Episode 21 of the Mavens Do It Better Podcast features Julia White, Corporate Vice President, Azure, Microsoft Corp.
Julia and Heather caught up in their offices virtually from Redmond, WA and Marina Del Rey, Ca.
Listen in as Heather talks with Julia about:
Julia’s background and start in IT
Where she finds inspiration outside of tech
What it means to be a CVP at Microsoft and the path to get there
Balancing parenthood and a discussion on Microsoft’s commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
To follow Julia:
Julia White | Twitter
Julia leads the marketing team for Microsoft Azure, and is focused on how Microsoft presents its Applications, Infrastructure, Data and Intelligence capabilities to customers and partners. In addition to the primary focus on Azure, the team are also responsible for Microsoft’s hybrid cloud assets; including SQL Server, Windows Server, Developer tools and management capabilities. Across this portfolio, Julia is responsible for the value proposition, global go to market strategy, and industry engagement. She also works in partnership with engineering leadership to chart the product roadmaps.
Julia joined Microsoft in 2001 as a product manager in the Enterprise Server team. In 2005, she moved to Microsoft’s US sales organization to run channel marketing and sales incentives. In 2007, she returned to product leadership, taking on Exchange Server product marketing. Over the course of the next 8 years, she was instrumental in leading the product’s evolution from an on-premises server technology to establishing Office 365 as the leader in cloud productivity services.
Julia has a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a master’s in business administration from Harvard Business School.
Heather Newman: Okay. Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of Mavens Do It Better. I'm super excited today to welcome on the podcast, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President of Azure Marketing and a good friend that I've known a long time who I love talking to and I've watched your career blossom for so long and you're amazing. Julia White. Yay. So welcome and thank you for joining us.
Julia White: Thank you. That's a very long title. I liked it.
Heather Newman: I know we can use that all the time, right? So, I wanted to just have you on because you are one of those mavens that is experts in, you know, obviously the cloud and obviously marketing and just being a woman in tech and you know, doing all these amazing things, you know, knowing a little bit about your background and stuff and just seeing you get to where you are and I wanted to have you on to talk about, you know, your background and a little bit of those things. So will you tell everybody where you're from and where you started this journey?
Julia White: Where it all began. Today I'm from Seattle. I actually was originally born in a very small part of Idaho, called Idaho Falls and where it was mostly potato farms and I moved all over the US as a child, kind of east coast, west coast. I learned I liked the west coast and now I've been in Seattle for, gosh, almost 18 years.
Heather Newman: Wow. 18 years.
Julia White: I know, right? That's forever.
Heather Newman: Oh yeah, yeah, absolutely. And then you went on to school at Harvard, yeah?
Julia White: Undergrad I went to Stanford in Northern California and lived the California dream, which was great. And that's how I ended up actually starting my career in Silicon Valley just because I was down there. When you're down there, you're kind of, it's hard not to be in that part of the business. And then after a couple of years working in Silicon Valley, then I went off to business school at Harvard and that's when I realized actually, I'm not an east coaster. In my mind I was going to be an east coaster and then I lived a winter out there and I was like, oh, I'm not, I'm definitely not. I didn't know that, but now I do.
Heather Newman: Yeah, I gotcha. I grew up in Michigan and came to the west coast in the nineties and was like, yeah, okay. I'm done. I'm going south. Right. So because I'm talking to you from Marina del Rey today. So
Julia White: Which is lovely. I decided snow is for ski vacations. That's what I want.
Heather Newman: I agree with you. That's awesome. So you were west coast for a bit. You were east coast and then tell us about how you got started at Microsoft.
