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Carrie Bendzsa

U.S. External Communications Leader, IBM Americas

Degrees:Bachelor of Journalism; double major English and Journalism. 1993.

My double-major in English and Journalism has provided an excellent foundation for a rewarding career in technology communications. My Carleton degree taught me the value of critical thinking and curiosity, two skills which are essential to all careers. I use these skills daily in my communications work. Critical thinking and curiosity underpin many communications initiatives, whether it is analyzing an issue, strategic planning or exploring a creative way to solve a problem.

Carleton offered, and still offers, a multi-cultural university experience. For someone who grew up in small-town Ontario, this experience was invaluable to helping shape my lifelong approach to diversity of thought and inclusion. I wouldn’t be the “open” thinker I am today without that exposure. Specifically, my English courses helped me learn to better understand and appreciate different forms of storytelling from Shakespeare to Children’s Literature. And everything in between. That appreciation still translates into the stories I edit or produce as a communications professional.

The road from Carleton degree to communications career has been filled with growth opportunities. I currently lead the U.S. External Communications team for IBM Americas. Together with IBM’s agency partners, our team is responsible for delivering industry-leading strategic engagements with media and influencers in targeted U.S. cities, federal, state and local publications across the U.S.

Previously, I was Head of Brand and Communications for IBM Canada where I led programs designed to strengthen, protect and build belief and advocacy for IBM’s brand across the country. In this capacity, our integrated team of marketing and communications professionals were responsible for long-term strategic and day-to-day regional and national concerns: internal and external communications, employee engagement, corporate brand advertising, sports sponsorship and client hosting, and branded social media channels.

I have lived in Ottawa since graduating from Carleton. I joined IBM via its Cognos acquisition in 2008 after holding progressively senior communications roles within Cognos Inc, Entrust Technologies and Corel Corporation.

In 2016, I had the privilege of being selected as one of 50 out of 40,000 global managers to serve on a team of “managers leading managers.” Our assignment was to drive change by inspiring disruptive thought and agile thinking. The broad base of critical thinking and creativity from my Carleton degree and cumulative experience, contributed to help my team collaborate to develop and pilot a transformational leader forum to help managers across the company better collaborate and share co-creation and best-practices within their departments. In 2017, I reprised this role for the marketing and communications global team.

I’m proud to be a two-time recipient of IBM Marketing and Communications’ Forward-Thinker Award, which recognizes transformational behaviours and business results. I applied this approach to my participation in the 2012 Jacksonville Smarter Cities Challenge, where I teamed up with five other global professionals to deliver a downtown revitalization action plan for the City.

Outside of work, I mentor communications professionals inside and outside of IBM. My passions include diversity and inclusion, skills building and growth mindsets, strongly integrated global communications programs, coaching teams for success and agile approaches to marketing and communications.