Virginia Mayo Policarpio: A Pinay at the zenith of cyber technology

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The ever-changing trends in education and related technology careers constantly challenge computer science enthusiasts, practitioners, and jobs interconnected to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).

In the U.S. alone, 9 out of 10 parents want their children to study computer science but only one out of four schools offers and teaches computer programming with maximized authority and specialized curricular knowlegeability. Then, there’s the high percentage in projected increase in employment in computer occupation… not to mention the staggering paycheck that goes with it.

Majority of colleges and universities offer computer training dedicated to helping educate users adequate proficiency on computer-related subjects including software, hardware, database, management, programming, networking, and many more with the three leading institutions known worldwide as the best in computer science and information system: MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Stanford University (USA), and University of Oxford (UK).

It was a wise decision and a clever move for Virginia Mayo-Policarpio to lean toward computer science and embrace her chosen course as a lifetime career. From St. Dominic Academy where she finished her secondary education, she took up BS Computer Engineering, Info Technology and MS Engineering Management courses at the New Jersey Institute of Technology… and it was all worth it.

A namesake of the former American actress-dancer who was once Warner Bros.’s biggest box-office money maker during the late 1940s, Virginia Mayo is also her mother’s “Junior” and Nelson Mayo’s first born. A typical Libran (born September 30), Virginia possesses a high sense of diplomacy and ingenious imagination, being challenged to choose one career and sticking to it, while simultaneously armed with a personality that resembles a volcano under an iceberg.

A Trusted Advisor and Thought Leader from end-users to executives for her expertise in Security Patch Management and Server Provisioning Technologies, Virginia is a Solution Architect of the GTS (Global Telecommunication System) Global Security Patch Management Project Office. In her able capacity as a person in charge she has led the design of a global framework to standardize delivery of the GTS Security Patch Management service offering, led the development of intellectual capital to support GTS transformation through processes, education, and global guidance that continue to be widely utilized globally supporting IBM (International Business Machine) to meet client objectives.

After having demonstrated her innate creative skills and innovative advancement in technology as evidenced by research papers in top conferences and journals based on applied works with mathematical approaches and techniques, Virginia, in her full capability has designed, constructed, and implemented parallel algorithms, worked independently, and effectually performed the role of a technical lead for customer projects.

Currently, Virginia is the Chief Engineer for the GTS Security Patch Management Service and Business Architect and co-creator of Risk-based Continuous Patch (RCP), a transformational and innovative automation positioned to revolutionize Security Patch Management Offering in GTS.

As Chief Engineer for Patch Management, an area of system management that involves acquiring, testing, and installing multiple code changes to an administered computer system, Virginia typically focuses on a specific computer network, database, or system administration function.

She’s an IBM Senior Staff Member (STSM) and an IBM certified Senior/L3 IT Specialist as well as a certified Distinguished IT Specialist from The Open Group… such remarkably high-ranking position!

Virginia, in her innate means of voluntarism and giving back to the community,  has active professional affiliations and involvements with several prestigious institutions and organizations such as: FY17 SWE NJ Section Representative of Society of Women Engineers; a Board Member of the Metropolitan Family Health Network; a Member of The Open Group Certified Distinguished IT Specialist; Member of Information Systems Security Association (ISSA); Member of the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society; an IBM Certified Senior / L3 IT Specialist; and Board of Trustee of The Nelson L. Mayo, Jr. Foundation.

As an IBM affiliate and a woman on a totem pole, it won’t be surprising if Virginia could only be the target of green-eyed males (and even females) for having such an enviable career rarely achieved by even the most audacious and ambitious job hunters.

“As a Cyber Security Expert, I define the process, policies, and blueprintfor the automation to keep IBM client systems secure with Ransomwares. I also balance audit compliance elements with cost of keeping systems secure,” Virginia freely appended as if trying to make me understand the truest quintessence and nature of her job but (sad to say) it made my perception even shoddier… and I merely executed a coyly nod and modest grin as my unspoken approval.