Julia White: Yeah, you know, it was kind of a long shot type of thing. so, I started in Silicon Valley. I was at Intuit right out of undergrad and got an awesome kind of set of experiences there and then went back to business school and I was dead set on going back to Silicon Valley, like I was all about Silicon Valley and when, when I was actually at Harvard it was a real boom time for Silicon Valley. So not many people are leaving to go to back to business school. So, I was one of the very few kind of technology folks and literally there were like two people from Silicon Valley in my class at Harvard, like super rare. And so, I was like the Silicon Valley person in my class and I took people back there. I was evangelizing it. I Was all about it. And so that was my total focus. But then it turned out when I started interviewing for different jobs, and Microsoft was recruiting and I thought, oh, you know, it's one of those things where like, oh, I hear Microsoft is hard to get into. I wonder if I can get into it and you know, let's just try. And so, I, you know, kind of on a long shot, just kind of interviewed for it and then I met the people and I was so impressed, and you know, I was always talking to a lot of people in Silicon Valley and different options there. But I just kept going like, God, I really like these people and you know, we're all humans as it turns out. And then, and then they would start talking to me about the opportunities they'd give me as like a brand new employee and was really impressed. So then I'm like, okay, let me go to Microsoft for two years. That'll be it. I'll go do my two years, it'll be great on my resume, and then I'll go back to Silicon Valley where I really belong and you know, and that was now 17 years ago. So never say never and never forget that your plan will change. And it just, it's been a super interesting ride. I started in what was called back then Server and Tools, so it started in middleware and when we were building our enterprise server business, which didn't really exist, which is amazing. And you know, now people think we're only an enterprise company, but back then we were mostly a consumer company and kind of got to start early on this place of change within the company, which is so interesting and so fun. And you know, lots of things from there obviously.
Heather Newman: Absolutely. So, so, you know, beginnings in Idaho Falls, which I think I've actually been to.
Julia White: Oh, wow.
Heather Newman: Yeah, I think I was in Boise and there was a tour of some theater and I've actually gone through it actually. So yeah, I was like, wait a minute, I've been there. Yeah. So Idaho Falls and then you know, going onto school and stuff. I guess backing up into Idaho Falls, like how did you know that you were a technologist or you know, I want to be a ballerina or a technologist or whatever, you know what I mean? Like you know what I mean, like what was sort of that like what sort of inspired you to kind of go, mmm, this is my journey and path, you know?
Julia White: Yeah, yeah. It didn't start in Idaho. I actually, I wasn't, I think I wanted to be a dentist for a long time. And then I decided I was going to be a doctor. So I actually started in Stanford in a premed program so I went in thinking I'm going to be a doctor. And then I did my freshman year and I was like, oh, I hate this stuff mostly. And I wasn't doing well either. I think it was those things go together, turns out. And then I was like, ah crap, now what am I going to do? If I don't want to be, like I was going to be a doctor. And um, so then I just took the opportunity to explore. So I started taking different classes. I started dabbling in other areas and, a few different areas. I ended up on this project. It was at the time in our communications program, but it was sponsored by Melinda Gates and she was working on, you remember Microsoft Bob, this piece of software from like a million years, with the little dog? It was like the very, like V1 of social computer technology. And it was terrible. But at the time it was like revolutionary. I was thinking about this morning, I was like, oh my God, that was such a disaster. But it got me hooked on this idea of how technology is going to change humanity. Because I think at the time I was like, oh, you know, technology was still early-ish and the programmers were cared and we all used it for email. But that was about it. And, you know, and then I'm like, oh, this is going to fundamentally change how people live, work, play. When I saw the idea that our social life could be influenced in the computer space as well. So that's when I was like, oh, I think this is my thing. I think this is the marriage of technology and social science that kind of got me hooked in. And from there that's when I, I guess a couple of years later graduated and then went on to kind of do that type of, I started in more almost the UI design experience work when I went to Intuit and started in that angle and into more program management.
Heather Newman: That’s cool. And that was a Melinda Gates inspiration way back. Did you read her article to today or the other day about how she doesn't make a resolution, she picks a word?
Julia White: Yes. I love that.
Heather Newman: And I was like, Oh yeah. And I was like, I don't know, for me this year I think is focus. honing down and focus. I'm going to throw a zinger at you. Do you have a word for this year?
Julia White: You know, I, when I read that article I started thinking, I was like, what is my word? I hadn't picked it yet. But let me pick. I was, I was honing in. I think this year I'm going to say joy and I think we can, you know, we can never have enough joy and especially for me, I, you know, I'm a very goal seeking, you know, driving kind of person and sometimes you can do that to the point you forget to have joy. And I'm actually this summer taking my sabbatical, which is amazing.
Heather Newman: Wow!
Julia White: I know, Microsoft gives you once in your career a sabbatical. So I'm taking it. So I'm, you know, I have all this joy planned.
