This Women’s History Month, as in years past, we reached out to our network to showcase women who are working in technology, education, and civic spaces, paving the way for women’s leadership in our community and beyond. Follow along with us in Chicago, New England and New York as we celebrate Women Rising.
As account manager with Bing Ads and President and CEO of the Princess Foundation, Ebony McQueen wears many hats (and, sometimes, a tiara).
While managing her full-time duties on the Bing Ads team, McQueen is focused on giving back to her community. The Princess Foundation is geared toward providing opportunity and skills to young women to prepare them to give back to their communities — something McQueen is quite familiar with herself.
“While Ebony is running her non-profit, the Princess Foundation, she is also contributing daily to the lives of her peers within the Bing Ads community in NYC,” says Michelle Zung, Search Sales Manager at Microsoft, who nominated McQueen for this feature. “She is an amazing partner to her clients and a collaborative partner to her peers. She teaches her peers the Bing Ads technical skills needed to be successful in their role.”
McQueen wasn’t always set on this path, though. She originally majored in English and Mass Communication at North Carolina Central University (Central). It wasn’t until after she graduated from Central that she entered the field of advertising, which led her to Microsoft, where she’ll be celebrating three years this June.
“I’ve always been a lover of technology, even from my elementary school days, back when we were learning Windows 95 and playing Oregon Trail,” McQueen explained. “It’s always been a passion of mine… I thought English was a little slow — it wasn’t scratching that tech itch I had, which left me to jump into digital marketing.”
Today, McQueen leads a team at Bing Ads while managing The Princess Foundation and a new family all at once. Her ability to focus so intently on such varying avenues is an inspiration to her teammates, who learn how to transform their passions into motivation.
“Ebony is not only a stellar employee at Microsoft and a role model for women, but she is also a first-time mom,” Zung told us. “Seeing her thrive while also juggling her own work/life balance proves she is one-of-a-kind. She is so motivating to those around her and she leads by example.”
Her motivation has led to a direct impact for women who have been a part of The Princess Foundation’s programs. Through the foundation’s “Women’s Empowerment Symposiums,” young women spend full days learning confidence, technical and soft skills that will help them to be successful and achieve their dreams.
The impact provided by The Princess Foundation — and Microsoft’s support of it — helps drive McQueen daily.
“Microsoft has been a tremendous supporter of The Princess Foundation,” she explained. “When I interviewed, The Princess Foundation wasn’t on my resume — it wasn’t even on my LinkedIn. I brought it up in my interview group, and everyone that was an employee was ecstatic to hear about it, and encouraged me to talk about it more and put it on my resume. When it came time to make the switch to Microsoft, I was ecstatic joining a company that supported my cause.”
Microsoft’s Giving Campaign, in which the company matches employee donations of time and money to nonprofit organizations, was what drove McQueen to join the Bing Ads team in New York. She credits Microsoft’s philanthropic drive for inspiring her work at The Princess Foundation, and is thankful for the company’s support.
“To learn that all of my hours spending on The Princess Foundation — that Microsoft matches my time — that kind of sealed the deal for me.”
While McQueen keeps her balance between Microsoft, The Princess Foundation, and her family at home, she wants to see more women on the ground giving back to their communities.
“Be brave,” is McQueen’s advice for women starting their careers. “When I started off in the industry, I was shy; I kind of just played the background role and took it all in. Raising your hands sometimes and collaborating with others goes a long way. There’s no such thing as a dumb question — that’s where you’ll be brave. Put yourself out there and have advocates.”