Articles Events Sponsored

[ARTICLE] Digital Culture Shift: The Woman in The Mirror at Microsoft as part of the US Online Digital Transformation Conference

One of the main focuses of our Digital Transformation Conference & Tech For Britain events across the past 5 years has been the shift in digital culture and the importance to promote diversity and inclusion for all. Driving  the importance of women in tech and ensuring all our events are well represented by all. This year we have been fortunate enough to host 3 brilliant women speakers who have presented on their work within Microsoft Commercial Software Engineering’s (CSE) diverse and globally remote team.

Four distinguished members of Microsoft CSE will join us again at The Digital Transformation Conference | North America . These senior female leaders will discuss their experiences working within a remote and diverse team, focusing on the human element & wellbeing they promote to all their staff globally. Keep reading for a taster of the topics covered within this interactive panel session & further information about the panellists.

Digital transformation acceleration due to COVID-19

Digital transformation has been a hot topic for organizations before COVID-19, but the implementation, transition, and adoption has been rapidly sped up by this global pandemic. How organizations pivot to handle the new world has dramatically influenced the struggles and successes of businesses across the world.  Digital technologies are altering the economics of markets, developing new ways to deliver value to customers, and modifying competitive landscapes. These changes are a result of the 4 types of digital transformation: business processes, business models, domains, and cultural or organizational transformation.

Digital transformation is often thought of in terms of what a company produces or develops. Outside of the consumer eye, and of significant importance, is the culture of digital transformation within a successful business. Understanding that business transformation initiatives begin internally is the first step in a multi-dimensional transition. Today’s business leaders must manage an ever-changing technological landscape, navigate skill shortages by fostering a culture of continuous learning and upskilling, and adapt a distributed management style in order to holistically step into the new digital era.

Women in Tech

Microsoft has worked extensively to ensure women in technology are connected and celebrated throughout their organisation. Developing policies directed at hiring and nurturing creative, innovative and hardworking women within all disciplines of the organisation, Microsoft hires & promotes women to senior positions, has an internal WIT community and newsletter allowing a community of like-minded women to meet and collaborate. In addition to these initiatives, Microsoft also looks to champion women in tech through driving grass-roots programs to attract female talent into STEM positions. This can be seen within Microsoft’s women only panel at The Digital Transformation Conference.

Diversity & Inclusion

Microsoft not only celebrates women in the workplace but also diversity and equality across all genders, creed, race, nationality & affiliations. One element which will be highlighted throughout the panel session is the importance diversity & inclusion and understanding the human elements which can occur due to working in remote teams. Ideation & collaboration within diverse teams leads to greater innovation with different voices being heard. Microsoft understand that true diversity encompasses inclusion rather than representation, working to empower every person within their organisation to learn and achieve more; this is aided by removing the boundaries of geography. During the session the panellists will discuss steps to nurture a global digital team and the cultural considerations in participating in such a team, revealing techniques to aid socialising and breaking down cultural & time barriers to work as one.

Global Connectivity & Human Experience

The technology part of connectivity & collaboration on a global scale is easy, however, getting the employee experience within a remote team can be difficult. With Microsoft CSE operating as a location agnostic company for many years, they have acquired a number of techniques and will be sharing their learnings on how to make sure all of your team feels valued, included and that their wellbeing is paramount to the organisation. As leaders, distanced group work can be daunting but there are numerous ways to ensure the team are happy and productive by leaning on the human side of work & socialising to create unity.

The Panellists  

Tracey Trewin–

Tracey Trewin is a self-proclaimed geek and a successful General Manager of the Microsoft CSE team. She helped build the team charter to rebuild Microsoft’s relationship with developers by connecting with them on the issues that matter to them in a way that meets them where they are. The CSE developers are inspired to get up in the morning to help other developers succeed. She finds empowering people to solve problems is what motivates her the most.

Sara Spalding-

Sara is a Principal Engineering Manager with a history in R&D. As a key member of CSE, Sara leads an external engineering team that partners with customers’ engineers to help solve some of their toughest challenges. In addition to complex problem-solving and customer engagement, CSE allows Sara to help engineers grow and develop in their careers. She is a passionate mentor; she looks forward to spending time with her mentees and appreciates she what she learns from them. She loves working on a team that lets her prioritize these mentoring relationships while also working on problems that energize her. Before joining the CSE team, Sara was the site director for Microsoft’s New England Research and Development Centre in Cambridge, MA.

Tempest van Schaik–

Tempest is a biomedical engineer with over 15 years’ experience in health technology. As a full stack innovator and a Senior Machine Learning Engineer, her experience in data science, medical technology, medical UX & product design, and wet lab and clinical research has helped her to improve healthcare with real world applications of AI to the health and biomedical sciences. In Microsoft CSE, Tempest works with multidisciplinary teams with domain experts from different industries, like doctors. Tempest has worked with a variety of customers, including hospitals, insurance companies, and notably, Project Fizzyo, which helps children with Cystic Fibrosis complete their physiotherapy. The Fizzyo device has also granted medical professionals’ access to data insights they’ve never had before about physiotherapy techniques and effectiveness. She loves making real impact on the world.

Federica Nocera–

Federica is a Senior Software Engineering Lead in CSE at Microsoft. As a Machine Learning expert with multi-industry experience building and productionalising models across technology, manufacturing, retail, and finance she is positioned to use the latest technologies to enable customers to innovate around their hardest challenges. She is passionate about developing and working on best practices to bring Machine Learning models into production, or MLops. With a background in data science, Federica is well-positioned to speak on the blurring of the roles and skillsets of engineers and data scientists. Most recently at Microsoft, Federica applied NLP and advanced search techniques to extract knowledge from loan documents for a financial services company, worked on automating forecasting models with a large retailer, predicting inventory requirements all their stores across the US, and collaborated with Toyota to bring predictive modelling to the factory floor.

Tracey, Sara, Tempest & Federica will be joining us for an interactive discussion on cross-skilling practices within the CSE team at Microsoft as well as the pandemic-related challenges our teams have faced and overcome (re: NSW COVID project, team members across time zones). You can still register to attend the summit online by visiting the event website –

Leave a Reply