For the complete text of Yaun’s speech, click here.
“Every important milestone in my career came at the moment that I figured out exactly what I didn’t want to do,” said David Yaun, ’85, vice president of Global Industries Marketing and Communications at IBM.
Yaun offered his unique career advice as the keynote speaker at the 53rd annual Mark Hellinger Awards ceremony Oct. 9 in Ellicottville. The awards ceremony honored journalism and mass communication graduates Maddie Gionet, Danny Bush and Bryan Clark.
Yaun focused his speech on how he found his career by discovering what he didn’t want to do. He gave examples of careers he didn’t find meaningful for him, such as reporting and working in a public relations agency.
“For me, every great leap forward — in terms of opportunity, creativity, accomplishment, and job satisfaction — sprang from those moments of clarity, times when I was brave enough to say ‘I don’t want to do that’ even when I had no idea what the implications would be,” Yaun said.
After working for years at various public relations firms in New York, Yaun wound up at IBM — “the last place I ever expected to be,” he said.
“It’s only at those points that I became liberated, truly free to multiple possibilities,” Yaun said. “Instead of one narrow, defined path, so many more opened up. And each one that I have taken has made me more vital, more energized, intellectually and emotionally stimulated, continuing to grow and learn to this day.”
Yaun expressed to students the importance of finding out who they are instead of what they want to become.
“If you know what you’re made of, and apply it consistently with discipline and rigor, the rest takes care of itself,” Yaun said. “You’ll build a reputation. You’ll create a personal brand. You’ll stand for something that companies like mine truly value. And you will be rewarded.”
Yaun leads IBM’s global marketing programs targeting clients in 18 major industry segments worldwide, as well as account-focused marketing programs targeting IBM’s top 275 clients.
Yaun is a member of IBM’s marketing and communications leadership team and serves on the Board of Governors for the IBM Academy of Technology.
Prior to his current role, Yaun spent five years as IBM’s lead executive responsible for conceiving and implementing a broad range of global collaborative innovation programs. He also worked at Sony Electronics Inc. and several New York-based public relations agencies, including Edelman Public Relations, Connors Communications, and Technology Solutions.
In 2008, he was named to the Research Advisory Council for the Business Innovation Factory. Yaun's work is featured in the book “The Responsibility Revolution,” by Jeffrey Hollender and Bill Breen.
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