Mariels Almeda Winhoffer, The first Pinay president of IBM Philippines

IN 2009, Mariels Almeda Winhoffer hit the headlines when she was awarded by the Asian American Business Development Center as one of the 50 Outstanding Asian Americans in Business — recognizing her contribution to the Asian business community in the United States.

A few days ago, Mariels Winhoffer’s name was in even bigger headlines in Philstar.com, when IBM announced her appointment as president and as the 14th country general manager for IBM Philippines. Winhoffer is the first female to hold the highest post in the Philippine office of the American giant technology firm.

According to a report from Philstar.com, Winhoffer joined IBM Corporation after college. This is where she has built her outstanding career for the past 26 years. She has held various executive posts within IBM, including Vice President and Business Development Executives Leader for the Industrial Sector, Client Relationship Executives Leader for Global Technology Services (GTS) Strategic Outsourcing, as well as Services Leader for Electronics and Automotive accounts – all based in the US.

Before her promotion as President of IBM Philippines, Winhoffer was serving as Client Advocacy Executive for IBM Corporation, where she reported directly to the Chairman and provided support for global client engagements.

The giant technology firm’s trust and confidence in Winhoffer has been expressed by Cordelia Chung, IBM ASEAN General Manager.

“IBM selected the Philippines as one of 20 growth markets where the company is making focused investments, as part of our strategy to capture the highest growth opportunities in the world’s emerging economies.”

“As we enter the next phase of our growth, Mariels Almeda Winhoffer’s deep client insight, global experience and outstanding leadership will help boost IBM Philippines as an industry leader, serving local and global clients, ” said Chung.

Winhoffer will assume responsibility for all of IBM’s operations in the Philippines, including the company’s sales and distribution, systems and technology, software and services units, and fully-owned subsidiaries offering global delivery including IBM Solutions Delivery and IBM Global Process Services Centers.

After the announcement of her promotion, Winhoffer shared their plans for the future. “Leveraging its rich natural resources and talent, many markets seek the Philippines as an extension and expansion of their operations.  IBM is committed to support and ensure that the Philippines is prepared to embrace these opportunities and achieve sustainable growth through its Smarter Planet agenda,” she said in the same article from Philstar.com.

IBM: 75 years in the Philippines

Winhoffer said that she is looking forward to be back in her home country, especially since the company will celebrate its 75th anniversary in the Philippines.

“I am very honored and excited to be back in the Philippines, to help IBM position itself as a key global provider of services in the growth industries, especially on our 75th anniversary milestone in the Philippines,” said Winhoffer to The Philippine Star.

Setting an example for Pinoys

As a top executive in IBM, Winhoffer’s outstanding leadership, vision and accomplishments have distinguished her, not only within the Filipino community, but also in the Asian- American community as well.

When the New York-based Asian American Business Development Center honored her in 2009, and recognized her contribution to the general American economy, she was also regarded as a role model —  for assisting minorities and the Asian community to become competent in the US mainstream job market.

In an earlier interview with the Asian Journal after the 2009 awarding, Winhoffer said:

“This is such a blessing! Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of us Filipinos out there, that’s why even if in my own little way, I try to drive cross-geo mentorship between the US and the Philippines.”

Personal life and academic background

Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, Winhoffer immigrated to the United States as a teenager.

Winhoffer completed her primary and some secondary education at Assumption College, Manila, Philippines. She studied  high school at St. Scholastica’s College, Manila and at Mundelein High School, in Mundelein, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago.

She graduated cum laude in 1985 from Fordham University, the Jesuit University of New York,  and earned a double degree in Finance and Computer Science.

She is married to Ernest Winhoffer and they have four children: Nicole, Ernest Jr., Michael, and Mark. They were residing in St. Charles, Illinois before her transfer to the Philippines.

(www.asianjournal.com)

(LA Weekend Jan 21-24, 2012 Sec A pg.10)

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