Women at IBM

Ai Is Making an Impact in Japan Through the Working Mother Community

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(2 min read) The women of IBM are doing some amazing things to change the world, so let’s celebrate them! This March to celebrate women’s history month and #IWD2020, our incredible female IBMers are sharing their stories with you. Today, we’re catching up with Ai Okada from IBM Japan. Ai is the founder of the IBM Japan Working Mother Community.

Want to learn more about the incredible women at IBM and how you can join them and work at IBM? Head over to our Careers Page to learn more!


Tell us about yourself!

My name is Ai Okada. I am a certified technical specialist, IBM volunteer, and the founder of the IBM Japan Working Mother Community.


Can you tell us a bit more about the Working Mother Community in Japan?

The Working Mother Community was launched in May 2010 as a virtual, internal community. It evolved over the years and now it has 470 members. We have not only mothers, but also fathers, mothers-to-be, and even those who don’t have children yet as part of the community.  Members come from various locations and departments within IBM Japan. After nearly 10 years, the community is still active! The information and tips for work-life integration, child care, and career planning are constantly being exchanged.

This community serves as an important part of IBM Japan. It has even played a part in IBM Japan being awarded as a top-ranking company for working women. I even published a paper about the effectiveness of the agile approach for continuous community management last autumn.


Why did you choose IBM?

When I was a student, I saw that women in IBM Japan were very active and visible in the company. IBM seemed like a company without gender discrimination.


What inspires you?

People out there solving both business and social issues through their work inspire me!


What is one piece of advice you would give your early working professional self?

Take advantage of all the chances you will have to meet amazing IBMers and to be inspired by them.


What advice can you give allies who want to support diversity and inclusion in the workplace? Do you have examples of how this has worked for you?

Join any communities that you’re interested in to find advice and tips on being more inclusive in the workplace. I have found that IBMer communities are a great source of our knowledge for both work and life.


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