By Lori Forte Harnick, General Manager, Citizenship and Public Affairs
If you had visited Microsoft’s Redmond HQ last Friday, you would have seen hundreds of people chatting and laughing along the roads surrounding main campus. That was the 5K Run/Walk – a highlight of our annual Employee Giving Campaign which kicked off last week.
October is an amazing month at Microsoft, bursting with much loved traditions and brimming with exciting new opportunities for employees to donate their company-matched volunteer time and money to their chosen causes. Our people generously give throughout the year and in 2013 they raised a record-breaking $113 million to enable local and global nonprofits better serve their beneficiaries.
This includes our newer and early-in-career employees, who are making a huge impact here in Seattle and around the world. I regularly hear from this energetic group that they joined Microsoft to help shape the future of technology but also – and equally as important – because they want to work somewhere that shares their values. When I think about the millennial generation, which is 80 million strong, what stands out is that they care deeply about changing the world for the better.
And there is no denying it – their energy and passion is palpable and powerful. Take for example Leanne Toth, Senior Business Operations Program Manager in the Windows and Windows Phone division who joined Microsoft eight years ago after receiving mentoring from another Microsoft employee who had spotted her potential and urged her to apply. “It was like a Cinderella story,” she said. “I was making minimum wage not knowing where I was going in life. Even though I had a degree, I didn't know what I was going to do. This connects now because I can empower less experienced people in my team, by not only teaching them core business skills, but by putting in place a system of rigorous 1:1 and team coaching sessions to help them achieve longer-term career goals. I do my best to help them find the superhero version of themselves; just like someone pulled that out in me eight years ago”. Leanne also supports Global Give Back Circle where she mentors a young woman in Kenya, who was accepted into a top local university with her education fully paid for. “Giving is integrated with who you are as a person. It's not a sacrifice’” she said. “I've always had coaches in life. Mentoring transforms lives and that has enriched my personal journey.”
All month long, Microsoft employees of all ages will gather together, person by person, team by team, to raise money to help others less fortunate do more and be more. Cookbooks and cat and dog calendars will be sold. Pancakes will be flipped by senior leaders making breakfast for our employees, later this week. A 24-hour international ‘Give and Go’ will happen later in the month. And the ever popular online auction this year includes the opportunity to be one of 90 people to attend an on campus benefit concert by musician Eddie Vedder on October 30th. As I said, it’s truly an amazing month.
You can see some of our employees in action below and please do share your #MSFTgiving story with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Yammer.