STEM Professional of the week

Olga Carbajal      
General Motors

When Olga was very young, her family emigrated from a very poor area in Mexico to the United States in search of better opportunities. Neither her father nor mother had any formal education, they did not finish high school and did not speak the English language, so her father worked as a migrant worker, finding seasonal work and her mother cleaned houses. They both understood that their hard work would pay off in their new country and encouraged Olga to study and be independent. When Olga decided to move 9 hours away to study computer science at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX she was encouraged to follow her dreams.

While in college, Olga persevered, overcoming many obstacles, especially being so far away from home. One of the most important things she did while in college was to become involved in several student organizations that supported her work in engineering as well as her ability to give back to the community. As part of the MAES organization, she organized several visits to local and remote middle schools and high schools in disadvantaged areas.

Her experience with student organizations helped her with leadership and public speaking skills and led to her to getting a job with the Center for Space Power (CSP), a NASA funded Center at A&M. At the CSP she was part of a larger group of students that helped develop a space navigation system that was launched and tested aboard the STS-107 space mission.

After graduation, Olga worked at various companies in the field of Information Technology and eventually transitioned to an engineering role in unified communications. This new role led Olga to join the General Motors team in 2013.

Today, Olga Carbajal leads the team responsible for designing and overseeing the deployment of unified communications technologies across General Motors. This includes engineering, deployment and operations for instant messaging, presence, conference calling, and web collaboration. Her team recently completed the global deployment of a new IM/P technology, global SIP infrastructure, refreshing conference room standards and enabling a global dial plan. This project affects over 140,000 users in more than 50 countries, and Olga’s was recognized across multiple departments for her contributions.

Olga has also driven the largest deployment of Lync 2013 servers, leveraging a 100% virtualized environment accessible by GM personnel anywhere in the world. And she has created operational processes and was called upon to train two separate operations teams on troubleshooting and remediating incidents within the environment – both server and client-sides. When it comes to troubleshooting, she literally wrote the book for GM Support Center engineers to reference when an incident arises.

In addition to her GM Engineering duties, Olga is a member of the Advisory Board for the African Leadership Bridge, a volunteer and fundraiser with the Make-a-Wish Foundation, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She has been a featured speaker for the Mexican-American Engineering Society, and is one of the GM college recruiters at Texas A&M University. Great Minds in STEM honored Olga with a Luminary Award in 2016.

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