Kathleen Hogan, Corporate Vice President Microsoft Services, Co-Sponsor Microsoft US Giving Campaign
What do you get when you bring together over 250 technical leaders from around the world with 30 kids from the local Bellevue, WA Boys and Girls Club (BGCA) aged 5 through 11? Well, besides a very energetic crowd you create a terrific atmosphere for a unique challenge!
I recently had the honor of welcoming some of our most senior technical leaders across the Sales, Marketing and Services organization to Seattle for a week of training. These folks are the best of the best; working to serve our customers, lead others within our organization and be the difference when it comes to selling, architecting, deploying, and supporting Microsoft technologies. As a part of their time with us, they participated in a Build a Bike Challenge with kids from the local Phantom Lake and Stevenson Elementary BGCA locations.
At Microsoft, we’re no stranger to the BGCA. Having the privilege of partnering with them for the past 10+ years in bringing technology training, resources and curriculum to over 4,000 clubs through ClubTech, we love any opportunity to work with them and do what we can to help the youth they serve.
Representing over 40 countries, many of our technical leaders didn’t know much about the Club, their mission or how Microsoft has collaborated with them over the years. But after spending some time together and hearing from Allison Wootan, the Phantom Lake BGCA Site Director, all recognized the shared purpose we have to help the Club kids Be Great.
The BGCA kids worked alongside our team members one evening to build their own bikes. We all came away from the exercise with some great learnings. It was a constant reminder for us to always put the customer first, quickly respond to feedback, ensure a top quality product and encourage an atmosphere of collaboration within and across teams. The kids also brushed up on some important life skills such as teamwork, communication and patience.
What a night! We left the challenge renewed, recharged and reinvigorated. We had a lot of fun working alongside the BGCA kids to help assemble their bikes and were proud to be a part of creating something that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to own. We were also reminded of how our expertise and know-how can translate to serving our local communities; either here in the Puget Sound or in any number of the 40 or so countries represented by our team members.