Linda Yao on AI at the women in tech global conference 2024

    Motivation to Speak at the Conference

    Are you excited to speak at the Women in Tech Global Conference and what motivated you to join our community of 100,000 women in tech, minorities, and allies?

    Of course! I’ve been fortunate to have mentors and sponsors who have guided and shaped my career. I joined Lenovo because its global presence and multicultural leadership appealed to me. Yet we still have room to go as a tech industry, despite increased dialogue that champions diversity of thought and background. Forums like Women In Tech provide us the opportunities to connect, debate, and challenge ourselves to go beyond the dialogue. I’m looking forward to joining and hearing from a group of insightful, allied colleagues who are leading initiatives to truly unlock the potential of diversity in the workplace.

    Background and Inspiration

    Share with us about your background, your journey in tech, and what inspired you to develop your career in this direction?

    Although I studied maths and statistics in university, I am most excited when I can apply those skills to solve big, hairy, real-world business challenges. I started my career in New York with IBM doing global M&A, found myself in Bangalore with Boeing running data science, then landed in Hong Kong to build a services arm for Lenovo... My current adventure with Lenovo is teaching me a ton. I was employee #2 recruited to launch a new business unit, the Solutions and Services Group (SSG). From an intrapreneurial startup to a $7 billion company-within-a-company, we have become the "glue" that brings together the best of Lenovo’s products and solutions, from pocket to cloud. I’m now the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and head of strategy for SSG, and recently I started building our AI center of excellence.

    Why is the topic “Visionary Leadership: Shaping the Future of Business with AI and Emerging Technologies” important to you?

    Gen AI has never been as prominent as it is now, and it is here to stay. Customers and colleagues are eager to use AI to become more efficient, more disruptive, and even more sustainable. At Lenovo, I am building our AI services practice, so this topic resonates with me especially strongly. I’ve heard from many organizations that, while they and their boards are hungry for AI, they are unsure how to scale AI investment quickly, deploy AI technology responsibly, and communicate AI's benefits transparently. Lenovo's AI services practice provides the methodologies and proven expertise to help organizations create a strong foundation for AI, implement POCs and solutions, and transform the way they evaluate AI initiatives. Our goal is to generate business results from AI and empower those business owners to have meaningful conversations around it -- with their employees, their customers, their C-Suite executives, and their board of directors.

    Who could you advise to attend the Women in Tech Global Conference and why?

    As a woman who has worked in several industries and lived in cities large and tiny, I love events that bring women and allies together on our own terms. With topics ranging from change management to cybersecurity and even wellbeing, I think anyone would stand to benefit from the discussions taking place, whether they are working in tech or not. In fact, I love fighter jets, closing deals, and a third cup of coffee: let's talk about that!