When Rodney Williams’ career at Microsoft took him from Seattle to the company’s São Paulo office in Brazil, he remembers seeing “a lot of black people all around me, but I didn’t see them in my meetings. I didn’t see them eating in top restaurants across the table from me.”
When he took speaking engagements, he got looks of surprise after being introduced as the chief operation officer (COO) of Microsoft Brazil and walking on stage. “A black COO is just not something you see over here.”
“Where are all the black people?” he wondered.
Williams decided to do something to build a more diverse Microsoft Brazil. Over the past two years, he worked with others to start creating different avenues toward that goal, most notably through an employee group called Blacks at Microsoft (BAM).
He praises Microsoft for giving employees leeway to establish programs like BAM.
“Microsoft gives me the opportunity to do something to drive impact and do my part to change the world,” he says. “I hope we never lose that.”
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Microsoft News Center Staff