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Speaker Bio

Shelmina Babai Abji is a TEDx speaker, board member, former vice president at IBM, and an angel investor. She started her career as a software engineer and then moved into sales and sales leadership, leading global teams to deliver over $1B in annual revenues and serving as a key decision-maker in hiring and promoting hundreds of professionals.


She received extensive leadership training at IBM, Harvard University, and UCLA. As a global empowerment speaker, Abji has addressed attendees at companies, conferences, and colleges that include Google, Edward Jones, National Center for Women in Technology, Black women in STEM, and Harvard.


If you’re a woman, especially a woman of color, you know this already: You face unique challenges and obstacles as you work to scale the corporate ladder. From not seeing other faces in the room that look like you to dealing with the stereotypes and (often unconscious) biases in the workplace, you may know what to do to succeed, but not how to get it done in this environment. Show Your Worth shows you how.


In pages that are both inspirational and practical, Shelmina Babai Abji speaks directly to professional women—especially women of color—about how the power of being intentional and strategic can help transform the headwinds you face into much-needed tailwinds.


Shelmina comes from a small town in Tanzania which did not have education past 10th grade. Driven by her desire to lift herself and her family out of poverty, she was first in her family to graduate college.

When she started her career, there was no one in the room that looked like her. She was afraid to speak up in meetings and underestimated her worth.

There was no books written for women like her to achieve career success.

Through the many challenges and opportunities she came across, she discovered a blueprint that transformed her career and enabled her to become one of the highest ranking woman of color at IBM while raising her two children as a single mother since they were 4 and 2.

She started her career as a Software Engineer and then moved to Sales and sales leadership. She has led global teams and various businesses in multiple sectors. She has delivered over $1B in revenues annually and has consistently maintained high client satisfaction as well as team morale. She was a decision-maker in hiring and promoting hundreds of professionals.

At the peak of her career, she left IBM to share her blueprint to help other women transform their careers and emerge as leaders.

Through mentoring thousands of women, speaking at corporations, colleges, and conferences globally, she realized that women are still struggling with the same challenges she faced during her career. They are ambitious and looking for ways to achieve career success.

They inspired her to write a book. Her ultimate goal is to create gender equality in leadership roles.

Shelmina has degrees in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse, and Mathematics from Wadia College in Pune, India. As part of IBM’s top talent, she received extensive leadership training at IBM and Harvard.

Shelmina serves on the advisory board of Girl Up, a global leadership development initiative by UN foundation positioning girls to be leaders in the movement for gender equality. She previously served on the board of TiE-Seattle, Bellevue College, and Young Women Empowered.

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