Ginni Rometty

I was pleased to learn recently that IBM’s new president and CEO is Ginni Rometty. She is the first woman to head the company. Prior to being named CEO she held the position of Senior Vice President and Group Executive Sales, Marketing and Strategy for IBM.

She may be familiar to some of you as she has been has been named to Fortune magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” for seven consecutive years, ranking #7 for 2011.

As I read Ginni’s biography, it seemed very clear that she was destined for this phenomenal career opportunity of a lifetime. In 1979, she graduated from the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University with high honors, receiving a bachelor’s degree in computer science and electrical engineering.

After graduating in 1979, Ginni worked for General Motors Institute. In 1981, she joined IBM as a systems engineer in its Detroit office.[4] She joined IBM’s Consulting Group in 1991. In 2002, she “championed the purchase of the big business consulting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting, for $3.5 billion.”[5] Rometty became senior vice president and group executive for sales, marketing and strategy in 2009.[4] Rometty is “credited with spearheading IBM’s growth strategy by getting the company into the cloud computing and analytics businesses. She has also been at the helm of readying Watson, the Jeopardy! playing computer, for commercial use.

Her predecessor, Sam Palmisano stated, “Ginni got it because she deserved it… It’s got zero to do with progressive social policies.” Palmisano will retain his position as chairman.

Ginni serves on the Board of Trustees of her alma mater Northwestern University, as well as on the Board of Overseers of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. She also served on the Board of Directors of AIG from 2006 until 2009. It is safe to say that IBM is in good hands with a strong woman at the helm.

Notes to Women wishes her all the best and great success. Congratulations, Ginni.You deserve it.


A Second Chance

Naissance (nay-SAHNS) lives in a tiny shanty home in Haiti. Like many in her homeland, she cannot read or write. She makes a meager living by selling boiled eggs and bananas on the street.

Five years ago her teenage son gave his life to God and joined the Adventist Church. He urged his mother to attend church with him and even gave her Bible studies, but she resisted his efforts and refused to surrender her life to God. So her son turned to prayer.

Naissance was washing clothes when the earthquake rocked southern Haiti in January 2010. She dropped the wet clothes and fled outside just in time to see the building next door topple over, crushing her little house. She watched in horror as the house on the other side of hers fell, crushing a young child. She cried out, “Jesus, are You going to let me die too?”

Naissance had nothing except the clothes she was wearing. She fled to the only place of safety she knew—her son’s church. A deacon invited her inside the gate and showed her where she could stay outside the church. No one ventured into the building for fear of another earthquake.

Church members gave Naissance what food they could and someone found a tarp under which she could sleep. Dozens more people came to the church for safety, and soon the churchyard was filled with people.

Naissasnce PhotoThree days later the evangelistic meeting that had been interrupted by the earthquake resumed outside the church. A woman preached powerfully but simply, and Naissance listened with an open heart. At last she understood what her son had been trying to tell her—that God loves her and wants her to become His child. She responded and was baptized with more than 240 others following the meetings.

Naissance has joined a group of women who pray for people who are facing difficulties. “I can’t read or write, but I can pray,” she says. Her son is helping her learn Bible texts by repeating them to her. “At last God’s word is finding root in my heart and my life. I praise Him for preserving me long enough to give my heart to Him.”

Our mission offerings help fund evangelism in Haiti and around the world. And the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering taken last December will help rebuild many of the churches and school facilities that were damaged or destroyed in the worst disaster ever to strike Haiti. Thank you for sharing.

Source: General Conference Office of Adventist Mission.

God gave Naissance a second chance and the opportunity to know Him and to become His child.


 Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior – Habakkauk 3:17, 18

I boarded a plane and found my seat.  The gentleman in the seat next to me was a bald fellow, colorfully dressed, sporting a bright, multi-colored paisley jacket.  When we were comfortably seated, I wouldn’t help but ask him, “What do you do for a living?” He asked me why I wanted to know.  I said, “Well, I’m going to assume you are an entertainer of some sort because that jacket has a lot of attitude, and not everybody has the charisma or confidence to pull that off.”

He said, “You’re absolutely right!  You’ve heard of motivational speakers?  Well, I’m an aggravational speaker.  Instead of motivating people, I aggravate them.  I tell them, ‘Stop whining.  Stop complaining.  Stop feeling sorry for yourself.  You’ve got yourself into this mess, now pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and get yourself out.'”  I liked his enthusiasm, but I knew his message missed the mark.

