Laura Butler is currently a Technical Fellow and Vice President of Notes at Microsoft. As a life-long fan and power user of productivity tools, she just couldn’t help being drawn into the group that owns OneNote, Sticky Notes, To Dos, Ink, Whiteboarding, and Education tools. These things are central to Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. And it fits her mission in life, to give EVERYONE the ability to turn their ideas into meaningful things. You can find her online at @LauraCatPJs (Twitter) and on LinkedIn.
WHY AM I INVOLVED WITH IGNITE?
The last mile reason, or rather blame, goes to Cynthia Tee. Cynthia invited me to the 2017 Gala Event at the Living Computer Museum. Those of you who know Cynthia – and many do – know how extremely persuasive she is. She was persuasive at Microsoft, she was persuasive as head of the Ada Developer Academy, and I have no doubt she’s exercising her persuasiveness as the VP head of Product Development at PlayFab now.
Seriously though, the mission of IGNITE is right up my alley. I was the first female Technical Fellow at Microsoft, which is an executive level for people in pure technical roles. BUT I ENDED UP IN THE TECH INDUSTRY BY MISTAKE! Nothing about my resume or background would indicate I’d be good at it. I would not even get a return email much less a phone call from most Tech Companies if I sent in that resume today.
And yet, I have been incredibly successful. I want that opportunity for everyone. I want that not just for equity and ethical reasons but also for practical business ones. Imagine how many people are out there who if given the chance could be amazing and change the world! I am CERTAIN the new cool innovative ideas are going to come from women, minorities, and others who are not in the “normal” cookie cutter mode of tech today. Those who are outside the box think outside the box, by definition.
HOW HAS IGNITE INSPIRED ME?
It’s reminded me of how invigorating it is to see the world in a fresh way from younger eyes. What a difference you can make in the course of a person’s entire life if you can broaden their world, give them more choice, and some tools and support to pursue those choices.
It is even better because it compounds, in turn they will influence and do the same for several other people. Do that a couple times for a couple rounds and you get a pretty big number. That’s exponents for you!
Finally, IGNITE makes learning and using STEM fun. And goodness knows we need more of that. It’s CRAZY how the language and news and materials around STEM often make it sound boring, a chore, a tax. When in truth STEM provides tools of power and creativity. It’s such an incredible thing to be able to make your own ideas and dreams come true by using your hands, your brain, your heart, and your time.