Vice President and IBM Fellow - GTS Data Security and Privacy Officer, IBM
Inducted in 2018
Rhonda Childress is an IBM fellow vice president of GTS data security and privacy officer.
As one of only 25 female IBM fellows in IBM’s history, Rhonda has many firsts in her 25-year IBM including first IBM Service’s female master inventor, first IBM security fellow, and first IBM fellow from a historically black college or university. As an IBM master inventor, Rhonda has over 180 patent applications, which resulted in 120 issued patents. Her patent ideas range from security, system management, IoT, mobile, aircraft, and other topics.
Rhonda is a global champion for the advancement of women and other underrepresented minorities across the industry. She coaches and mentors many who are in multiple stages of their careers from children at school to adults joining the workforce to those pushing their careers to heights not thought possible previously.
As a STEM (STEAM) advocate, Rhonda is passionate about engaging young women in this movement by demonstrating through technology outcomes. The annual IBM Academy of Technology STEM program is but one outreach program Rhonda spearheads.
The Society of Women Engineers recognized Rhonda in 2016 with the Spark Award, which honors an individual who has contributed to the advancement of women by mentoring those around them. In 2014, she was honored by the State Bar of Texas IP Law as co-inventor of the Year.
Rhonda graduated magna cum laude from Kentucky State University with a bachelor’s in computer science.
When not tinkering with electrical components, doing home improvement, designing and sewing quilts to be auctioned for charities, she can be found trying to perfect her competition chili recipe.