Keynote at Blacks@Microsoft Charlotte Minority Student Day 2018

After spending 12 years at Microsoft in 8 different roles, 4 different organizations I had a significant awakening that I was destined to take on a different role. While at Microsoft my primary goal was to have significant impact on Microsoft's success by creating and participating on high performing teams. One such team was Blacks at Microsoft, more affectionately known as BAM is an Employee Resource Group (ERG) to support career growth of African American employees primarily. It is one of many such groups at Microsoft. In BAM we have an annual event named BAM Minority Student Day (BMSD) where we invite area High School and College students to spend a day immersed in Microsoft technology and develop relationships with employees inside of Microsoft. I have volunteered for many BMSD events and even led one. I am always amazed at how so many incredibly busy Microsoft employees find time to volunteer for this exciting outreach year after year. Microsoft Charlotte is well known for setting records for attendance and impact of this nationwide event. I am proud to have served with such extraordinary leaders from all sorts of roles within the company!

Back to my awakening, I found myself realizing that my work needed to be extended to a different audience. An audience more in line with that of BMSD participants. I was working as a Sr. Premier Field Engineer travelling around the country helping enterprise customers successfully implement Microsoft technology, at times tackling some of the toughest problems facing these customers. I love solving tough problems and I love teaching, coaching and mentoring people. While my job included much of that activity I was drawn to do much more of the teaching, coaching and mentoring. I have had and continue to have an exciting career teaching technology, but I felt compelled to reach other people who are looking to reach their dreams but may be having some difficulty getting started. In the course of my career I have had many occasions where I needed to reinvent myself. Having done that many times and creating multiple successes, I began to mentor and coach others on how to do the same. I developed a strong desire to do this much more broadly and thus was born the idea of "A Game Changer Workshop". While the dream was compelling the vision was not entirely clear and took five years to take shape. In time I made the decision to end my Microsoft career and take a step of faith in establishing a non-profit organization, EdRevolution, Inc. that has sponsored two programs thus far. Hatch targeting a new entrepreneurial experience designed for college alumni and students to come together at homecoming. A Game Changer is a 2 day workshop dedicated to transforming our expression of "who we are" and "what we are seeking to achieve" to help each of us realize that our dreams are within our reach.

Several months after my departure from Microsoft I was invited by the BAM Charlotte leadership to deliver a BMSD keynote. I was honored to do so to a record crowd where we had several engaging conversations in breakout sessions as well. I am always amazed at how Blacks@Microsoft keeps raising the bar for community outreach and engagement year after year. I am truly grateful for the opportunity. To get a look at what was discussed, you can click here to see the FaceBook live video. Thanks BAM, Microsoft and the many students that allowed me to share this time and space in an effort to effect positive change!

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