Heather Newman: Oh, my goodness, I'm so happy for you. That's so great. So well deserved and it's still nice that Microsoft does something like that too, right?
Julia White: It really, it's pretty awesome. Yeah.
Heather Newman: That's so cool. Well, and as far as you know, I mean you had a Melinda Gates spark, I guess other sparks inspirations? Where do you find some of that joy and some of that oh yes, you know, that the moves you along in the world? Whatever it is, tech, whatever, anything that sort of moves you to the next step. I don't know.
Julia White: Yeah, I was like, I think there's some key people, but also other inspirations too. If I think of like in my career and more in my life the key people that have really inspired me obviously I think Melinda Gates I would definitely put on the list. You know, from Microsoft Bob to currently, I just love the work she's doing. I'd say at a more, you know, founding level for me, my father was a huge influence and he was an engineer and then turned into an executive and I got to kind of be his shadow along his career and I remember, you know, these great memories of sitting at the dinner table talking about, you know, board meetings and how to drive change in organizations and just got a, like a real, in a way a tableside experience of being a leader and what it looks like. And the good, bad and ugly, and he had terrible failures that I got to watch up close too. So it was just a good kind of world perspective on that one. I would say, I was a competitive swimmer most of my life and, actually synchronized swimmer, I should be super clear.
Heather Newman: Wow.
Julia White: I know, who knew, right? And then,
Heather Newman: We're making hand gestures, sorry.
Julia White: We're doing synchronized swimming movements. You can't see them, but you can imagine them. And I had a coach who is wonderful and she, you know, she went with me, I had two different Olympic Trial experiences as she was with me the whole time. And she was this beautiful woman and she actually had cancer very young. And so through all of her years of coaching for me she was also battling breast cancer and she ultimately passed away when I went to college. And she was just this wonderful influence to me of this drive. And she kicked my butt every day. But yet she was very much about, you know, enjoying your life and having that, you know, happiness is part of it versus just that goal seeking. And that she's very holistic about it and to me that was such a great influence for me to see and just, you know, life is short, right? And you know, not forgetting that in your day to day hustle, when you realize that life is short. And I think her, she had a very different perspective since she was battling cancer for so long that I kind of told me, as I move through life. And then I'd actually put my, when I went to Intuit, Scott Cook was the CEO back then and he was, if you didn't know him, he was the ex-P&G kind of executive that came over and started Intuit. And he was so grounded on customer centricity. He was so much about the customer. And I think that's such a great first job to have where it was just indoctrinated into me about this customer focused, customer focus. My Dad had given me a lot of that too from his career. But Scott did in such a beautiful way that came to life in technology which I loved. And I still, you know, I still love TurboTax, I still love Quicken and those products that have that deep customer centricity to it. And so I think that even in all my years at Microsoft, I still hold that with me really closely and how I go about it.
Heather Newman: That's cool. Right on. Speaking of joy and people who inspire and all of that, looking at, you know, work life balance. You're an executive, you know, and you have high pressure, high demands, all of that stuff. And you know, I know you have a family and all of that and you know, looking to balance those things. And I've heard you talk so eloquently about that before in a lot of the diversity and inclusion work that we do in and around Microsoft. Will you talk about finding that for other folks who are looking to figure those things out for themselves, like how do you, how do you do it? Do you, you know, demand, do you push back? Do you, you know? And for yourself, but also how do you inspire that with the rest of your team who also has high demands and high pressure, you know, on them as well?
