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Top Women Executives: Teresa Carlson of Microsoft

Top Women Executives: Teresa Carlson of Microsoft - top government contractors - best government contracting event
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TERESA CARLSON

teresa carlsonTeresa Carlson has been with Microsoft since 2002. In September 2008, Carlson was tapped vice president of Microsoft“™s US federal government business. Carlson hit the ground running. It was the middle of the quarter, and the presidential transition wasn“™t far off. “I just had to roll the sleeves up, and take the strategy that I knew we needed to be successful,“ she says. Carlson also marked two personal successes this past year. “I got my son through his first year at West Point, and my second son marked his sixteenth birthday,“ she says, “so, two big milestones.“

Carlson’s Top Tips:

  • Roll up your sleeves. “Lead from the front, know your business relentlessly, and don“™t accept anything but great customer satisfaction,“ says Carlson.
  • Have an open door policy. “Work with your teams, support them when they have challenges,“ she says.
  • Think strategically, act tactically. “You have to strategically know the direction you“™re going in, and what tactics to take to advance your strategy,“ she adds.
  • Build relationships. “Most women who are great leaders in federal contracting build relationships,“ says Carlson.
  • Do philanthropic work. “Everyone needs to find their passion,“ says Carlson, whose volunteer activities include work for the Red Cross, NIH Childrens“™ Inn, the USO, and the Women“™s Center.

What Carlson is saying:

BEST CAREER ADVICE: “It may sound a little Pollyannaish but, truly, the best career advice came from my mother. She was a teacher and an administrator; even today, at 82, she“™s still very involved in the community. She would always say, “˜Get up every day, do the best job you can with a lift in your step, and never let your directs see you down.“™“

ON GROOMING FUTURE LEADERS: “Our most important vertical market at Microsoft is education. If we don“™t shape young minds, we“™re not doing the right thing. Initiatives like Digigirlz push IT for girls. This isn“™t just about females; we don“™t have enough IT people, men or women, in the United States. It“™s an issue we“™re going to have to deal with.“

WORK-LIFE BALANCE: “As a mother, I“™ve always been able to achieve that. Easily? No. I“™ve done a good job blending both. That may not work for everyone; it has worked for me. I just got a card from my sophomore at West Point, he said: “˜Mom, I thought a lot about you this past year, you always had these big jobs but that never got in the way of you being my mom.“™ I just bawled. For women, especially in this fast-paced area, it“™s important to balance your needs.  It“™s never going to be perfect.  We“™re not living in the 1950s anymore.“

WHAT’S AHEAD: “With this new government, it“™s absolutely about efficiencies of IT “¦ moving IT from just a CIO perspective to a business “” and mission “” capability. We“™ll also be moving our business model to support the government through a cloud-based model with tools like business productivity online services, email exchange, SharePoint collaboration in the cloud, as well as cloud development services like Azure.“

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