Gwen Zierdt’s Biography

Hi, my name is Gwen Zierdt. I will have been at Microsoft a total of 10 years this June. I am a Program Manager on Exchange Server as part of the System Management team. I started out in 1988 as a Development Support Lead, coordinating builds and acting as a liaison between Dev and Test. I moved in the Software Test eventually. While at Microsoft, I have always been involved with messaging pf some sort; from the early days of Mac Mail 1.37 to the most recently shipped product: Exchange Server 2003.

I have an eclectic educational background. In grade school I had been placed in advanced math, which meant we were writing simple applications in BASIC on a teletype hooked up to the local community campus. I also remember playing quite a bit of Hunt the Wumpus. Throughout high school I continue to focus on my math studies and by the time I had finished high school I thought I was going to go through the Electrical Engineering program at the University of Washington, here in Seattle. I wasn’t thriving in the program and took a look at various other programs: Software Engineer, Slavic Languages and Literature, Art, etc.. I moved to Boston and was extremely motivated to finish my program, ANY program. I was accepted into Boston University, and went through the course catalog to decide how to get a degree in the leas number of semesters. It all boiled down to either Archaeology (because of my chemistry studies ) or Mathematics (because of earlier math studies.) After interviewing both departments it was obvious the archaeologists were way more entertaining so I enrolled. After a short stint with a textile trade association in Boston, I moved back to the Seattle area. I applied for a job listed in the Seattle Times at a company that I didn’t know anything about only because the job description sounded interesting. I left Microsoft in 1994 to pursue a Masters in Fine Art at the Art Institute of Chicago. I worked part time telecommuting to a software test position in Fremont, CA. to work on Family Tree Maker. Once my degree program was completed, I moved to Paris for a year and then came back to Microsoft in 2000. As Eric Lockard said on my return, you can take the woman out of Exchange but you can’t take Exchange out of the woman.

Despite all my moving around, I live in the same house I bought in Kirkland in 1989 and have a major remodel underway to finally rid myself of my 1970s kitchen.

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