Leadership and Innovation | Padma Chukka


"Unlock Innovation Without Hovering: Empower Teams, Embrace AI, and Adapt to the Evolving Workforce with Padma Chukka"

Ep. 294 - Dive into the mind of Padma Chukka, the dynamo behind the world's first financial services cloud, as she unravels her journey from IBM to becoming the Director of the Financial Services Cloud Ecosystem.

A staunch advocate for diversity and inclusion, she's mastered the art of empowering teams to innovate without micromanagement.

This episode is a goldmine of insights on everything from managing large remote teams and dealing with non-performers to embracing AI and understanding the evolving workforce. Don't miss Padma's invaluable tips for nurturing a culture of innovation, adapting to generational shifts in the workforce, and leveraging AI to transform your business. Ready to unlock your team's potential and ride the AI wave? Tune in now!

Key Takeaways:

• Master the art of guiding your team to fail, learn fast, and move forward without hovering.

• Empower your team to innovate without dictating their every move.

• Cultivate a thirst for learning to fuel your personal and professional growth.

• Seize the moment to harness AI and revolutionize your digital experience.

• Understand and adapt to the generational differences shaping the workforce.

“Taking care of your team and allowing them to figure things out sets the stage for innovation.” - Padma Chukka


In this episode, you will learn:

• Padma’s journey from IBM software to executive leadership and the skills that paved her way [01:30].

• The mentorship that taught her the value of taking risks, learning quickly, and progressing [06:29].

• Strategies for nurturing innovation without micromanaging your team [07:56].

• Effective approaches to addressing non-performance within your team [10:54].

• The importance of fostering a feedback-rich environment and a culture of excellence [12:25].

• The generational shifts in the workforce and the game-changing impact of millennials [17:34].

• The unique qualities of millennials and how they differ from previous generations [19:31].

• The emergence of Gen Z in the workforce and the crucial role of a learning mindset [21:05].

• Padma's key lessons from her journey of personal and professional expansion [24:57].

• The imperative to embrace AI as a catalyst for enhancing customer value and transforming your business [28:08].


Padma Chukka is currently the Executive Director of the IBM Financial Services Cloud.

Over the past 15 years, she has held executive leadership roles in enterprise strategy consulting, ecosystem partnerships, change management, digital transformation, and software engineering.

A pivotal career achievement occurred as the lead for the global cross-collaboration of the 2020 launch of the world's first financial services cloud by IBM. It was prominently featured in a Forbes article with BNP Paribas as an anchor tenant with a significant ecosystem of 30 ISVs, including Adobe, Fortinet, and VMware.

She is a passionate people manager who coaches and inspires her team to take risks and enjoys cultivating a high-performance culture. She has a flair for leading, finding opportunities, solving problems, influencing the process, coaching the teams, and bringing out the best in her teams.

Her business philosophy hinges on trust and personal responsibility, customer success from world-class service, and innovation. As a diversity and inclusion advocate, Padma was instrumental in creating the inaugural IBM program. She represented IBM at university programs, mentored students, and presented at engineering conferences for women.


Not so long ago, a girl from a very traditional family fought with her father. She wanted to get out of her country, stand on her own two feet, and figure out what she could achieve. She landed at Marist College, where she graduated with a Masters in Computer Science; after meeting and marrying a wonderful man.

After her graduation, she received three job offers and chose the one from IBM. When she had the nerve to ask her manager why she was offered the job without any manufacturing experience, he told her she got the job because of her propensity to learn and her potential.

She found ways to move around IBM, working on various transformational projects to challenge herself. She was blessed with two daughters, and she decided to pursue her MBA at NYU Stern while raising her young kids and integrating IBM's second-largest acquisition.

She loves to compete with herself more than with her competitors, knowing that she doesn’t have to limit her boundaries. So far, she has been capable of anything she sets her mind to yet is hungry to push her horizons.

She strolled through six continents, went to Punta Arenas, the city at the end of the world, and longingly looked at the seventh continent that she wants to set her foot on one day. She is a mentor, protégée, and not afraid to claim herself a feminist. She believes that she is made up of bits of all the people that she has met, and she is currently leading the world's first Financial Services Cloud Ecosystem for IBM.

Padma holds an MBA in Finance from NYU Stern School of Business and an MS in software design and development from Marist College.



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