This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: Microsoft 365 Blog articles.
In honor of Women’s History Month, we decided to interview a few of the women who are a part of our Modern Work Supportability Women’s group. The group grew out of a grassroots effort in 2019 to form a quorum of women and their allies to encourage and support one another in their professional and personal lives. Since then, they have worked to recruit other women and minorities for Modern Work Supportability roles and have spent time focusing on technical and personal growth areas.
Ross: Hi Jessica. What is your current role in Modern Work Supportability?
Jessica: I’m a Supportability Program Manager focused on commercial accounts, billing, purchase, and subscription management with Microsoft 365. My job is to review trends within our support volume and determine ways, with the help of our engineering team, to improve their experience or utilize our self-help platform to provide customers with the information they need to resolve their issue.
Ross: What is your professional background?
Jessica: I have a non-standard background for getting into technology. I have my bachelor’s in psychology, a master’s in management, and a second master’s in information systems and operations management. I've been working in tech since my junior year of college and went on to work full time for my university after my first master's. My focus was on training and development for both our employees and the university staff. I started working at Microsoft a few years later in customer support.
Ross: What is your advice to students considering a career in technology?
Jessica: My advice for pursuing a career in technology is don’t worry too much about if you can or cannot code. Jobs in technology cross a large variety of skillsets and all are valuable in creating the best customer experience.
Ross: Hi Leslie. What role do you play in Modern Work Supportability?
Leslie: In October 2021, I became a Supportability Program Manager (SPM) for Microsoft Teams. Our team analyzes trends in worldwide support data for Microsoft Teams. With this, we aim to influence product improvements, increase self-help success through Support Central and diagnostics, and make support engineering processes more efficient. We have a small group of dedicated SPMs to Teams. We also work closely with the OneDrive and SharePoint SPMs, sharing new projects and lessons learned.
Ross: What is your professional background?
Leslie: I started at Microsoft right after I graduated college in the summer of 2016. I earned my bachelor’s in mechanical engineering with a minor in entrepreneurship and innovation from Columbia University. I began my career as a SharePoint Consultant and soon moved to the Customer Engineer (now Cloud Solutions Architect) role. In this role, I helped advise a variety of enterprise customers on how to build solutions using SharePoint, OneDrive, Teams, and Power Platform.
Ross: What has been your experience with women in tech at Microsoft?
Leslie: When I joined Microsoft, I became involved in the Microsoft Academy for College Hires (MACH), now called Aspire, women’s group. We attended regular Skype (before Teams took off!) calls with each other and I enjoyed being part of a community of kind, hardworking and welcoming women. A few years later, the Women at Microsoft (WAM) group in Charlotte was created and I began to attend their events.
In March 2020, I attended the annual WAM conference in New York, which was a fun and enriching experience to meet many women in different roles across Microsoft. When I joined my current role, I was invited to the Modern Work Supportability women’s group, and I found another great community of women whom I could lean on for perspective, advice, and laughs. I’m so glad that such Employee Resource Groups (ERG) exist at Microsoft, and at different scales. The intimacy of smaller groups of women makes it possible to foster a tight-knit, supportive community of people who understand and can empathize with some or many aspects of my professional experience.
In addition, I’ve found the camaraderie of this group to be one of the best parts of working at Microsoft. I work from home most of the time, and when I do meet with others in person or for a fun virtual event, it’s usually with one of these groups or with individual women from them.
Ross: Hi Amber. What’s your role in Modern Work Supportability at Microsoft?
Amber: I am a Support Planner for the Viva Suite and other Microsoft 365 applications, focusing on designing, enabling, and launching end-to-end support experiences for our customers, Microsoft 365 administrators.
Ross: What is your background in tech?
Amber: I grew up with Microsoft in my backyard. The main campus was literally just a few blocks away from my parent's home. Now, flash forward a few years, after earning my Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Santa Clara University and my Master of International Business from Seattle University, I landed my first job with Microsoft in Worldwide Operations.
As a kid, I would have never imagined myself working at a tech company, nonetheless one of the most renowned in the world. Growing up, I viewed Microsoft as a group of stressed-out, male-dominated coders who worked 24x7 and had no lives. That was the stereotype. But, as I got older and learned more about Microsoft as a business and had several friends who worked for the company, and my views changed. It wasn’t just for programmers. I was attracted to the people and operational side of Microsoft. I felt like, hey, tech companies can use people like me, and I went all-in.
Ross: Why is the Modern Work Supportability Women’s group important?
Amber: As with many of the resource groups within Microsoft, the group has been a great place to celebrate commonalities and diversity on a smaller scale. It’s a place for us to learn from one another in both professional and personal ways. With the hectic nature of focusing on deliverables, it gives us a chance to step back and really share what we bring to the table on a human level. It’s a place to not just recognize diversity of gender, but diversity of culture, personality, and thought.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve had the pleasure of leading this amazing group. In some ways, I’ve learned more from that experience than from my 15 years in different roles at the company. It has helped me bring my full self to work, and if everyone is able to do that, every organization will be stronger for it!
@RossS leads the worldwide Modern Work Supportability team in the Customer Service & Support (CSS) organization at Microsoft.
@JessicaDarby is a Supportability Program Manager on the CSS Modern Work Supportability team focused on commercial accounts, billing, purchase, and subscription management with Microsoft 365.
@Leslie Hill is a Supportability Program Manager on the CSS Modern Work Supportability team focused on Microsoft Teams.
@Amber Plumb is a Support Planner on the CSS Modern Work Supportability team focused on Viva Suite and other Microsoft 365 applications.
The CSS Modern Work Supportability team delivers innovative self-help solutions and diagnostics, in-service enhancements, and support programs to help customers get maximum value from their Microsoft 365 commercial subscriptions and create an easy-to-use, connected support experience.
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