Eimear Michaels, Microsoft – A finalist in the WMB Empowering Women Award category
28th March 2022
Over the coming weeks, we will be introducing you to our WMB Award Finalists. Ultimately there will be one winner in each of our five Award categories, to be announced at our Conference & Awards on May 16th. If you’d like to attend our Conference & Awards, you can book now>>
Title and Company Name
I am Senior Operations Manager in the International Operations organisation and I am the D&I Lead for Microsoft Ireland.
Sector and size of operation
Technology Sector, 180k + employees globally.
You originally hail from
I am from Dublin and currently live in Co. Meath.
Single or relationship
I am married to Shane and we have three daughters ages, 12, 11 and 8.
What is the best part of your job
The best part of my job is the ongoing opportunity to gain new experiences. With a growth mindset, I put myself in different situations which enable me to develop my skills and enjoy new and varied learning opportunities.
I am also grateful that my job has given me a platform to help others, whether that’s going into primary schools and introducing young girls to the world of STEM, mentoring secondary school girls from under privileged backgrounds to think big and help them see the world of possibly awaiting them, or partnering with other women across the industry to help attract, promote and retain female talent in the tech space.
And the most challenging
There is so much to do and so much to juggle it is a constant weekly prioritisation exercise! As a working Mother, maintaining a good work life balance is important to me. Finding balance in my schedule can be a challenge, however Microsoft is really supportive of flexibility and I try to make sure I model this in my own week.
Your definition of success
My definition of success is simple, it’s feeling fulfilled and happy in knowing that the things I am spending my time on are making a positive difference to the people around me and that I am helping to activate a culture of inclusion and belonging.
I am respectful, inclusive and lead with integrity.
Self-doubt – To some extent this could be more akin to imposter syndrome. To counter this, I work on my positive self-talk, listen to podcasts and embrace a growth mindset to keep moving forward.
Biggest ‘win’ to date?
Being appointed as D&I Lead for Microsoft Ireland – My D&I journey started years ago when I was looking for networking opportunities and got involved with the Microsoft Women’s ERG (Employee Resource Group). This opened my eyes to the importance of driving greater gender diversity in the tech industry and took me down a long path of learning.
I realised that in order for my daughters to have equal opportunities in every aspect of their lives – from sport, to college, and their careers – that much needed to change and I wanted to play an active part in contributing to this change.
So, I decided to take on the role of D&I lead at Microsoft Ireland. With our corporate mission to empower every person to achieve more, our scale, and our global reach, I was conscious of our responsibility to do more than just raise awareness about inclusion. We at Microsoft are uniquely positioned to drive the conversation, to have a meaningful, tangible impact on how people experience Microsoft products and services, and how they engage within our workplace and with the company in general.
But our responsibility is not just to those who work with us, but to the larger tech industry, the industries we serve, and the communities where we live. Alongside my colleagues on the D&I Council, we are playing our part to drive this ambition locally with a focus on the intersectionality across all aspects of D&I – Inclusion Gender, Accessibility, Families, Culture.
Who inspires you most
There are so many inspirational women and men who I follow and refer to at different times. In terms of driving the STEM agenda, I’m truly inspired by the work of Dr. Katriona O’Sullivan. A lecturer in Digital Skills at Maynooth University, Katriona is doing amazing work in the area of STEM advocacy and education amongst girls in particular. For example, Katriona developed the STEM Passport for Inclusion project, which is supporting 1,000 girls between fourth and sixth year from disadvantaged communities to progress into STEM courses and pursue a career in the digital economy. The project was developed due to the low number of girls from disadvantaged backgrounds entering STEM related careers. With the World Economic Forum estimating that 90% of all jobs in 2030 will require digital skills, and extensive research by the LSE and others indicating that girls from disadvantaged backgrounds are least likely to enter STEM careers, there is a clear need to ensure that every young person is given the opportunity to engage in STEM education and become a digital leader into the future. Her work in this area is so inspiring and I am grateful to play a small role as one of the mentors in this program
Name two things on your ‘bucket list’
First up, I’d love to spend time at the Isha Yoga Centre in India – I began practicing yoga daily at the beginning of the Covid pandemic and I feel here I could really improve and experience the true benefits of Yoga.
During lockdown, as a family we decided that when travel started again, we were going to travel to at least two to three cities in Europe each year and experience the culture and history there. We visited Amsterdam in October and Luxembourg in February. We also have Lisbon and Porto booked for later this year!
What does it mean for you to be a woman in business today
For me, being a woman in business today means I have the opportunity to be a role model for the next generation of working females.
Through my role as D&I lead for Microsoft Ireland and by supporting great organisations, such as WMB, I’m hopeful that the future will be inclusive and full of opportunity.
Best advice to pass on
Embrace a growth mindset. Be planful and purposeful in how you use your time to positively impact your own development and those around you.