I'm a geekette who enjoys playing with new technology for software developers. I work as a Developer Evangelist for Microsoft. My current focus is on machine learning and big data on Azure.
Karen Djoury is a Test Manager of the Windows International team at Microsoft. She is responsible for testing all versions of the Windows operating system in languages other than English and ensuring a great localized experience. Karen manages a team of about 50 people. Her team partners with other international teams that test in-country.
Karen believes that the best part of her job is the chance to make a difference. She observes their current processes and looks at ways to make them more efficient. "My current job is a great learning opportunity. I think that there's a huge impact that can be made." The scope of her role is also exciting to her. "My team touches all of Windows."
Karen actively seeks out opportunities that she enjoys and incorporates them into her job. "Having an outlet of things that I care about helps me get through the things that I don't care about - guide your career to where your interests are," she advises. For example, Karen co-leads a "Women of COSD" group. (COSD is the Core Operating System Division, a subset of the Windows team.) Her passion for growing women in technology is a personal interest that she's integrated into her job. The "Women of COSD" group holds quarterly events focused on career development and networking. The first event was a light-hearted panel discussion with senior employees sharing their career blunders and triumphs. They are soon launching mentoring rings as well.
The "Women of COSD" group also participates in a Windows-wide social networking program called "One Degree". ("It's not a deodorant," Karen quips.) A woman can post an activity that she’d like to do (go to lunch, get a manicure, etc.), and five other people who are also interested can accompany her, at Microsoft’s expense. In this way, employees throughout Windows get to network in comfortable groups of six.
Karen also recognizes the importance of having a life outside of work. "My life is too important for me not to disconnect." She acknowledges that as a manager, this is even more important. "You need to set standards for your team. Sending email at 10pm on a Saturday does not set a good example."
As a girl, Karen always wanted to be a doctor. But she job-shadowed a doctor in high school, and realized that she disliked the hospital environment. At the encouragement of a friend's brother, she tried Electrical Engineering in college. She enjoyed the software aspect of it. Karen also wanted to travel, which led to an internship with Microsoft Dublin for the summer. She started fulltime work in Microsoft's main office in Redmond, Washington directly after college.
Even extremely successful women like Karen doubt themselves from time to time. "I felt like I was going to get fired for the first six months!" Karen started her career in Windows Networking, where she owned the http technologies. In her 6.5 years with the team, she has greatly expanded her scope of responsibilities.
Karen is unique in that she was promoted to a management position after only 1.5 years at Microsoft. She has a natural gift for managing and growing people. Karen was kind enough to share some of her tips and tricks:
Karen's advice to other women in technology: "My biggest mistake is sometimes making decisions with my head and not my heart. I was happiest in my career when I found opportunities to do things that I enjoyed within my current role. Play to your strengths and interests."