IBM Watson Women in AI event recap

Here at IBM Watson, we are proud of our commitment to inclusion and diversity. Our clients, throughout their industries, are achieving success with AI and a lot of the success is attributed to the women in leadership positions.

Yesterday, we announced IBM’s list of 40 Women in AI leaders. 30 of these women are joining us in New York today to participate in the New York Times Summit and will receive honor and recognition from us during a special IBM reception and ceremony.

Be sure to follow us on @IBMWatson for live social updates, in addition to our live blog below:

Women in AI Recognition by IBM Event-June 12

The honorees joined us today at our New York office at Astor Place to participate in a special IBM session for women, produced by women. IBM Watson CMO, Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek, kicked off the ceremony, and General Manager of Watson AI Beth Smith hosted a panel session on Reinventing Customer Care.

Inclusion is at the forefront of IBM’s history. Take a look at some of our notable programs that we highlighted today:


Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), span grades 9 to 14 and bring together the best elements of high school, college, and career. This new and innovative education model was co-developed by IBM working together with educators, policymakers and elected officials. P-TECH will grow from 1 school in 2011 to more than 85 schools in 2018.

IBM’s Tech Re-Entry Program

IBM’s Tech Re-Entry Program is for talented technical professionals who took a break from the workforce and are looking to restart their careers. This paid apprenticeship enables professionals to work on projects that match their expertise, interests, and abilities.

IBM Named one of 2019’s Best Companies for Multicultural Women

IBM earned a spot on the NAFE Top Companies for Executive Women, and has been named by Working Mother as one of the 100 Best Companies list for 33 years. It has also earned spots on the Best Companies for Multicultural Women lists, the Diversity Best Practices Inclusion Index and the Best Companies for Dads list.

Notable quotes from Day One Speakers:

Michelle Peluso, Senior Vice President of Digital Sales & Global Marketing Officer, IBM:

“We are living in an era where every company has become a technology company, and where every leader is putting tech innovation at the center of their agenda.

But what does that really mean for all of us?

A couple of things.

First, it means it’s never been more important to consider who we need to build the technologies that will change our lives.

Second, it means we need individuals who are not only technical experts but who are intellectually curious and unafraid to take the path untaken.

And third, it means that trust and responsibility are absolutely paramount.

The thing is, there simply isn’t enough of this kind of work being led by women in the field, and we know how critical it is to ensure the AI we are building works for all of us, not just a few of us.”

New York Times Summit Day 2-June 13

IBM Watson is a sponsor of this year’s New York Times Summit in Brooklyn. In addition to our sponsored sessions, we invited our honorees to attend the entire conference to enable more networking and learning.

At the summit, IBM’s Be Equal booth allowed for attendees to pledge their individual and company commitment to diversity and inclusion.

With Day 2 of the New York Times Summit, IBM sponsored a session titled, “Notes on Leadership: Collaboration and Connection.” In this session, Marie Wieck–  General Manager, Blockchain IBM Industry Platforms, spoke about how blockchain is a collaborative technology that helps keep businesses inclusive and collaborative.

“AI changes all jobs. Blockchain changes all processes. Every business is digitizing. Every business is a tech business. Any user is a tech user. You have to try it. You have to pilot to see how it changes your business, or someone else will.”

Will AI be better women in tech?

According to Wieck, blockchain equalizes access to information and process. For Wieck, anything that equalizes access, by definition makes diversity in thought. “It’s not going to make a difference if people don’t use it and embrace it as a fundamental change.”


We hope you enjoyed our live recap of our Women in AI leadership event and live coverage from the New York Times Summit. We’ll continue to provide content that highlights our mission for diversity and inclusion. Stay tuned.