The most challenging and satisfying elements are leveraging what we do at Microsoft to make a positive difference in the world. It’s hugely satisfying, for example, to be in a position where over the last three years Microsoft has made over AUD$120 million worth of software donations to Australian charities and not-for-profits, helping to ensure the benefits of technology can be shared by all.That said, while we do live in this wonderful age of technological innovation, not everyone has same level of opportunity and ability to share in the benefits. Take education as an example. Where a student lives shouldn’t make a difference to the education opportunities that he or she has access to. However, the reality is that if you are a student living in a remote part of Australia, your education experience is going to be different to a student who lives in one of our major cities or urban centres. With technology, we can close the gap and give remote students better access to those opportunities that are enjoyed by their peers in the city. We need to find a way to spread that access to everyone – whether you’re a student, a teacher, a health care worker or small business owner.
I’m self-taught – for me, the experience of life is the best teacher and best qualification you can have. That said, getting a formal qualification is great way of expanding your knowledge base and skills.
As I write this, it’s school holidays in Australia and I have one of my daughters here with me at work, and there are other kids in the office too. To me that’s one of the great aspects about being a female working at Microsoft: it’s a company that supports my needs as a working mum. Bigger picture, the ICT industry is one where you can bring your personal ambition and passions together with an industry to make a huge difference in the world. It also offers independence and economic freedom for women to go anywhere and do anything. Finally, have belief in yourself and your ability to be extraordinary. It can be tempting to be constrained by history, processes and systems but have the courage to question the status quo and go after your dreams.