Susie Adams, CTO, Microsoft Federal
As the chief technology officer for Microsoft Federal, which serves civilian and defense customers, Susie Adams is focused on helping agencies become cloud-enabled.
Her role is to enable agencies to take advantage of the cloud while complying with federal mandates.
Can you talk about the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career? How did you conquer that challenge?
I think the biggest challenge is ongoing, and that’s just keeping up with the pace of change of technology and keeping yourself current. … I really enjoy to learn new things, so it’s kind of a win-win for me. It can make for very long days, however. It’s always a challenge, especially as you face the day-to-day routine of your normal job, but I think staying up-to-date with technology is super-important.
What/who inspired you to get into your field of work?
To get into my work it was interesting, I had a math teacher in high school [who] inspired me to write my first computer program. On her own dime she brought a computer into school and encouraged a few of us to learn basic programming. The very first program I ever wrote was in the BASIC programming language to keep track of my basketball stats. And so from there I decided to go into management of information systems. Along the way though I can tell you I’ve had multiple people who have shaped my career and most of those people have one quality that really helped me, and that’s that they pushed me beyond what I thought my limits were. Well beyond. And pushed me to do things that I never would have ventured out to do myself.
Why is it important to you to empower women and other minorities to join more technical and technology-related fields?
It’s always nice to get a different perspective and diversity bring perspective from a lot of different angles, both from a culture perspective to just in general. I think that when you have that diversity working groups tend to think out of the box a little bit more. And with the pace of innovation that we have today you really do need to have an open mind, and be able to think differently about how you’re going to solve problems. And I think diversity really helps when you have a working group.