'Embrace change': Advice from IBM's Lexie Komisar

yFinance Features

“The only thing we can do is embrace change,” Lexie Komisar, IBM’s Global Head of Strategic Partnerships & Startup Ecosystems, told Yahoo Finance. “How can we use technology as a catalyzer for change?”

Komisar’s career momentum shows no signs of stopping. She has been recognized as Forbes’ 2017 30 Under 30 in Tech, Crain's 2018 Business 40 Under 40, and LinkedIn's Next Wave as a Top Professional Under 35 in Technology.

One part of Komisar’s job deals with change on a global scale, including how entrepreneurs in fields ranging from health care to education can employ IBM’s artificial intelligence (AI) platform Watson.

“I think about how can we bring this enterprise innovation-ready technology to entrepreneurs around the world to people who are solving some of these really challenging problems for society,” she said.

Lexie Komisar speaking at Yahoo Finance
Lexie Komisar speaking to Yahoo Finance. (Source: Yahoo Finance)

‘Create a larger pipeline for leadership’

It’s not all about macro-level change for Komisar.

“My other really big point of pride in my career is being a leader and being a people manager,” she said.

A recent study at IBM polled 2,300 executives and professionals globally, and found that within their respective companies, the progress made in hiring practices has not yet translated to advancing women in leadership positions.

Closing this gap is a major focus for Komisar, and that starts with changing people’s minds at the individual level.

“A lot of companies today actually have very progressive policies and there's a lot of women within them,” Komisar said. “But one of the key issues is how do we actually create a larger pipeline for leadership.”

Lexie Komisar speaking at G4
Lexie Komisar speaking at G4

Komisar recalled something that IBM CEO Ginni Rometty once said: “Growth and comfort never coexist.” She took that to heart.

“I think a lot of times, regardless of gender, when businesspeople are going through uncomfortable situations, we sometimes lean on fear,” she said. “But the moment we lean on growth, is this incredible moment, because that's what career is about; it's about evolving.”

Komisar co-leads the Women@IBM New York group and co-founded The LadyBoss Collective in 2015. She draws from her own career success to give advice to young professionals in tech.

“It's not just about a role, it's not so literal,” she said. “It's about how do you actually wake up and have a larger vision for yourself and the work that you do and get the opportunity to express that.”

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