I sat down to have lunch with Kyle Angelo, a recent transplant to the Staffing team at Microsoft. I imagined he’d risen through the ranks of recruiting, but quickly learned I was wrong. Intrigued by how someone who got a degree in Finance became a Staffing Director, I wanted to learn more.

I often hear about how people can ‘remake themselves’ at Microsoft. Well, here’s one guy who did it. But why – and how?

People who work at Microsoft are well-known for being ambitious, smart, and independent, but they are perhaps lesser known for being team builders, thought leaders and givers. I’m often told we don’t talk about how much people at Microsoft care. Someone like Kyle makes me feel a sense of hope for what we can accomplish when we all share the same mission.

In today’s story, Kyle shares his path up and across Microsoft. In his humility and shyness, Kyle won’t share with you that it was his smarts, curiosity, drive, and ownership of his career that has led to his success – or maybe he doesn’t realize it yet.

In Kyle’s words:

I came out of college with a major in Finance, but realized quickly it wasn’t my passion.  After a few years in another company, I knew if I was going to stay in corporate America, I wanted to work with the best and learn from people who would challenge me.

People rarely remember what you did, but they always remember how you treated them.

My Dad is a retired Fire Chief who served for about 30 years, and my Mother is socially conscious and very active in her kids’ lives. They both have high emotional intelligence and strong values. Growing up in the Fire Department family taught me a lot about camaraderie. I was amazed to see what an organization could achieve when it had a common mission and when each person had the other’s back.  I like to joke that I had a 10 year head start on my own personal leadership development. While health issues limited me from pursuing a career with the Fire Department, I committed to bring those same values and leadership behaviors to whatever I did.

Each day I try to stay true to those values by being present, holding a learner’s mindset, and balancing conviction with humility.  I make a lot of mistakes, but that’s part of the journey.

At first, new opportunities found me

I came to Microsoft WW Operations at the end of 2002 and stayed for 10 years, with six unique roles during that time. I was exposed to a broad cross-section of Microsoft, which accelerated my learning of how the company functions.  I’ve moved back and forth from independent contributor to a manager on several occasions. Each time I was given the opportunity to stretch into new areas.

Leaders helped me see my strengths

Throughout my brief career, a number of strong leaders and mentors have inspired me and helped me recognize my own strengths. The role in which I learned the most was one I turned down three times. I thought it was too big for me and I’d surely fail. However, I benefited from great sponsors who saw something in me that I didn’t.   At the closure of that role I was finally able to recognize my strengths and skills.

Then, I chose to drive

I began to look at my career differently. Rather than focus on what specific roles were available or what roles others thought I’d be good for, I began to focus on what excited me. I want to work with individuals – and organizations – to help them transcend perceived limitations and access true potential. This led me to a Chief of Staff role supporting an outstanding GM.  It was the first time I knew what it meant to love a job, with the added bonus of learning how to lead a complex organization.

Throughout my career, I’d seen the power a great hire can have on a team – and the equally frustrating result of the wrong person on the wrong team. After two-plus years as a Chief of Staff, I made the move to HR Staffing so I could make a difference in the way the company finds great people and creates candidate experiences.

The greatest gift

In my career, I have greatly benefited from sponsors, mentors and coaches who invested in me – and still do.  These are people who genuinely care about me and don’t pull any punches when I need to hear critical feedback or a get a kick in the pants!  That is perhaps the biggest gift I’ve received working for Microsoft: Amazing people are willing to impart their stories and experiences, sometimes subtly and other times more directly. Last year, I became a certified coach and my passion is working with emerging leaders. My daily intention is to be present and invest in others – just as so many have invested in me.

Leadership resources

What has inspired Kyle? He says he reads constantly and asks a lot of questions. Here are a few resources that have helped him:

Thoughts on giving back

I asked Kyle for any final thoughts. He says: “Next time you see a local fireman or police officer, say thank you, buy them a coffee, or better yet, ice cream.” And since he won’t tell you, I will: One of the ways Kyle gives back is by supporting non-profit organizations, including his sister’s charity, the Angel Wings Foundation (see photo with this story).

Stay tuned

A corporate career is all about successfully navigating change. Stay tuned for Kyle’s next blog post, where he shares the top three things he’s learned about making big career transitions.

If you’d like to begin your own inspired trajectory at Microsoft, apply at Microsoft Careers today.