With success and accomplishments, recognitions and awards won’t be remote. Virginia’s exceptional technological skill and unparalleled dexterity on computer expertise were fittingly acknowledged: Women of Color STEM Technology Rising Star Award (2017), GTS Service Excellence Award (SEA) (Cash award in 2016); Manager’s Choice Award (Twice in 2016); IBM Chairman’s Award (2015); Manager’s Choice Award (2014); IBM Personal Business Commitment (Highest Performance Rating) (6 times: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2009, 2008, and 2007); IBM Means Service Award (2012); IBM Bravo! Award (2008); and Recipient of the NJIT / Kauffman Entrepreneurial Scholarship (2000).

Incidentally, to add more glitter to Virginia’s already glittery career journey, allow me to include a few interesting highlights that transpired during my interview in her homey domicile in an affluently gated community west of Jersey City.

Asian Journal (AJ): What was your childhood like?

Virginia Mayo Policarpio (VMP): I grew up in Lipa City, Batangas under the care of my grandparents from my father’s side. I was pampered and had fine luxuries with househelps and all but my lifestyle changed when my parents brought me to the US at the age of 12 (1990). We were just starting then and renting a basement was the best option. It was sort of a challenge to me that I had to help my parents clean houses and facilities to augment the family income while keeping my studies a top priority.

AJ: What was your early ambition?

VMP: Initially, I wanted to be a lawyer since there was none from both sides of my family… they’re either doctors or politicians. But when I came here, I had a change of heart…and wanted to be an engineer, instead. I wanted to be different… not just an ordinary engineer but a computer engineer since cyber technology was establishing a strapping groundwork then.

AJ: What job did you land on after college?

VMP: I was hired as a Chemistry teacher for a year by St. Dominic School then was luckily accepted by IBM where I started to rise from the ranks in fourteen years.

AJ: When did marriage creep in?

VMP: Well, as they say, marriage is like a thief that comes during your unawareness… and my destined life partner, Patrick Policarpio, came into being in 2004 through a mutual friend. Patrick works for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), an agency of the US Department of Homeland Security that has authority over the security of the traveling public in the United States. The agency was created in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks.

AJ: How do you cope up with the demands of the home, family, and your job?

VMP: It’s just a matter of time management and my growing family makes me work harder for their future. My husband and I constantly support them where they’re individually interested. Our eldest, Trinity (9), is leaning towards music but we wanted her to finish school and be a Broadway star with a college degree. Our second born, Cassius (7), is exceedingly ambitious. To our surprise he wanted to be the President of the USA but who knows? At his young age he has already prepared his own platform and put in order a concrete agenda. Funny that our youngest, Lorenzo (3), is fascinated with Disc Jockeying while simultaneously dreaming to be a doctor.

AJ: If offered to work overseas with a double pay but away from your family, how will you decide?

VMP: It’s not typical in my company but if ever, maybe I’ll negotiate to have my family with me with lesser pay. It’s just propitious that I’m allowed to work at home doing the most of my company’s load in the technical side…while I can personally look after my kids. Actually, I’m like a technical sales person over the phone utilizing the power and charm of my voice to the extent.

AJ: Now that you’re almost on the top of your league what more is there to aim for?

VMP: Well, given another year, I will definitely be the highest executive in the technical side and later, I am motivated and determined to cross to the business side… not only for my personal achievement  but for my company’s growth, as well.

AJ: Is a retirement plan slowly forming on your mind?

VMP: Still way far from retiring but if and when we have sufficient savings, why not at 55. By that time I feel I’ve reached and done the best and everything I could. Then maybe, we’ll be traveling around the world and move to a much bigger place.

AJ: When is fulfillment in its truest essence?

VMP: I can only say I’m fulfilled and contented when our kids are all grown up with the best education and stable jobs… when we are healthy… when we have everything we need, and still have enough to give and aid the less fortunate.

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