Celebrating inclusion at Microsoft: Black History Month and Lunar New Year

Photo of three people in celebration of Black History Month

Here at Microsoft, we’re proud to amplify the voices of those who are working to build a better, more inclusive future.

Our employee resource groups (ERGs) are one way that we build a supportive community across diverse groups within Microsoft. These groups connect our teams across identities to provide career development, networking, and mentorship, while also hosting activities that promote community engagement and cultural awareness.

In celebration of Black History Month and Lunar New Year, we’re highlighting three of our local ERG chapters:

➡️ BAM, the ERG for Black and African employees at Microsoft
➡️ GLEAM, the ERG for Global LGBTQI+ Employees and Allies at Microsoft
➡️ AZN (Representing 17 Asian ethnicity groups), the ERG for Asian employees at Microsoft

Here are some of the events we had the opportunity to host and attend in February. Our event hosts shared their knowledge, journeys, and the challenges they face to help build a better world — today, and for generations to come.

Black History Month: Speaker Forum
Screenshot of people from our Black History Month speaker forumNERD employees got the chance to hear from various leaders about what #BlackHistoryMonth means to them— the significance, importance, and connection. Each speaker shared their personal stories and the impact Black History Month has on their personal lives.

“Proximity is the key to empathy. What I’ve learned over the years, due to proximity when I was younger, I missed out on an opportunity to be a better ally … after college 

I moved and it was the first time visiting the South and that’s when I first saw diversity. I use Black History Month now to make sure that I’m finding social good in my work and to make sure that we support minority owned partners. I use it to reflect on what I’ve learned and how to commit to it.” — Lydia Smyers

Watch the forum full recap below:

Black History Month: 
From Queer Black History to Black Futures presented by The History ProjectScreenshot of two people on video call
NERDs explored the stories of prominent and influential individuals throughout Boston’s Black LGBTQ+’s  history. We learned about important individuals such as George Middleton, who led a Black militia during the Revolutionary War, lesbian sculptress Edmonia Lewis, the Black feminist Combahee River Collective, along with current efforts to honor and empower Queer and Trans People of Color in Massachusetts. Here are some local organizations that offer support and resources: Transgender Emergency Fund, Trans Resistance, and Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition

Watch the presentation recap below:

Black History Month: Luncheon with Mike Shevlin, BAM New England’s Executive Sponsor
Mike shared his journey in management and how he currently supports his direct reports who are leaders in our local chapter of BAM. His team frequently shares how supported, encouraged, and valued they feel by Mike’s continued investment and support in their Microsoft careers, as well as their overall professional growth and development.

According to Mike, daring leadership means “leading with grounded confidence,” which can be done in a few ways:

➡️ Leaning into vulnerability and skilling up for hard conversations;
➡️ Talking to people, not about people, and having clear and honest communication;
➡️ Empowering everyone to give, receive, and value feedback.

Watch the event recap below:

Lunar New Year Celebration:
In celebration of the Lunar New Year, our local chapter of Microsoft’s Asian ERG (AZN) gave NERDs a few special treats! We watched a virtual performance, participated in a Q&A with the Wah Lum Academy, and played a Jeopardy-style game night as a way to test our Lunar New Year knowledge.

Through this celebration, NERD employees were given the opportunity to learn more about the history and the significance of the Lunar New Year celebration.

Watch the virtual Lion Dance performance below:

Watch the AZN Jeopardy recap below:

In addition to these great Lunar New Year events, we were also given the option to take a dumpling-making class taught by Aya Foster.

Thank you to all of our local ERGs for organizing the great events! 

Learn more about Microsoft’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

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