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Diane Gherson

Speaker; Former Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, IBM


Diane Gherson served as IBM’s Chief Human Resources Officer from 2013-2020, where she was responsible for the people and culture of IBM's 360,000 person global workforce. In 2020, IBM ranked #3 on Forbes World’s Best Employer 2020 list and #3 Best Managed Company by the WSJ/Drucker Institute. Gherson holds a U.S. patent in the field of predictive analytics, and has been widely recognized as a high-impact, technology savvy CHRO who has reinvented the HR profession for the digital era.

During her tenure as CHRO, Gherson redesigned all aspects of the company’s people agenda and management systems to support a massive shift in the business portfolio, shaping a culture of continuous learning, innovation, and agility. She championed the company’s global adoption of design thinking and agile methods at scale, as an example, driving a company-wide, co-created overhaul of performance management. She was also a trailblazer in infusing AI and automation across all the HR offerings, resulting in hundreds of millions of net benefits.

Gherson’s work has been profiled in Forbes, Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, Business Insider, Fortune, the Economist and Forbes. Gherson has also formed and led coalitions of CHROs to proactively advocate on Capitol Hill on social issues affecting employees, such as DACA, transgender inclusion, health care cost transparency, and addressing bias and health care data ownership. She is a founding member of Health Transformation Alliance.

In 2018, Gherson was named HR Executive of the Year by HR Executive, and was elected as Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources (NAHR), the highest honor granted in the human resource profession. In 2019 she was named in Business Insider's Top 100 People Changing the World of Business along with Elon Musk and Elizabeth Warren, and also by HR Executive magazine to their inaugural top 100 list of HR Tech Influencers.

Gherson serves on the Board of the National Academy of Human Resources and is an Executive Advisory Board Member at Semper Virens Venture Capital. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Trinity College, University of Toronto and a Master’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University. She is all but dissertated for a Ph.D. in Management at MIT.