Luck is often defined as the moment when preparation meets opportunity.

Shellye Archambeau, the CEO of MetricStream — a governance risk, compliance and quality software company — is familiar with this dynamic.

Archambeau, a self-described “planner,” graduated from Wharton and embarked on a 15-year career at IBM, where she served as one of the company’s highest-ranking executives and was the first African American woman at IBM to be sent on an international assignment to Tokyo. She has has amassed more than 20 years of experience as an executive in the technology sector, serving as chief marketing officer and executive vice president of sales for Loudcloud, chief marketing officer of NorthPoint Communications and president of e-commerce at Blockbuster.

Archambeau stopped by the Washington Post on Thursday to discuss the changing economic landscape and, in light of Black History Month, the importance of diversity in corporate success.

Asked if the economy was, from her perspective, truly in a recovery, Archambeau said things were certainly looking up. But, for job seekers,she said, it would take more than a desire to work to break through and pin down a job.

For those particularly hard-hit by the recession, including job seekers between the ages of 20 and 30, Hispanics and African Americans, Archambeau recommends doing whatever you can to stay busy — even if it means you’re not getting paid.

After all, employers, eager to find individuals who can quickly jump on a team and start realizing projects and implementing strategy, aren’t likely to be excited by a blank resume.

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