Petersen

Written By

Susan Jacobs

May 22, 2018

My name: Meg Petersen

My company: IBM

My title: Senior Content Strategist and Program Manager, IBM Training and Skills

My location: Raleigh, North Carolina

Meg Petersen

Best business advice I ever received: One of the best managers I ever had always made sure the workplace was fun. We had a toy box filled with stuff that we used during brainstorming meetings—Slinkys, Silly Putty, a jack-in-the-box, bubbles, paddleball, yo-yos, etc. Laughter was a big part of our idea sessions and we had so much fun as we changed the world, one project at a time.

Thinking specifically about advice … the best advice I got helped me climb off the corporate ladder race and get me back to what I love—training and curriculum design. I was flying up the management chain but realized that I wasn’t all that happy implementing corporate policies and standards that didn’t always make sense to me. With some coaching support, I was reminded to follow my passion. I decided to get back into an individual contributor position where I could focus on learning strategy and transformation. That’s what makes me most happy. 

Most daring personal career move: I already mentioned jumping off the management train. That was daring but has probably provided longevity in my IBM career, along with personal satisfaction. Early in my career I quit my job and started my own training and consulting business, leaving the steady state of full-time employment to mine for clients and help them with their training and performance needs. This bold move helped me better manage my time, appointments, and deadlines, as well as life with two small boys. After about three years, one of my clients (Lotus) offered me a full-time position where I was able to work in my home office designing instructional programs and curricula and enjoying the best of both worlds. This included a steady salary and benefits, a rewarding set of projects, and the ability to work a flexible schedule. Lotus was eventually acquired by IBM, and thus I became an “IBMer.”

What I’m most proud of: My kids! (Isn’t that what any mother says?) When I look at my career, I realize they’ve come with me on the journey, especially since my office was most often in our home. I even remember taking my daughter to a few conferences that I presented at.

But from a pure work and career perspective, I’d have to say I’m most proud of how I collaborate, inspire, and nurture others. I’m no longer in a role of authority, meaning I don’t manage anyone directly, but I help set strategy and communicate it. A few years back I facilitated many sessions of a program called Taking the Stage that helped women find their true voices and the confidence to get their ideas heard. I’m also proud of my focus on coaching. At IBM we have a new program called Blue Core Coaching. I’m now a certified coach; helping others reach their business and personal goals … and grow as leaders. 

Current workplace challenge: One is our Enterprise Technical Content initiative. We are mobilizing a program to transform how we approach content strategy across our business. We are looking broadly across all content disciplines at IBM to ensure our clients have the right content, at the right time. My second focus is on digital learning transformation and experiential learning. We are shifting from creating just pure digital learning courses to microlearning, micro labs, MOOCs, online challenges and assessments, skill-based badges and micro credentials, personalization, and gamification. We’re creating an experience network where our clients, partners, and IBMers continue to learn new tools, acquire new skills, and earn credentials.

Something people don’t know about me: I’m a leap year baby, which means I was born on February 29. I’m currently 13 years old in leap years.

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