Uganda: An Interview with IBM iX Europe

Below is a modified version of the internal interview I gave to IBM iX Europe in December, to provide them with an insight into my last trip to Uganda and some of the key things I took away from it.

iX Europe: What is your role at IBM and why did you choose it?

Andy: I’m a Senior Strategy Consultant in IBM iX. I have always enjoyed the intersect between technology and business. The market has shifted from technology supporting business strategy to technology driving business strategy. My role is to help our clients translate this shift into a strategy that enables them to meet the ever-growing demands of their customers and remain competitive.

iX Europe: What gives you the most strengths in life and why?

Andy:It has to be my faith. We are in a season where the Christmas songs are in full swing, presents are starting to gather under the tree, and we are preparing to spend time with family and friends. It is the time of year where many of us, from all faiths or none, will gather in churches, sing Christmas carols and be reminded of a story of the greatest gift I have ever received. That gift shapes who I am, what I think of myself and how I seek to fulfil my full potential. In my hardest times, that gift of faith has been the most significant source of strength.

iX Europe: Tell us about the greatest project in your life so far.

Andy: I am incredibly privileged. The time, location and talents I was born with cover everything I really need; just because I was born in a developed country, in the 20th century and I am working for IBM. Not everyone is so privileged.

iX Europe Uganda: Patrick, Youth Pastor, Tororo

This September I got to meet Patrick. Patrick works as a Youth Worker in the east of Uganda, in an area called Tororo, close to the border of Kenya. Uganda is a country where 77% of the population is under 30; education is still a luxury and unemployment is at 74% (ages 18-24). In these conditions, Patrick is attempting to help the young people he works with to buck this trend, despite never being taught how to do this effectively. He was just one of 65+ people who attended the youth workers training I was running with a local NGO in Tororo.

Projects like these allow me to take the skills our client’s value so much and apply them in an area that could never afford to pay for them but, perhaps, needs them even more.

iX Europe: Tell us what you’re most proud of.

Andy: During my trip to Uganda this year I was also able to trace the footsteps of my grandparents. They spent all their married life in Uganda. For two years my grandfather was acting principal of what is now Uganda Christian University (UCU), the top private university in Uganda. The humble beginnings of a theological training college now serve the needs of ~13,000 students.

However, what I am most proud of are the values that the university instils in their students. Values that make them the university of choice for employers and draw students from the surrounding African nations. These are the values that my grandfather stood for. Values of honesty and integrity that we as IBMers share. These are invaluable in all contexts, but especially in a country still rife with corruption.

iX Europe Uganda: Attendees at UCU for Alan Galpin's Thanksgiving Service.

iX Europe: How can you live out your desire to help others at IBM and leave a lasting impact?

Andy: In consulting we have the great privilege of helping our clients develop something that makes a difference to individuals. The work we are doing at my current client will change the experience millions of customers, and thousands of staff have every day. More importantly, we have a strong team of IBMers who are investing invest in each other. That is what will stand the test of time. I am where I am today because of the people who have invested in me. In whatever sphere I am working in, there is always someone I can provide a shoulder to stand on. The legacies we leave behind as leaders are measured in the people that go after us – those we have developed, invested and stood in the trenches alongside. That is how I create a lasting impact. That is how we create lasting impact.

iX Europe Uganda: Andy Galpin Speaking in Tororo

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