Julia White: Absolutely. A couple of things that have made big difference for me. So first of all, it's always a challenge. And at no one point or one day do I achieve quote balance. It's about, you know, over the course of a long period of time, do I feel like I'm getting the fulfillment I need out of both career and personal life. But a couple of things particularly that I learned early and have held dearly to me is around boundary setting. And you know, the experience I had was I had my daughter and I came back to work and I would, you know, before I had any kids, I would work long hours. I love my work, so I was happy to do that. And then when I had my daughter, I was like, oh, it turns out I want to see her. You don't know that before you have kids, that you actually want to hang out with them. And then you're like, oh my God, I want to go see them. So then I would leave at five to get home and you know, relieve our nanny and see my new baby and I would, I was so ashamed that I was leaving like quote early at 5:00. But I literally would like sneak out the back stairs and like tiptoe down and hope no one saw me. And it was just this guilt, which I think is such a plague for working parents. And so I did that for like two weeks. And then finally I was like, this is completely crazy. I can't spend the rest of my life sneaking out the backstairs trying to pretend like I'm not leaving at 5:00 to see my family. Like, it's crazy. And there was this moment where I was like, I'm either going to not work because this isn't going to work for me or I'm going to find something else or I'm going to just own it and I want to be super clear about what I'm doing, and I have to force myself to do this. And so I was like, all right, I'm going to just hold, like set my boundaries, be super clear about them and not apologize and see what happens. And so then I literally, I would walk down the hall the next day at 5:00 and I was like, See Ya, I'm out of here. Goodbye. You know, I'm really trying to like force myself to get out of the sneaking and you know, walked out the door and there I went and I lived that and I was like very clear, at 5:00 I'm out. If you need to talk to me at 9:00 when my daughter goes to bed, great, I'll talk to you then. Or I'll talk to you in the morning, whatever you need. But I was just really, really strict about that. And I found that everyone was so incredibly supportive and in fact even I had a guy on my team a few weeks later come up to me and he's like, thank you for doing that because I'm a marathon runner and I really need to go train and I have these long runs I have to do. And it gave me permission to go do that too. And so it was just this little spark of like, Oh wow, not only does it work for me but my team needs it as well. And so since then I've just been like, man, it's about setting your boundaries, being super clear about them and then not apologizing and not wasting any energy feeling bad or guilty, because that's what eats the life out of you. Right? That's the soul sucking part of work life balance. If you feel bad about your decisions, that just ruins you. So I'm like, I am just clear and I do them and I live them, and you know that, gosh, my daughter's now 14. So it's been many years of doing that and it didn't slow down my career. Do I work hard? Yes, but, gosh, when I'm with my family, I am with my family and I see them and I am committed on that front. And I think that's another thing that I have made work for me is that I very much look at it as quality over quantity. And when I'm at work, I am working and I am not messing around and I'm not bullshitting in the hallway. I'm like working. And when I'm home, I'm home. I'm not checking my phone, I'm not trying to work on the fly like I'm home when I'm hanging with my family and I'm listening to my teenage daughter and all of her dramas and I'm in, and it's very much about that quality experience. And you know, my father was an executive and so he traveled. He was on the road a lot, a lot, and yet he had such a profound impact on me and it was because the quality of time we had not the quantity. And I hold that true. And again also I think again, working moms can be plagued with so much guilt that it was a good for me to have a role model that was of a parent who was a fantastic parent and yet didn't have tons of hours with me. And so I can kind of take comfort in that.
Heather Newman: Yeah. And what I love about that story is that it's for you, but it's also, you were encouraging that and also accepting that from other people on your team. You know what I mean? It's not a bolt-on of like, I get to do this, but nobody else does. You know what I mean? Because I think that's important with a large company like Microsoft who does have diversity and inclusion and is working to focus on mental health and taking care of people and accessibility and all of that, that it's, you know, it's not just any executive or anybody at the top saying, hey, you know, this is fine, but then it's not fine for my team. You know what I mean? And I think that's really exciting about the things that I've seen you talk about and also the programs sort of that have been coming out. And I don't know, what do you think about sort of like diversity and inclusion has always sort of been around, but obviously with sort of the political climate and lots of movements and all of that. We've got sort of a bigger, brighter insurgence of that and I feel like Microsoft's leading the way and what are you seeing inside sort of connecting all the dots that we've already talked about a little bit with them?
