Keynote - rhonda childress
IBM Fellow and Vice President - GTS Data Security and Privacy Officer
Rhonda Childress is an IBM Fellow Vice President - GTS Data Security and Privacy Officer. As one of only 25 female IBM Fellows in IBM's history, Ms. Childress has created many firsts in her 25-year IBM Career, including: first IBM Service’s female Master Inventor, first IBM Security Fellow, and first IBM Fellow from a Historically Black College or University. As an IBM Master Inventor, Ms. Childress has over 180 patent applications, resulting in 120 issued patents. Her patent ideas range from security, system management, IoT, mobile, aircraft, and various other topics. In 2014, she was honored by the State Bar of Texas IP Law as Co-Inventor of the Year.
Ms. Childress is a dedicated global champion for the advancement of women and other underrepresented minorities across the industry; coaching and mentoring many at multiple stages in their careers from children at school, to adults joining the workforce, to those pushing their careers to heights not thought possible previously. As a STEM (STEAM) advocate, Ms. Childress is passionate about engaging young women in this movement by demonstrating through technology outcomes. The annual IBM Academy of Technology STEM program is but one outreach program Ms. Childress spearheads. She was recognized by The Society of Women Engineers in 2016 with the Spark Award which honors an individual who has contributed to the advancement of women by mentoring those around them.
Ms. Childress graduated Magna Cum Laude from Kentucky State University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. When not tinkering with electrical components, doing home improvement, designing and sewing quilts to be auctioned for charities, she can be found trying to perfect her competition chili recipe.