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Shelmina Abji

Empowerment speaker, former IBM Vice President

Shelmina Babai Abji is a global empowerment speaker, a former IBM Vice President, distinguished alumni, board member, an angel investor and an advisor to C-suite executives.

Having achieved success beyond anything she could have ever imagined growing up, she left her career as one of IBM’s highest-ranking woman of colour to accelerate the success of other girls and women. Her insights and life journey have empowered thousands of girls and women to unlock their power and potential. 

She has spoken at many corporations, conferences and universities including Google, IBM, Edward Jones, WITHOrg, AAHOA, GirlUp, NCWIT, Universities of Wisconsin, Washington, Oregon and  Harvard University. 

Shelmina was born in Tanzania into a family with very strong values and limited material wealth. She had to leave home at 15 to obtain higher education and was the first person in her family to obtain a college degree. Her education was her passport out of poverty.

Recognizing her power of thought and choices, she turned every challenge into an opportunity for growth. She balanced a highly successful career with raising her children as a single mother since they were 2 and 4. She has led global teams, businesses which delivered over $1B annually and has been a decision-maker or an influencer in hiring and promoting hundreds of professionals.

Shelmina has degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics. She started her career as a software developer and then moved into sales and sales leadership. As part of IBM’s top talent, she has received extensive leadership training at IBM, Harvard and UCLA.

Shelmina serves on the advisory board of Girl Up founded by United Nations Foundation which engages girls to stand up for girls globally, empowering each other and changing our world. Shelmina serves on the board of TiE-Seattle: world’s largest non-profit global organization that fosters entrepreneurship.

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