22 Ways Women Continue to Advance Their Careers at IBM – 2023 Update

Women at IBM

Last year, we sat down with IBM’s D&I Women’s Community Leader, Julie, to discuss the many ways women have found success in their careers while working at IBM. We’re happy to provide an updated list of new and expanded programs and opportunities for women at IBM to leverage as they continue to build their careers.

At IBM, women have been making contributions to the advancement of technology since the company’s founding, playing a critical role in driving innovation and transformation. IBM hired its first woman employee in 1899 and has been creating meaningful roles and opportunities for women ever since.

IBM recognizes that a diverse leadership team and a culture of conscious inclusion, belonging, and active allyship are vital to fostering innovation and business growth. We’re proud to offer several career, leadership, mentorship, sponsorship, and upskilling opportunities for women all around the world.


Women at IBM Community leader


Career Acceleration Programs

We’ve had several thousand women at IBM participate in a career acceleration program aimed at growing leadership and networking skills. Below is a sampling of our global offerings, as well as some of our many geography-based programs designed to address specific regional needs.


Global Programs:

1. Building Relationships & Influence

A global leadership program for women with executive potential, designed to accelerate their IBM career through face-to-face sessions and action-centered learning. Women at IBM explore ways to advance their leadership experience, build more effective business relationships, and improve influencing skills.

2. Creating Your Leadership Journey

Also known as “Level Up”, this program is designed to develop executive potential women for leadership roles. It offers participants the opportunity to learn strategies for increasing visibility and identify ways to balance the demands of work and home life.

3. Unleashing Your Leadership Potential

A book club-like learning series designed to strengthen leadership skills of IBMers to become influential leaders. Women at IBM have the opportunity to learn how to enhance their personal branding, build stronger relationships, and find better work-life integration.

4. Women in the Corner Office

This program focuses on fostering a more inclusive work environment to support the career acceleration of IBM women. It features quarterly round tables with executives who provide career advice and networking, as well as opportunities for women to connect with a mentor, coach, or sponsor.


Geography-Based Offerings:

5. Elevate Women Leadership Development

For IBM women in Central and Eastern Europe, East Africa, and Latin America, this program is an opportunity to develop leadership skills through a customized and tailored learning plan. It focuses on how to create a leadership journey and build a personal brand that resonates.

6. DACH Women & Leadership

For IBM women in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, this program is designed to help women at IBM develop 21st century leadership skills. It’s a chance for women to gain confidence while creating personal strategies for career development.

7. Tanmatra

For IBM women in India, this program offers a blend of academic, experiential, and reflective learning to help participants develop personal, functional, and strategic leadership skills. Over the course of nine months, women learn how to prepare to become executives through job shadowing and networking sessions with business leaders, as well as opportunities for mentoring and one-on-one consulting.

8. Lean In for Allyship

Also for women at IBM in India, this new program educates managers on the importance of advocacy for women to ensure they’re on the slate for promotions to leadership positions.

9. Top Women Elite Circle

For IBM women in China, this program accelerates the personal and professional growth of early career women, blending group and personal coaching activities to assist in gaining a deeper awareness and connection to oneself.

10. Europe Elevate+

This program is designed for women across Europe who want to reach an executive level in their career. During this 12-month program, participants partake in leadership development sessions, individual coaching, and sponsorship.

11. Women Advancement Through Leadership & Knowledge

For early career, IBM women in Mexico, this program offers structured mentoring and learnings to develop leadership skills, enhance business acumen, and improve personal branding.

12. W50 Women in Leadership

For IBM women in Japan, the goal of this program is to develop and promote early and mid-career women into management roles, which are characteristically held by men in Japan. It focuses on developing leadership skills, networking, job shadowing, and sponsorship.



Mentorship & Sponsorship

Mentorship and sponsorship are at the forefront of IBM’s culture. IBM mentors and career coaches take the time to actively listen to mentees, while empowering them to build a plan to advance their careers the way they choose to. An IBM sponsor will stand up for women even when they’re not in the room.

IBM has also developed several programs to advance women at IBM in technical roles, which helps increase the representation of women in the technical executive population. Additionally, IBM’s emphasis on skills over degrees has opened a route to the technology industry for women from underrepresented communities.

13. Tech Re-Entry

Women may need to leave their jobs, mid-career, for a variety of reasons. They may need to care for children or elderly parents, relocate with their family, or complete their higher education studies. IBM designed the Tech Re-Entry program for technical professionals who left the workforce and want to restart their careers and transition back into the workplace.

In this paid, six-month program, returning professionals can refresh their skills with prescriptive learning plans and work on high-impact projects alongside multi-disciplinary teams to deliver client-critical solutions. The program is available worldwide and may vary by country or circumstance. You can learn more here.

