#NERD10: Celebrating Women’s History Month and the Next 10 Years of Microsoft R&D

2017 marks ten years that Microsoft has hosted one of its Global Development Centers in Cambridge. The Microsoft New England Research & Development Center, fondly referred to as NERD, is celebrating its anniversary with stories and events year-round. Please join us in the celebration on the ground and online using #NERD10.

Happy Women’s History Month! What I appreciate most about Microsoft’s New England Research & Development Center (NERD) is our spirit of inclusion and commitment to diversity. I have been working in software for well over 20 years now, and I have never been more optimistic about our ability to change the face of this industry than I am today, in part  because of the energy and work I see happening here at NERD.

Creating a truly inclusive culture is not easy. Diversity by its very nature brings varied perspectives and debate. At NERD, we believe that those are the moments when we learn the most and where the creative spark of innovation lies. A few examples: This month we are partnering with our Kendall Square neighbor Akamai to discuss “Being Bold for Change” in celebration of International Women’s Day. On March 23, our Blacks & Africans at Microsoft (BAM) community is hosting a Minority Students Day of mentoring and discussion.

I started my Microsoft career at headquarters in Redmond, WA and spent many years there. In 2012, I relocated to New England to lead the Microsoft Intune PM team. I love working in Kendall Square and appreciate the entrepreneurial spirit here. We are surrounded by the best in academia, research, innovation, and technology. I can pop next door to enjoy a leadership class on applied neuroscience at MIT Sloan School of Management or head downstairs to our NERD conference center to join a Codess event with women coders. Not to mention, so many more places to eat and grab a cocktail have opened in the last few years. (My favorite is Rosemary’s Baby at Za/EVOO. Yum!)

This month also marks my one year anniversary as the General Manager of NERD—a title that always makes me laugh a little. I have bold aspirations for Microsoft in our area. In December, we started demolition to completely renovate and revitalize our offices at 1 Memorial Drive in Cambridge. Our goal is to create an environment that inspires our engineers—and makes Microsoft the best place to work and build their careers. We will have a Microsoft Garage space in our conference center, which will include collaborative, creative spaces as well as Maker and Advanced Maker labs where people can build, tinker, and prototype to bring their ideas to life. Our space at 1 Memorial will be open, bright, and highlight the amazing technology Microsoft has to offer.

Feb 2nd Women in Data Science “Hacking Bias” Ideation session @ NERD

At Microsoft NERD, we are home to an incredible group of researchers, engineers, and professionals. Microsoft NERD engineers and data scientists work on Azure Machine Learning, Office 365 security, Office collaboration, Skype, Xamarin, my own Microsoft Intune, and much more.  Under the leadership of Jennifer Chayes, we host Microsoft Research Lab-New England which is known for its interdisciplinary approach to research by our researchers, as well as a large group of postdocs, interns, and distinguished visiting faculty members.

Take a look at the predictions from the women of Microsoft Research on what to expect in 2017—hmm, I think some predictions already came true. I encourage you to explore our job openings, and to the students out there, we offer a number of internship opportunities right here in Cambridge.  I hope you’ll review the opportunities that exist here and consider joining us as we build our secret sauce, a spirit of inclusion and a commitment to diversity that makes me proud to be a leader here.  

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