Julia White: Yeah, I do. I really feel like we've matured as a culture but also particularly as a company around this topic. You know, when I first came it was all, it was just diversity and it was largely, like everyone else, it was a checklist of like, okay, do you have a woman check? Do you have a non-white? Check. And it was, there was no teeth behind it and frankly it was because we hadn't figured out why it mattered and we hadn't. There wasn't the research. There wasn't the understanding. There wasn't the time spent on to understand why it matters. It was just a checkbox and then we went through the journey to understand like why is it important and why is it actually going to make or break our success as a company? And it was at that moment when we realized that actually our success is hinged upon diversity, that we're like, wow, okay, that's a very different worldview when you were doing it because it's a checkbox versus doing it because you, it's going to fundamentally change your success or failure as an organization in the world. Gosh, you lean into it differently. And then I think what was most important to that is there's the realization that it matters and then why. But then there's the how you go about it. And to me it's about inclusion and it's not, you know, inclusion is what causes diversity to become true. And, like, you can hire lots of diverse people, but if you don't include them, they will leave. And so it doesn't solve the problem. Right? And so to me, inclusion was this deeper root issue that we really had to get at. And that's where I've seen us, thanks to the, I give a ton of credit to Satya and Brad Smith and Amy and the leadership team on making that, helping us move forward in that area of really digging into what does it mean to be included and to be heard and what are the small and big behavioral problems that caused them to feel not included and what's the technology things that make people not included, accessibility and others. And so, again I think that we're finally getting at the root, that we know why we're doing it at a root level versus just doing the activities around it in general.
Heather Newman: Absolutely. Yeah. We've been, I've been working a lot with Karuana Gatimu on the Microsoft Teams team. When we were talking about diversity and inclusion, we also started talking about intersectionality and belonging and created calling it DIBS, you know, giving it an acronym. So, you know, sort of linking all those things together and I agree with you on the inclusion part. I love what you said there about that because it does, you can't have one without the other, you know. You know, I want to, go ahead.
Julia White: On that one, I'm a huge fan of, I don't know if you follow Brené Brown at all. So I'm just a huge fan of hers and to me, like all of her work around vulnerability and like the messy human part of life is such a, so aligned with this work around inclusion and, you know, every time I have someone on my team, welcome to my team and I'm like, guess what, first of all, we're all humans. We're humans first and then we're also the employees here. But it's about that humanity and to me being comfortable talking about the human parts of life and that we are different and what do we need to be fulfilled. And I think Brené Brown's work is so helpful in that area of understanding, giving us a language around that vulnerability ideas and talking about it and being braver around it. So I love, I think there's a nice confluence there.
Heather Newman: Absolutely. That Daring Greatly book definitely changed a lot of things for me when I read that one for sure. And I liked the human aspect of it. She swears a little, she's, you know, she's sassy pants, you know, which I like.
Julia White: She's authentic.
Heather Newman: Yeah, exactly. She's completely authentic, that's true. I want to ask about, so you're, for Azure, you're doing marketing and there's a lot of listeners who are techie-tech people, but there's lots of folks who are not, you know, and I was wondering could you talk a little bit about kind of your role and what you do and maybe what Azure is, you know, and just give a little flavor of kind of what's your day to day look like?
Julia White: Yeah, I love, I actually love the product marketing role at Microsoft. It's kind of unique, you know, again, when I was at Intuit, in Silicon Valley, I was doing more of what we call program management or product management. And when I came to Microsoft I remember thinking like, do I go program management, do I do product marketing. It's kind of different here. And essentially the, my role is being a deep product, it's me really understanding Azure, the technology, where we're going. And then translating that into customer value and it's, you know, I do lots of other things, trust me, but like that's the core of what my, me and my team are about. And you know, I have this wonderful capable engineering team on one side who's, you know, these technology geniuses, and can come up with amazing things but don't always necessarily know how to map it to a customer need. And I'm always like, okay, there's a headache and you have an Aspirin. What's the headache? Where's your aspirin? And you know, just helping kind of shaped where we're focused, whatever focus, where we can be most useful in the world. And then really, really understanding the customer pains and the customer opportunities and where they can use technology they never even thought of and bringing those two things together and bringing them to life. Like that's, that's the magic, that's when it all works. So that's, that's what I do. That's what my role in the company is. And you know, the tactics of that underneath it or you know, deciding everything from, you know, the pricing, licensing, the business model, how we make money around Azure to how we go to market around that with our sales mix or marketing mix or channel mix, all that aspects there. And then the beautiful art of storytelling and marketing and making people feel like, oh my God, Azure is the place that I need to build my next app. So all those pieces.
