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Faye’s Journey: From Security PM to Diversity Advocate at Microsoft

Faye, a veteran at Microsoft for 22 years, has had a career as varied as it is long. Her journey began in 2002 as the first desktop security Project Manager (PM) in Microsoft IT. From there, she transitioned into owning a deployment team that deployed to desktops and handled operations for Office’s first few customers.

When Faye wanted to make a change at Microsoft, she was among the first seven people worldwide to sell what is now known as M365. Her territory spanned the entire US, focusing on state and local governments. She successfully closed deals with many government agencies including Minnesota and California state and the city of San Francisco.

After four years of living on the road, Faye realized that sales was not her calling. She returned to Microsoft IT, seeking the toughest challenge available. The challenge presented to her was the back end of Microsoft’s brick-and-mortar stores. She built 30 stores in a year and 36 pop-up stores. Once that was done, she worked in SAP for a while before finally landing in security.

Today, Faye runs the Information Protection Program for all of Microsoft. Her charter is to ensure all sensitive data is properly classified, labeled, and protected. This role is not just for Microsoft but for all customers using Microsoft security products. It’s exciting for her to figure out what the biggest risks are and how they’re going to overcome them.

Faye was born in Japan, the daughter of a serviceman and a Japanese mother. She moved around a lot during her childhood, living in places like Fairbanks, Fort Dix, Richmond, Virginia, and finally settling in the Pacific Northwest. All the moving around inspired her to travel, and she’s a self-proclaimed travel junkie, counting places such as Nepal, Italy, Greece, and Japan, among her favorite destinations. She loves bringing her kids along on her travels, sharing the world with them.

Faye’s original goal in life was to become an investigative reporter. However, she left college and started working. When she returned to earn her degree several years later, she was fascinated by social science and organizational relationships.

Faye characterizes her life in one word: curiosity. This curiosity has led her to take on roles that were new and had never been done before. She thrives in environments where she can create order out of disorder, build new processes, and face challenges head-on.

Faye is also the chairman of Blacks at Microsoft in Security (BAM Sec). She is very involved in the recruiting and retention of women and people of color at Microsoft. She believes that diversity in the workplace is key to growth and innovation. This belief is not just about having representation, but about ensuring that diverse voices are heard, valued, and have the power to influence.

Faye understands that diversity is not just about being invited to the dance, but about who gets to pick the music. It’s about creating an environment where everyone feels they belong and can contribute their unique perspectives and ideas. She acknowledges that while it has become easier to be a person of color in the room, there are still major hurdles to overcome. It’s not enough to just be present; it’s about having the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them without fear of being sidelined or stereotyped. She also recognizes the importance of seeing people like herself in leadership roles. Faye believes that this not only provides role models for women and people of color but also shows the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. It’s about making sure that people don’t look around and feel like they don’t belong.

Moreover, Faye emphasizes the importance of active participation in Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). She believes that being passive in these groups does not advance the cause of diversity and inclusion. Instead, she encourages everyone to add their voices and speak up. She understands that to be truly diverse, a company needs to hear from a variety of voices.

Faye’s life outside of work is just as vibrant. She enjoys reading, supporting her plants, feeding the crows, and traveling for live music. She has seen Bruno Mars in Vegas and Lionel Richie in concert and has read Lord of the Rings more than once. Since the pandemic, she and a large group of friends have been exploring Seattle and Washington. Their adventures have taken them from hiking Hurricane Ridge, to a visiting dude ranch in Republic, as well as trying new restaurants in Fremont.

In conclusion, Faye’s story is one of curiosity, resilience, and a constant desire to learn and grow. Her journey at Microsoft is a testament to her determination and her belief in the power of diversity and inclusion. Her advice to others, especially women, is to evolve their brand with the times and to ensure they remain relevant in their field. As she puts it, “You have to change your brand with the times… My brand was if you have a hard problem, you put Faye into it.”

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