He asked me what I did for a living.  I couldn’t wait to tell him.  “Well, I’m a celebrational speaker.  Instead of just motivating people, I celebrate them.  I tell them, ‘Stop whining and complaining.  Stop feeling sorry for yourself.  Yes, the trouble you’re in is your fault.  Yes, you’ve tried cleaning things up by yourself.  The mess you’re in is just too big for you to handle on your own.  But there is a wonderful solution to your problem.  There is a God who is capable of sorting it all out.  Through an exciting relationship with Jesus Christ, you can discover the wonderful plan God has for your life.'”

Isn’t it good to know your heavenly Father celebrates you instead of just tolerating you?  He does not wish to aggravate or irritate you.  No matter what your circumstances, you have a reason to rejoice.  God really loves you.  That, my friend, is a reason to celebrate!

Source:  Babbie Mason, Women of Faith Devotional Bible, p. 1141

Yes, we have reasons to rejoice and to give thanks everyday.  We have a Father in heaven who loves us and wants what’s best for us.

Liberia’s ‘Iron Lady’

I must admit that I didn’t know that Liberia’s current president was a woman.  I found this out recently when my husband and I were watching TV.  Elections are just around the corner.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the 24th and current President of Liberia. She served as Minister of Finance under President William Tolbert from 1979 until the 1980 coup d’état, after which she left Liberia and held senior positions at various financial institutions. She placed a very distant second in the 1997 presidential election. Later, she was elected President in the 2005 presidential election and took office on 16 January 2006. Sirleaf is the first and currently the only elected female head of state in Africa.

Just recently Sirleaf was jointly awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.  The other recipients were peace activist Leymah Gbowee, from Liberia and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen — the first Arab woman to win the prize.  The three women were recognized “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work”.

It seems that not everyone is thrilled about Sirleaf”s receiving this high honor.  Apparently thousands of Liberians took to the streets of the country’s capital Friday morning after she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, calling for her removal from office.  The announcement that she had received the prize came the same day that the opposition party,  Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) was holding a rally in the capital ahead of Tuesday’s election.  CDC candidate Winston Tubman was “shocked” to hear about the peace prize.  In his opinion she contributed to the war in Liberia.  Kolu Diggen-Eagle, a 21-year-old schoolteacher shares Tubman’s sentiments.  She believes that the prize had been misdirected because, “Ellen contributed to the war that killed over 250,000 persons,” she said as she stood among thousands of  CDC supporters who sang and danced as they waited for the rally to start. “I, as an individual, deserve the award more than President Sirleaf.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu supports the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s decision.  “She deserves it many times over,” said the South African who won the peace prize in 1984. “She’s brought stability to a place that was going to hell.”  Prince Worzie, a 25-year-old petty trader who watched the rally from his roadside stall on Friday, October 7, feels the same way. According to him since Sirleaf took power, “ she has brought peace to Liberia.  She’s served as a role model for many — most especially through her style of appointing women to key positions in government. That alone justifies that indeed she should deserve the award.”

Sirleaf’s opponents view her peace prize as an unfair advantage going into the elections which are scheduled to occur tomorrow, Tuesday, October 11.  Despite the criticism, Sirleaf is still widely viewed as a top contender.

Sirleaf has been criticized for her early financial support of Liberia’s warlord-turned-president Charles Taylor, now on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity in The Hague. A coup launched by Taylor in 1989 led to 14 years of civil conflict in Liberia that claimed more than 250,000 lives.  It is true that initially Sirleaf supported Taylor at the outbreak of the first Liberian Civil War in the rebellion against Doe by helping to raise funds for his cause.  However, she later went on to oppose him.

The CDC also claimed that Sirleaf as being too busy impressing her international contacts to help ordinary Liberians.  She does have an international image.  Forbes magazine named Sirleaf as the 51st most powerful woman in the world in 2006.  In 2010, Newsweek listed her as one of the ten best leaders in the world, while Time counted her among the top ten female leaders. That same year, The Economist called her “arguably the best president the country has ever had.”