Heather Newman: Gotcha. And I've watched you, you know, your career for a long time. I've, you know, been around the SharePoint world since it was Tahoe as well and so fun. And watching that business explode from literally a startup to, you know, billion dollar businesses today. And watching you become the speaker, a speaker, a demo-er, and all of that. Is that something that came naturally to you or were you like, oh my goodness, here we go. Or like, how did that come about? You know, I know it's part of the job, but you know what I mean for you, was it like, no problem, I got this or
Julia White: Oh, good Lord no. I, honestly, I try and tell people this a lot because I think people struggle with it too. I was absolutely terrified of public speaking like if it's full on terror, fear, and even I have this memory of my first job at Intuit and I was at a team meeting with my boss and my three colleagues and me and sitting at the table, very safe environment and I, to speak up in that room. My voice would shake. I'd get a little bit flushed. I mean, when I say scared of public speaking, I'm like legit, like even small room speaking. When I was at Harvard Business School, actually half of your grade is you're in-class contribution. Half your grade is your test, half your grade is your class participation. And literally to me that was torture. It was literally, I remember days, like on Friday I would call my parents and cry because I was so exhausted because I was like, oh my God, it's hard. So it's terrible. Anyway, so no, it did not come in anyway naturally whatsoever. And it was just purely a, you know, I got to Microsoft and I have this memory of watching, I think it was at the time of Stephen Elop and he was talking about something in the big stage at Worldwide Partner Conference and I remember thinking, Oh my God, I hope I never have to do that. I really, I hope, I hope I can be successful and never have to be there. You go on with your career and you're on the fence and there is this moment where you're like, shit, I'm going to have to do that. Like I'm going to have to. Otherwise I'm never going to go where I want to go. And like, this is actually an important leadership skill that I need to go get good at it. So I just pure like exposure therapy style went into classes. I did trainings, I forced myself to do presentations one after the next and then you know, each one got a little easier and got a little easier and then there was this moment where I was like, oh, I think I might be actually good at this, oh my God. And then you kind of like pivot and suddenly you're like, oh my God, I actually like this. And so it's this fascinating journey of torture and pain to like, oh my gosh, I really, I really like this and I have something to share with the world that I have an opportunity to do so. But there was nothing pretty about that journey. There was nothing natural about that journey. But I like to share it because: A. It's true, but B. I think a lot of people think that public speakers were just born and I'm like, it is a skill like anything else. And just like skiing or whatever else or coding, you can just learn it. And there's no, it's just about fear and overcoming it.
Heather Newman: So, talk about the jacket.
Julia White: Pulling out the jacket. Oh my God, so funny.
Heather Newman: We just had, what Michelle Obama just wear those boots, those Valencia boots and everybody went bananas, you know. And I was like, you know, it's like it's about the book and about everything about the book, but it was like, oh man, it's about the boots though too, you know?
Julia White: It's style, it helps.
Heather Newman: Always, so you know what? Feel your best when you're bringing your best to the stage. Right? And what makes you comfy. So listeners, Julia, you've worn leather jackets and I think you're very stylish, first of all. And so, and a lot of us ladies in the community are like, man, she always looks so good, you know, and so she has this leather jacket. I don't know, did that, how did you pick that one? How did that come about?
Julia White: Yeah, how'd that happen? It was back, it was actually five, almost five years ago now when it was Satya's first presentation as a CEO, and that's when we were launching the Office for iPad. So that was, that was the moment of the original jacket and I, and I remember we were making a very conscious effort to be like, Hey, this is a new CEO. It's a new Microsoft. And so it wasn't a big old stage. It wasn't a big arena. I was just a small intimate gathering and I wore what I wear to work. So I wear a leather jacket and I honestly didn't think much about it. It was a nice leather jacket, but it really didn't cross my mind in a big way. But then like, you know, the world blew up about it and thought it was the greatest thing ever and you know, the Washington, the New York Post wanted to write about it. It was honestly a little bit of a fluke, but I loved what it did for the company in terms of, it did say, gosh this is a different face, this is a different energy you're seeing from Microsoft. And frankly it was all the things that I knew about Microsoft. We have brilliant people and we're doing such important work. But like our image was so, had gotten so bad and so to me, you know, in a funny, odd way helping the company get seen in a different light and frankly in a light that I thought was so justified, it was great. So that became the jacket. And then of course, you know, after that moment everyone just wants to know what I'm wearing. And I'm like, how about you listen to what I'm saying? And less about what I'm wearing. But you know, both is fine.
