Our colleague had the chance to interview Shawn Aebi, General Manager with our CTS group. We're lucky enough to publish his interview here for you!

What is your current role and in which division is that in?

My current role is the General Manager in CSS for the Microsoft Commercial Technical Support division. My groups cover service delivery for Exchange and Lync, crisis management, large technical labs with latest hardware and virtualization technology. In addition we have security and privacy teams working closely with the Trustworthy Computing Group – this continues to be a fascinating area. Finally, I recently have started working more with our support leaders in Latin America across the broad array of commercial needs and am thrilled at being able to work with people in this amazing region.


What does crisis management entail?

Crisis Management has several parts to it: one such part was the strategic partnership between our groups and the premier customers. When they encounter major problems with Microsoft software which affect their business our Crisis team gets involved to accelerate all of the service delivery and make sure we have the right resources involved, including executive awareness. Right now, my role also is to ensure that we are technically ready for the cloud.


How long have you been at MSFT? And what keeps you motivated?

I have been here for 21 years, and after being here for so long have learned how to maintain a work/life balance. Sometimes you have to adjust to family needs, age of kids etc, but I also try for a balance by being involved with community work such as volunteering to serve on boards. I am fortunate that I have flexibility in my work so try to utilize that.


What was your original title when you first joined MSFT?

My original title was ‘Field technical specialist’ which meant that I was hired to help the sales team sell networking software in Washington DC. We were selling LAN Manager – a precursor to the components which are now built into Windows networking.


What do you do for fun?

I run a lot, and use that time to collect my thoughts and prioritize.

I also enjoy the theater-not acting but watching good theater. Seattle has a great collection of talent in the area: strong directors who have visions and execute them well.


What have you seen recently?

A production of “All my sons” by Arthur Miller at the Intiman Playhouse in Seattle. This is a strong play about integrity: how honest you are with yourself. The director sets it in Seattle and adds a good twist to it-actually adds a different dimension. That play was also more engaging at this production as Arthur Miller’s sister attended it!


When you hire for your team, what type of soft skills do you seek out?

Smart people who like to problem solve: there are many constructors at MSFT, they are the ones who build code, however our team are more like detectives where we figure out how to take things apart.

Our team would need a very different skill set than a developer but there is a high amount of job satisfaction and there is the joy of helping people almost every week.