When Sirleaf took office six years ago she was seen as the country’s reformer and peacemaker.  In a 2005 interview with the Associated Press, Sirleaf expressed that it was her wish that young girls would see her as a role model and be inspired. “I certainly hope more and more of them will be better off, women in Liberia, women in Africa, I hope even women in the world,” she added.  It was not easy getting to where she is now.  “If you’re competing with men as a professional, you have to be better than they are … and make sure you get their respect as an equal.  It’s been hard. Even when you gain their acceptance, it’s in a male-dominated away. They say, ‘Oh, now she’s one of the boys.”

Notes to Women celebrate this iron lady, world’s first elected black female president and Africa’s first elected female head of state .  She was sentenced to 10 years in prison of which she served a partial sentence before she was released and sent into exile.  While Liberia was absorbed in a bloody civil war from 1989-96, Johnson-Sirleaf worked as an economist for Citibank and the World Bank, and as the director of a U.N. development agency in Africa.  Her unwavering grit and determination earned her the title, “Iron Lady”.    We wish this grandmother who pledged to bring the “motherly sensitivity and emotion to the presidency” which was greatly needed to heal the deep problems that plagued Liberia after many years of violence and warfare.  To her credit, in 2003, Johnson-Sirleaf pushed for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to deal with claims of war crimes during the civil war. She told AllAfrica, “A [war crimes] tribunal is not just meant to indict the guilty, but also to exonerate the innocent. This way, many people who have been accused — including myself — would have the opportunity to clear themselves and face their accusers.”

Sirleaf once declared, “Africa is ready for a female president. Women all over are poised to enjoy this victory.”  On 23 November 2005, Sirleaf was declared the winner of the Liberian election and confirmed as the country’s next president.  Her inauguration, attended by many foreign dignitaries, including United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and First Lady Laura Bush, took place on 16 January 2006.  Yes, women all over the world were able to enjoy her victory.  We hope that there will be another one tomorrow.  We also hope for a democratic, violence free election which would be ideal for Liberia.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Liberia as they go to the polls and vote in their second post-war election.

If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.

Why are some countries able, despite their very real and serious problems, to press ahead along the road to reconciliation, recovery, and redevelopment while others cannot? These are critical questions for Africa, and their answers are complex and not always clear. Leadership is crucial, of course. Kagame was a strong leader–decisive, focused, disciplined, and honest–and he remains so today. I believe that sometimes people’s characters are molded by their environment. Angola, like Liberia, like Sierra Leone, is resource-rich, a natural blessing that sometimes has the sad effect of diminishing the human drive for self-sufficiency, the ability and determination to maximize that which one has. Kagame had nothing. He grew up in a refugee camp, equipped with only his own strength of will and determination to create a better life for himself and his countrymen.
― Ellen Johnson SirleafThis Child Will Be Great: Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Africa’s First Woman President


Shine On!

I was frustrated that despite my repeated calls, the streetlight in front of my house was still out. Because we don’t have sidewalks and there is such a large distance between the streetlights, it’s important that each light is functional to illuminate the darkness. I worried that I might hit one of the school kids as I pulled out of my driveway in the early morning hours.

The idea of light is used frequently in the Bible. Jesus said that He is the Light of the world (John 9:5). We are told to “put on the armor of light” by clothing ourselves with the Lord (Rom. 13:12-14). And Matthew 5:16 instructs that we should “let [our] light so shine before men, that they may see [our] good works and glorify [our] Father in heaven.”

A light that doesn’t shine has lost its usefulness. Jesus said that no one hides a light under a basket but puts it on a lampstand to illuminate everything around it (Matt. 5:15). Our light (our actions) should point people to the One who is the Light. We don’t have any light in ourselves, but we shine with the reflection of Christ (Eph. 5:8).

God has placed each of us in a specific environment that will best allow us to shine with His light. Don’t be like a burned-out streetlight. Shine on!

Lord, help us always put You first
In everything we say and do
So that Your light will shine through us
And show the world their need of You. —Sper

Whether you’re a candle in a corner
or a beacon on a hill, let your light shine.


Source:  Cindy Hess Kasper, Our Daily Bread

When I do worship with my three year old son, I like to sing, “This Little Light of Mine”.  It says that “everywhere I go, I’m going to let it shine.”  We should let our lights shine whereever we are.  Our actions should reflect that we have Christ in our lives.  It’s not enough to say that we are Christians–we must act as such.  Our lights should lead people to the Light who came into the world over two thousand years ago.  Let God’s light shine through you in the place where He has placed you.  Allow others to be drawn to Him through you.

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