Heather Newman: Yeah, yeah. It is an interesting thing being, you know, I've been having lots of conversations with people about, you know, women in tech versus diversity in tech and are they the same, are they different, should we keep women in tech, should we not, is it now just diversity in tech and other people sort of pushing back and saying well you know, if we have it be a diversity in tech, then what about all the work that women have done to get there and now it's everybody, you know, it's been so interesting in this last year with a lot of those conversations happening and I don't know, how do you feel about sort of that women in tech diversity in tech? I mean I still, I feel like we still need places and spaces for us gals to hang out together, but that obviously we need the male allies too and that's so important. I don't know. Are you seeing that? How are you seeing that inside of Microsoft? Is that something that's being talked about or?
Julia White: I do see, it is definitely a conversation and frankly I'm just so thrilled we're having this level of conversation. It's awesome.
Heather Newman: Right? I know it's like everybody jump on, yay! Come on.
Julia White: I know, some part of me it's like, you know, I don't lament at all that there's some hand wringing about this and I honestly, because it's back to we're all humans. There's truth in both things, like when you're with people that are like you, like if you're with women or if you're with African Americans or if you're with Asian Americans, whatever your community is, you have a different sense of familiarity, safety, and ability to be vulnerable. And that's when I go to women's events, that's what I find is that there's just a comfort and a level of vulnerability that you don't find when there isn't. And so I think that's a sacred thing and I think that serves an important aspect in inclusion. And then that being said, there's also shared experiences that all the, all the quote subgroups have of being a minority, right? There's a shared experience in that and there's learnings that can be shared in that. And we can all grow by understanding the perspective of what each group's minority experience has been like. So I think there's also good opportunity and growth to be had in having a broader community discussion across kind of the sub communities. And again, it'll be different, right, than it is when you're with just with your peeps, but I think they serve different purposes and I think they're both equally valid, frankly.
Heather Newman: Yeah, yeah, definitely. So maybe I'll get to wrapping up a little bit with you. I can talk to you for like 14 hours. but, is there, you know, I know you have your sabbatical coming with a lot of joy infused, which I love that. Is there something else that you're really excited about coming up that you could actually share that isn't a secret, you know, something that you're, someplace you're speaking or you know, something that's coming up or even a place you're going? I mean, it doesn't even have to be workie-work. It could be.
Julia White: Yeah. Can I do a work one and then a play one?
Heather Newman: Yeah. Yeah, let's do both.
Julia White: So, I can't talk too much about it but I have, coming up next quarter, I'll say, just this awesome moment where, you know, the company's been talking about intelligent cloud and intelligent edge and the idea of compute everywhere and how does cloud and AI help and we just had this moment where like all these pieces are just kind of coming together in a way that I think it's going to be so clear to people. I think this idea of intelligent edge, intelligent cloud, like very tech idea and not necessarily, you know, generally transferable, but I think this moment where we're going to see it come to life in a way that really affects everyone's life, like, oh, that's going to be a neat moment. So that's very big. But I'm excited for that. So stay tuned on that one. And then, on my fun side, my sabbatical, I'm spending three weeks in South America in the Ecuadorian rainforest, Galapagos, Machu Picchu. So like, I just can't wait, can't wait, can't wait.
Heather Newman: Wow, that's amazing! That's great. Well, I thank you for being on and having a chat with me. It's so fun to hear about your background and so many things I didn't know and thank you for sharing all of that stuff with us. I really appreciate it. And we can find you where online?
Julia White: I'm mostly a twitter girl. So you can find me at JulWhite on twitter. My primary hang.
Heather Newman: Your primary hang. Okay, cool. And then you know, you can also follow Julia on LinkedIn as well. And, and keep your eye on Azure. That's where she plays in the work world. And you may see her in something different this year with her presentations for her fashion, but listen to her because she's got a lot of great things to say and she's a powerhouse. So Julia, thank you so much for being on.
Julia White: Thanks for having me. It's such a pleasure.
Heather Newman: Absolutely. Alright, thanks everybody. That's another episode. Bye.