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Strategies for Facilitating an Inclusive Workplace Culture (VIRTUAL)

December 13, 2023 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM (EST)


Organizations are increasingly taking action to create inclusive workplaces where people from all backgrounds and identities can achieve their full potential. Inclusive workplaces foster greater diversity, boost creativity and innovation, enhance employee morale, and promote a broad range of perspectives that contribute to a more productive work environment. This session will explore strategies and best practices for facilitating an inclusive workplace culture that have been successful at IBM. We will then explore how emerging technologies such as data science and AI can be leveraged to facilitate inclusive workplace strategies. Join William “Bill” Higgins, Deputy Chief Technologist, and Vice-President of watsonX Platform Engineering and Open Innovation, IBM Research and Benjamin Blackwell, Vice President of IBM’s Mainframe Solutions Sales for the America’s Public and Federal Markets, for this forward-thinking discussion!

Special thanks to Penn State University for assisting with putting this stunning session together!

Facilitators: William “Bill” Higgins and Benjamin Blackwell 

William “Bill” Higgins is the Deputy Chief Technologist, and Vice-President of watsonX Platform Engineering and Open Innovation for IBM Research. Bill is an IBM Distinguished Engineer who leads watsonx Platform Engineering and IBM’s Open Innovation efforts. As VP of IBM’s watsonx Platform engineering organization in IBM Research, Bill leads a team of experienced software engineer who, in collaboration with open-source partners at Red Hat, Hugging Face, PyTorch, and Ray, build IBM’s strategic AI training and inference platform components. As Chair of the IBM Open Innovation Community, Bill lead’s IBM’s 120,000-person global technical community and fosters community-driven innovations and giveback. Bill graduated from Penn State University in 2000 with a B.S. in Computer Science. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his family. 

Benjamin Blackwell is Vice President of IBM’s Mainframe Solutions Sales for the America’s Public and Federal Markets. He is a senior executive with over two decades of progressive experience in technical strategy, sales, growth initiatives, and business and talent development. As a visionary leader, Benjamin has a passion for transformative technology particularly how technology innovations impact business. He cares deeply about the intersection of technology and people, which naturally aligns with his experiences in Healthcare, State, Local, and Federal Government. Benjamin serves on the IBM Executive Diversity and Inclusion Council with a mission to amplify IBM’s D&I offerings. As an Out Executive, he is also an executive member of IBM’s LGBTQ+ Council where he is primarily concentrating on mentoring. Benjamin has supported numerous Business Resource Groups at IBM and is an in-demand diversity speaker. An inspiring professional with impeccable credentials, Benjamin is a trusted voice among peers and emerging executives. During the course of his career, Benjamin has worked in many Asian and European countries. Today, he makes his home in Raleigh, North Carolina which is his native State. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Virginia Commonwealth University with a concentration in Business and Marketing. Outside of work, Benjamin is passionate about creating and is known as a “fixer.” His creative efforts span from home renovation projects to personal improvement, but he is most uplifted by donating his time to support senior citizens and adoptive dog efforts. Benjamin believes that you can create your own destiny to reach your goals and he is open to conversation about his personal and professional experiences.  

Contact Information

Name: Technology Council of Central Pennsylvania | TCCP
Phone: 717-340-5621
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