Today, I am attending the Microsoft Government Leaders Forum at the Lansdowne Resort near Washington, D.C. The Forum, now in its 12th year, is an opportunity for elected officials, government executives, and other distinguished people to come together and share ideas on how information technology can foster innovation and improve productivity across the Americas. Several hundred leaders are here representing countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
This morning, Hernán Rincón , President of Microsoft Latin America, and Microsoft’s Chief Research and Strategy Officer, Craig Mundie, kicked off the 2-day event. Following Mr. Mundie’s introductory comments, the audience welcomed the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton. Mr. Clinton had just flown in from the Middle East. I know he must have been exhausted from the long flight, but from the moment he began to speak, he had the audience hanging on every word. Always the statesman, Mr. Clinton inspired us with first-hand accounts and historical perspectives concerning the human quest for knowledge, our spirit for innovation, and examples of the many people throughout history, both famous and unknown, who have made significant contributions to our understanding of science, technology, and medicine.
This afternoon, I had the honor of addressing the audience during the Forum’s health session. I also facilitated a panel discussion consisting of our keynote presenter Mr. Fernando Barrios, President of EsSalud, Peru and additional panelists André Almeida, CIO, Health Secretary, São Paulo State, Brazil; Antonio Hernandez, Regional Advisor, Pan American Health Organization; Dr. Sergio A. König, Health Advisor, Latin America; and Carlos Jorge Rodriguez, Vice Minister of Heath, Colombia. If there was a theme that emerged from our panel, it was that information technology is driving greater transparency across all of healthcare including not only patient care delivery and payment systems, but the cost and quality of care. We also discussed how information technology and powerful communication and collaboration solutions are opening avenues to help us deliver health information and medical services in entirely new ways. Special thanks to my colleague, Jose Miguel Calderon Carpio (standing to my left) who manages our health business in Latin America for bringing together our distinguished panel for the GLF session on healthcare.
Tomorrow, we will be treated to a very special session featuring none other than Bill Gates. This is Bill’s first appearance at the Forum since leaving his full-time position at Microsoft in order to devote more time to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. With healthcare and education high on his radar, I know the audience is looking forward to hearing from Bill who will no doubt share his insights on the future of information technology and how computers and software innovation can help solve many of the world’s most pressing challenges.
Bill Crounse, MD Senior Director, Worldwide Health Microsoft Corporation
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7 men in ties and you wonder why microsoft doesn't get it? 1/2 the population is women and until we see them in positions of power you won't see products that meet their needs.
Thanks for writing. Although there weren't any women on my health panel (and I had nothing to do with selecting the panelists), I can assure you there are plenty of powerful women at the Government Leaders Conference, and that women have been well represented on some of the other panels. You should also know that the previous and current Vice Presidents for Microsoft Worldwide Public Sector are both women. So, I think Microsoft totally "gets it".
Bill Crounse, MD
I should think women would be more upset that Bill Clinton, the ex-president who abused his female White House aid and then purgered himself to cover it up, was chosen as a speaker at this conference than how many women were on the panel.
Proven leaders as Condoleza Rice or Sarah Palin would have made much better speakers and would have given women a well earned place on this panel of speakers. They would also have introduced some innovative ideas to this group: conservative ideas, something I dare say this group may be unfamiliar with despite their alleged global perspective. I wonder how welcome a conservative viewpoint would be at Microsoft?
Good suggestions regarding alternative speakers, but I think we were looking for someone who would resonate with our audience of leaders from Latin America. Obviously, a former US President is about as good as it gets in that regard.
As for conservatives, although I'm not female, I would certainly describe myself as being more to the right than the left. I find that we have all kinds of people at our company and place a high value on diversity.