Frances West

Former Chief Accessibility Officer of IBM, Founder of FrancesWestCo, & Author

Frances West
  • First female technologist to speak on digital inclusion at the United Nations and testified to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee
  • Author of Authentic Inclusion™ Drives Disruptive Innovation, a “timely and actionable” book featured at 2019 CES and SXSW
  • An inspirational speaker who brings unique perspectives based on intersectionality of being a first-generation immigrant and women in technology
  • Honorary Doctorate of Science degree recipient from the University of Massachusetts, Boston for trailblazing work in accessibility research innovation and government policy and standards

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Frances West is an internationally-recognized thought leader, author, inspirational speaker, strategy advisor, and a woman in technology trailblazer known for her work in innovation, technology, and business transformation.

She is the founder of FrancesWestCo, a global strategy advisory company focused on working with organizations to operationalize digital inclusion as a business and technology imperative.

She is also the author of the book, Authentic Inclusion™ Drives Disruptive Innovation. The book draws on her unique personal background and global business experience in technology innovation—from her personal journey as a first-generation, no-English speaking immigrant to her professional path as one of the first women in technology field as well as IBM’s first Chief Accessibility Officer. 

Frances’ book was recently featured at both the 2019 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) and South By SouthWest (SXSW) for its innovative thinking and relevance to the inclusion challenges facing organizations today, especially in the tech sector. Her “human first” and business imperative approach defined by her Authentic Inclusion™ (AI) blueprint has been cited as “the AI needed by all AI”.

Frances keynotes at global technology conferences, such as Mobile World Congress, CES, SXSW, World Congress of Information Technology, and at government policy forums such as the United Nations, US Department of Labor, and China Disabled Person’s Federation. Her work and interviews have been cited in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Huffington Post, IT Magazine, Big Think, Le Monde, BBC News, and China Daily.

Frances currently serves on multiple boards including World Institute on Disability, Knowbility, National Braille Press, and the Massachusetts chapter of International Women’s Forum. She is also a strategy advisor to start-ups, such as Aira, and to G3ict, a UN-affiliated non-profit focusing on digital inclusion and China Accessibility Product Alliance. Frances received an honorary doctorate of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts, Boston in recognition of her work in accessibility, research, digital inclusion, and UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Frances was born in Taiwan and educated in Hong Kong and the US.

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Speaker Video

Authentic Inclusion: What is it and why it matters? | Frances West | TEDxMountainViewCollege

Authentic Inclusion™ Drives Disruptive InnovationAuthentic Inclusion™ Drives Disruptive Innovation is an inspirational and insightful talk proposing new ways to view inclusion as human-first and a strategic business imperative to drive disruptive innovation.

Frances West draws on her unique personal background and business experience in technology innovation—from her personal journey as a first-generation, non-English speaking immigrant to her professional path as a woman in technology and IBM’s first Chief Accessibility Officer. The result is a candid and inspiring talk that offers leaders the blueprint to achieve disruptive innovation through authentic inclusion. 

Making A Difference By Being Different: My Life, My Journey. Frances takes the audience on a fascinating personal journey of a non-English speaking, first-generation immigrant from Taiwan. She shares the story of how she came to the US to pursue the freedom to learn, became a US citizen, and eventually a woman in technology trailblazer and IBM's first Chief Accessibility Officer. Along the way, she describes how she experienced diversity and inclusion challenges and how she used the lessons learned for herself, her work, and the world.

Why Human-First In Technology? Its Impact On The Future of Work, Society, & Humanity. We are experiencing disruptive changes and technology's impact on humankind is one of the most profound. Our work, lives, and humanity will depend on technology and innovations that are inclusive for everyone. Frances West articulates why adopting a human-first approach through the Authentic Inclusion™ blueprint, an enterprise-wide strategic framework that operationalizes digital inclusion so differentiation, talent, and market expansion can be scaled and sustained. 

Authentic Inclusion™, Fueling The Work of The FutureThe job market globally is going through disruptive changes due to several mega-forces, one of them being technology. Frances West provides the audience with insight on how these forces will drive tremendous change in the work of the future. Frances discusses the disruptive opportunity that senior leaders in business and industry have to shift their thinking and embrace a new approach that will drive innovation, create new employment with new roles, new skills, and new opportunities for people with all abilities.

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Authentic Inclusion: Drives Disruptive Innovation

Authentic Inclusion: Drives Disruptive Innovation