Shaw-chin Ioana Chiu, Managing Client Partner, State of California, IBM

Shaw-chin Ioana Chiu is a full-time technology executive, published author, mom, community builder, and avid athlete. She applies her 18+ years of extensive professional experience in global business transformation, digital innovation with emerging technologies, such as AI, analytics, and blockchain, process re-engineering, and organizational/change management, to improve how the public is served. She has supported clients in the government, healthcare, life sciences, consumer, and retail industries spanning North America, Europe, APAC, and Latin America. She is a best-selling published author of a book dedicated to the power of working mothers called “Integrating Me in Motherhood: A Mom's Guide to Preventing Burnout and Unleashing Her True Essence.”

She was recognized by Women We Admire as one of the Top 50 Women Leaders of Sacramento in 2024 and is a two-time recipient of IBM’s North America Innovation Delivery Excellence Award (IDEA). Some of her notable innovations included infusing design thinking methodologies to drive more human-centricity through “IBM Garages,” helping clients move to and successfully adopt Cloud-based technologies, and IBM’s blockchain-based COVID digital credential platform.

Recently, in an exclusive interview with CXO Outlook Magazine, Shaw-chin shared the major takeaways from her best-selling book, insights on gender equality and inclusion in tech, personal sources of inspiration, the secret sauce behind her success, future plans, and much more. The following excerpts are taken from the interview.

Hi Shaw-chin. What do you love the most about your current role?

I play a key role in implementing GoodTech solutions that enhance the lives of individuals like my mom. She is an immigrant, a high school graduate with English as her second language and has limited proficiency in technology.

Can you please share the major takeaways from your best-selling book, “Integrating Me in Motherhood: A Mom’s Guide to Preventing Burnout and Unleashing Her True Essence”?

Becoming a mom is becoming an entirely new person, which requires redefining what matters most to you and your life, resetting expectations of yourself and those around you, and reimagining a future that integrates motherhood with the many other things that drove meaning to your life prior to motherhood, such as work, hobbies or personal interests, caring for loved ones, being a spouse, or giving back to your community.

Take care of yourself first so that you can bring your best self to those around you.

Make awareness second nature so you can have a better sense of what your capabilities or limitations may be at any given moment, thus enhancing your ability to communicate your needs.

Ask for help – It truly does take a village to raise a child, especially as you work to balance the many facets, outside of motherhood, that drive meaning to your life.

Your time and energy are your most valuable assets, so prioritize how you invest them.

Know yourself, especially the value you bring to the things and people around you.

Always have a growth mindset to continuously learn from what happens to you, good and bad.

Motherhood is only one of the many things that drive meaning to your life, thus fulfillment. Embrace the multiple dimensions of your life.

Play is the fertilizer for brain growth, creativity and innovation, which is why young children do this a lot. So, make time for it.

To truly help working moms be successful, organizations need to provide the proper childcare structures and societal beliefs need to shift to embrace the diversity of thinking and value that working moms bring to the workforce, as well as the need for partners to support each other equally in child care.

What are your thoughts on gender equality and inclusion? Do you think there is a gender bias in your industry?

Although we’ve made significant progress to aid the growth of working moms in their careers, I think we’re still a generation behind seeing true equality in the expectations that society has for working moms vs working dads. For reference, IBM and Chief published a study in 2023 called “Women in leadership: Why perception outpaces the pipeline – and what to do about it,” that found that only 41% of male managers agreed that their organization’s leadership believed that women with children were just as dedicated to jobs as women without children. What’s even more interesting is that organizations identified as gender equity leaders report 19% higher revenue growth than others studied. American society has made huge strides to ensure working moms have the proper time off to give birth, recover, and bond, but working dads don’t yet have the same level of support to support their partners and newborns. There is a lot that needs to change in organizational policies, childcare support, especially for working moms, and societal expectations of women vs men in childcare.

Looking back now, what is one thing you wish you knew at the beginning of your career?

Practice vulnerability. Life throws a lot of curveballs your way often. Every setback is a blessing in disguise, so make every moment a growth one.

Is there a particular person you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are?

My parents. They sacrificed a lot to get us to the U.S. so we can have access to more opportunities that they didn’t growing up in American Samoa. They left behind their loved ones, careers, and everything they knew for a better life for us. They are one of the reasons why I drive so hard every day.

What does the term “authentic leadership” mean to you?

Being yourself fosters genuine connections with those you work with, work for, work for you, and your clients. These connections drive outcomes when you’re not around.

What are some of your passions outside of work? What do you like to do in your time off?

I spend time with my young daughter, husband, family and friends. I’m working on my second book, exploring the modern family variations. I’m an avid cross-format athlete, thus I work out almost daily. And, I love helping other moms, so I’m either organizing community events, on a podcast, or speaking at an event. Finally, I enjoy playing piano. These are all in addition to the basics of getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and investing in self-care.

You were recently honored and recognized at the second spot for Top Women Leaders of Sacramento for 2024 among other awards and accolades over the years. Our readers would love to know the secret sauce behind our success.

Always think big and have the patience to build towards it brick by brick. Find work that aligns best with your passions, because then it’s not work, but a daily dose of happiness.

What is your biggest goal? Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

A heart-centered mom who ensures she is present for her family; a business leader who at least doubled the growth of her business; and a health and wellness leader who has made a significant impact on the lives of millions of moms.

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