14. IBM Apprenticeship

This full-time, earn-and-learn program, is designed for individuals, often without traditional four-year degrees, who are looking to reinvent their careers and make the shift from less flexible careers, such as food service, retail, and manufacturing, to become Cybersecurity Analysts, Digital Designers, Developers, and more.

Participants can collaborate and network with real IBMers, receive mentorship from experts in their field, earn digital credentials, and fast-track their technical and professional development. You can learn more here.

15. Journey to Allyship

This unique campaign to increase allyship at IBM is comprised of a cohort of women and allies joining forces for ten months to participate in education and learnings, collaborate on careers and leadership, and work together to embrace a collection of high-impact actions everyone can take to create, and become, better allies across IBM.

16. STAR Executive Sponsorship Program

The Systems Talent Acceleration and Recognition (STAR) Executive Sponsorship Program is designed to help mid-level women grow their leadership skills for executive potential positions. The program lasts between 6-12 months, with participants hearing from various IBM speakers to gain a greater understanding of leadership opportunities at IBM.

17. Pathways to Technical Leadership

This program is designed to recruit, develop, and retain mid-career, diverse technical leaders. Participants can identify their career aspirations and develop leadership skills with self-paced education, workshops, mentoring, and personalized training. Senior leaders actively engage with participants, offering shadowing opportunities and hosting roundtable career discussions.


This is Women at IBM


Business Resource Groups (BRGs)

BRGs at IBM are global and local, employee run communities for individuals with similar identities, along with their allies. IBM offers more than 65 virtual and in-person BRGs specifically for women worldwide that helps expand their personal and professional networks, develop key skills, gain access to mentorship and sponsorship, and advocate for issues important to women. Simply put, BRGs are the feet on the ground for the engagement of women at IBM.

18. Here are a few examples of the many BRGs for women at IBM:

  • “SWIFT” (Successful Women Inspiring Future Talent), is a global BRG with a membership of over 5,000 women from North America that provides tailored support for personal growth and career development through networking and mentoring activities.
  • India has the largest BRG for women, with multiple chapters around the country, for women at IBM to participate either in-person or virtually. They work closely with diversity and inclusion leaders to create allyship, improve women’s health and well-being, and host career strategy events.
  • The Americas also have very active BRGs in cities like New York City, NY, Austin, TX, Atlanta, GA, San Francisco, CA and the surrounding Valley area, and many other cities across the U.S., Canada and Latin America. They host events and workshops all year long, with multiple celebrations during Women’s History Month in March. These events focus on topics like intersectionality, volunteerism, leadership, career journeys, managing work and home life, and caretaking.
  • “Connecting Women”, one of the largest BRGs in Europe, Middle East, and Africa, includes several countries and regions that host both in-person and virtual events. Topics are centered around issues that women want to learn about…everything from careers to menopause.
  • We recently launched a BRG in the Greater China Group region, focused on growing careers and women representation across all technical and non-technical roles.


External Partnerships

IBM teams with external organizations devoted to making a difference, leveraging research, and offering resources and support to women at IBM.

19. Conferences for Women

Conferences for Women is the largest network of women’s conferences in the U.S. Its mission is to promote, communicate, and amplify the influence of women in the workplace and beyond. Women at IBM have the opportunity to participate in these conferences in California, Texas, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. You can learn more here.

20. Women’s Business Collaborative (WBC)

This alliance of national professional women’s organizations works together to achieve equal pay, position, and power for all businesswomen. Tens of thousands of diverse, professional women and men and business and media organizations help accelerate change through collaboration, advocacy, action and accountability. All IBMers can participate in any WBC event. You can learn more here.

21. Society of Women Engineers (SWE)

A global, non-profit organization, with a membership of nearly 30,000 individuals, focused on issues of interest to women who specialize in engineering and other technical careers. IBM has been a long-standing partner and sponsors membership for technical women at IBM to join. You can learn more here.

22. The WIT Network

A global and local Not-for-Profit organization that provides inspiration, education, mentoring, networking, and practical advice to empower individuals to help build and grow their careers in technology. Its mission is to encourage women and girls to study STEM and pursue careers in technology, enable more women to attain leadership positions and career advancement, and help companies change the landscape of gender equality in their business. All IBMers can participate in any WIT event. You can learn more here.



Discover Your Potential at IBM

For more than 110 years, IBM has been a catalyst that makes the world work better, and we remain dedicated to driving actionable change and outcomes for a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive society.

Consider IBM as the next step in your career journey!

  • To learn more about how IBM supports women in their careers, check out our Be Equal Portal.
  • To see a list of job openings around the world, visit our Careers Website.
  • You can also join our Talent Network to receive updates on events and career opportunities.