STEM Professional of the week

Clara Restrepo      

Clara Restrepo grew up in Colombia during a time when the South American country was plagued by problems of corruption, political turmoil and violence. These experiences taught Clara not to take anything for granted, but rather to work hard to achieve success. That logic and appreciation for life helped Clara have the best childhood possible.

Clara’s parents instilled in her the value of an education. They knew that without it she and her siblings risked the chance of not succeeding. Her early school years were filled with an appreciation for life and education. After graduating high school, Clara decided to attend EAFIT University in Medellin, Colombia to pursue a degree in product engineering. After years of focus and hard work, Clara earned her bachelor’s degree and decided it was time for a little mental break. She decided to visit family in the United States, and out of curiosity decided to tour universities in Michigan. Clara knew that she wanted to pursue a graduate degree but thought she would be doing it back in her home country. On one of the visits, Clara met with the director of an MBA program and the rest, as they say, is history. Clara earned her Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Detroit Mercy in Michigan.

Although the road to success proved to be an intense one for Clara, she knew it was all worth it in the end. Leaving the life she knew behind to start fresh in a foreign country, learning the English language in a few months to get through graduate school, all while staying focused enough to finish what she had set out to do only made Clara stronger and a true inspiration for those that would follow.

Clara’s first experience as a professional began as an IT Planning Analyst for Ford Motor Company. She would spend the next few years there until landing a job at IBM, where she launched and managed a Global IT Help Desk in Latin America.

Now in her sixteenth year in information technology, Clara has become a world-class manager and leader in the field of high performance and server-class computing. She is currently leading global Midrange Computing Operations, where she manages day-to-day operations ensuring focus on operational excellence. As a Delivery Project Executive, Clara also ensures excellence in Change Management control posture for Midrange teams by working on protecting availability, reducing risk and eliminating human error.

Beyond the walls of IBM, Clara gives back to the community through her tireless efforts in Latin America. For example, side-by-side, with her brother, she worked to ensure children in need of eyeglasses had access to them. These are children that are not only less fortunate, but perhaps have been labeled with having a learning disability when they were simply sight impaired. All this while balancing career, family and mentoring others.

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