Dr. Shue-Jane Thompson holds the prestigious positions of Vice President and Sr. Partner for Security Strategy and Growth Service Line at IBM Global Business Services Sector and Distinguished Industry Leader at IBM. She has over 30 years of professional experience including six years at IBM, bringing extensive career experiences in consulting for both public and private sectors globally.
After Dr. Thompson came to IBM she led cybersecurity practice for their U.S. Government Group providing services across government agencies, including the Department of Defense, civil and intelligence agencies. She then was promoted to manage global cybersecurity and now oversees IBM’s global consulting security services across 170 countries.
These impressive credentials and experience are enough to inspire others, but there is more to Dr. Thompson’s story. She was born in Taiwan and came to the U.S. to earn her Ph.D. degree, where living in Ft Collins, CO was difficult because of the culture change. Despite the challenges, Dr. Thompson thrived and unhesitatingly says she is proud to be a professional Asian-American in the U.S. with an accomplished career.
Following a philosophy that says, “Be the first to light a candle in the dark,” Dr. Thompson’s optimism and courage were keys to success. She developed a strong network saying, “I owe a lot of folks who have been my mentors and coaches. I owe my peers and my followers. A strong professional network added everything to my career because I cannot do everything alone.” This is how she developed her courage as a leader who helps people move forward – interacting with people. She is not afraid of challenges, including making first-of-its-kind decisions. Dr. Thompson inspires people to do their very best, raising their emotional IQ and helping them perform at the highest level.
Dr. Thompson’s leadership qualities also include authenticity and the ability to relate to people. She believes that making people feel valued and connected to the organization is absolutely crucial for employee engagement. “A good leader leverages people’s strengths and helps them compensate for their weaknesses. Leaders must remember that everyone is human.” Dr. Thompson also believes that to engage them, leaders must communicate and connect with people in a way they understand.
As an Asian American woman in a high-tech industry leading global security consulting, Dr. Thompson has faced challenges, including stereotyping which led to people challenging her knowledge and abilities. Instead of being offended, the challenges energized her to learn, prepare, and do even better. “I don’t think people making assumptions about others is unusual. We often assume a lot of things about differences on people. The key to success is how you cherish everyone’s uniqueness including your own. Endorse your identity and be proud of it. Speak up for yourself. Embrace your culture.” Her strategy for addressing challenges is being adaptive, being ready, and being committed.
Dr. Thompson has a deep belief in the need for more women in cybersecurity. She says, “Women have such fine minds and security is very complex. The fine minds and the feminine side of their instincts help in the field of cybersecurity.” She proposes to start the education early. Her advice is to help girls learn not to fear being in the technology area and appreciate the exciting challenges. Starting cybersecurity education early is the way to get more women in the cybersecurity industry.
Dr. Thompson has a message for the Asian-American and Asian communities. “If I can do it, you can do it too. You can succeed in the U.S. or any other country. Cherish your identity and heritage and be confident. Relentlessly contribute to all communities beyond Asian- American communities.” Dr. Thompson has an unfailing optimism about the ability of technology to do good and foster a better future for mankind. She is an inspiration for every Asian American, woman, and girl who wants to make a difference in the world, whether it is through a career in technology or some other industry. What matters is stepping up to lead, being a team member, and uniting in the effort to utilize knowledge and skills to improve lives and the world in which people live.