Women at IBM

Ellie Shares Her Journey to Becoming an Amazing IBMer

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(4 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 Ellie Lee, one of IBM’s youngest Master Inventors and currently a Trainee Patent Attorney.

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!


Hi Ellie! Tell us about yourself!

My name is Ellie and I am a Master Inventor and Trainee Patent Attorney at IBM. My background is in Physics. I currently work in the UK at the lovely Hursley site. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have had an exciting career journey in the last four years. This includes working as an engineer, designer, researcher, and now a trainee patent attorney. My work has produced over twenty patents and academic publications, which is why in 2019, I became one of the youngest Master Inventors in IBM history!


What set you on the road to where you are?

I’ve always loved the application of science and technology, especially the impact it has on the day-to-day processes of the modern world. After I graduated from university, I wanted to join a company that would allow me to explore the different ways of solving these challenges. I first joined IBM as a part of IBM’s summer internship in 2014. I then came back as a Graduate Software Engineer in 2015, and haven’t looked back!


What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career and how have you tackled them?

Throughout my career, especially as I was starting off, imposter syndrome is something I’ve constantly worked through. In tech, it’s easy to feel like you don’t know enough, no matter how much you learn and grow. I’ve learned to accept that it’s impossible to know EVERYTHING about a piece of technology or an area of expertise, especially since technology is constantly changing. It’s ok to say that you don’t know something. I now see it as an amazing opportunity to continuously grow.


Why did you choose IBM?

IBM has always had a positive stance on diversity and inclusion, which was very important to me. The fact that I’m a woman and someone from an ethnic minority has never hindered my career progression or gotten in the way of my day to day life at IBM. I really value the fact that I can come into work every day as myself and be comfortable knowing that I am fully accepted and supported.


What inspires you?

Knowing that I am contributing to something larger than myself inspires me. That’s why I specialized in working on innovation projects that focused on health and humanitarian causes. I felt I was having a positive impact on the world in my own, small way.


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

Be bold and don’t be afraid to fail. Every step taken is an opportunity to learn and grow, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time.


What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

It’s often easy to forget what happened in very recent history to get where we are now. Countless women have fought for our rights and have contributed to every aspect of our modern life that it’s important to take time to celebrate and appreciate them.


What advice can you give allies who want to support diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

It’s sometimes difficult to fully understand what the other side is going through, so allies who are available to listen and truly hear what we’re saying is what I’ve personally appreciated the most. Sometimes, it makes a world of a difference just to know what there are people that support you when you share your experiences. Even something as simple as turning up to a diversity event to show your support is really appreciated.


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