Black History Month

Obed Louissaint: Cooking up Culture & Cultivating Careers

Workplace culture continues to face its challenges in 2021 and organizations should have someone who loves them to help navigate. Obed Louissaint loves a challenge. Louissaint is Senior Vice President of Transformation and Culture and IBM’s first Black SVP in nearly 8 years.  

In this new role within a completely new function at IBM, Obed leads the areas of Leadership, Learning, Diversity & Inclusion, Talent, User Experience and Transformation.  He is responsible for reinventing people systems and culture to enable innovations to the marketplace quickly, ensure IBM clients succeed, and identify new areas for growth. One of the things he loves most about his job is the opportunity to match great people with significant business challenges.   

Newark native of Haitian decent and Cornell graduate, Louissaint somewhat stumbled into human resources work.  “I originally thought I was heading into financial services or consulting. The work at IBM was more compelling,” Louissaint said. Nearly two decades later, he still loves the pace of change and remains laser focused on rethinking skills and transforming the employee experience in today’s current climate.  

Culture enables purpose. It is the character and personality of an organization and positive workplace culture attracts talent, drives engagement, innovation and growth for clients, businesses and employeesPeople and organizations thrive when there is mission, skill and value alignment,” Louissaint says. 

Several of his work accomplishments includes creating an entrepreneurial culture within the Watson Health business unit and launching the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Academy. And most recentlyhe was appointed as the incoming Chair-Elect of the National Action Council on Minorities in Engineering (NACME). NACME is the largest provider of college scholarships for underrepresented minorities pursuing degrees at schools of engineering. 

Obedalways up for an adventurefaces his latest challenge – DAD. “Being a father is one of life’s most unexpected but most rewarding treasures.” Outside of cultivating culture within IBM, he serves as a minister at his local church in Westchester County, NY and enjoys gardening in his spare time.  

Obed’s leadership style, fashion forward sense of style and love of cooking contribute to knowing the right ingredients to bring culture to life and successfully transform talent to lead to powerful and sustainable outcomes.