Our 2021 Better Together event inspired community in a remote format

Every year the Bay Area Women at Microsoft (W@M) employee resource group host an event during Women’s History Month that brings together women in support of career and personal growth. Reasonably titled Better Together, the event connects local women across Microsoft, its customers, and partners in an informal setting to network, ask personal questions, and learn from each other.

Over 150 women and allies gathered online for the 2021 Better Together event to hear about empathy in action and caregiving as a strategic priority. These themes generated conversation around authentic inclusion, compassion in the workplace, and work both during and post-pandemic. Our own Shaili Desai and Cheri Devlin moderated the event and encouraged participants to network, even in a fully remote setting, to create lasting and meaningful connections.WAM Hosts Cheri and Shaili

(Microsoft’s Shaili Desai and Cheri Devlin hosting the event to ensure participants took away lasting connections and insights)

Special guest Hang Black, VP of Revenue Enablement at Juniper Networks and author of “Embrace your Edge,” kicked off the event with a keynote about accessing influential networks and embracing the competitive edge offered by diversity in our workplace. Black shared that minority and women leaders should follow three principles in their career – reflect, recalibrate, reset. She noted these would ultimately help them break the glass ceiling and create positive momentum for reaching their goals. The audience left inspired to embrace the strength of others and focus on the power of the collective.

Katy Brown, West Region VP of Sales and Microsoft sponsor for the event, joined Black after her session to discuss access, empathy, and workplace issues. The conversation addressed the rapidly evolving political and social environment while calling attention to a severe lack of awareness for compassion and inclusion in the workplace. The two leaders also discussed the reality of privilege, non-inclusive behavior, and how we all should embrace the difference to generate greater impact.WAM Katy Brown and Hang Black

(Katy Brown and Hang Black discussing everything from access, to empathy, inclusion and privilege) 

Moderated by Heather Ainsworth, CEO of Workable Concept, the closing discussion covered a wide range of topics top of mind for women leaders in our current work environment. The panel brought together a cross-disciplinary group of leaders, including Joyce Kim, Genesys CMO; Erica Schultz, President of Field Operations, Confluent; Amy Coleman, CVP of HR at Microsoft; and Paula Delaney, VP of Finance at VMware. Collectively they addressed the key themes of empathy in action and caregiving as a priority. The panelists shared personal stories of transformation and vulnerability that inspired the audience to “caregiver yourself” during this time.WAM Panel

(The 2021 Better Together event panel, moderated by Heather Ainsworth, CEO of Workable Concept, sharing their lived experiences as women leaders so that participants could learn from their stories)

If you’d like to watch the 2021 Better Together event, the full session can be found here: https://youtu.be/kxonppC_HXY

Learn more about Microsoft’s diverse and inclusive culture at Microsoft.com/diversity.

If you are interested in joining  our diverse community of professionals in the Bay Area, opportunities can be found here: https://aka.ms/MicrosoftBayAreaCareers