Karen Fassio Director, Microsoft Partner Marketing, Global Partner Solutions

Seizing the opportunities of an inclusive economy

woman working on her laptop

On the Global Partner Solutions team here at Microsoft, our mission is to enable a partner ecosystem that represents the diversity and unique perspectives of our world. Every day, we strive to foster a community that drives inclusive economic growth across all solution areas, industries, and customer segments.

March is a time to reflect on the lives of women and girls around the globe with International Women’s Day celebrated on March 8 and Women’s History Month lasting all month in the United States. This year, I’m reflecting on how the COVID-19 pandemic has had major and uneven economic impact: 97 million people have fallen below the US$1.90 international poverty line since 2019, and 163 million more people are living on less than US$5.50 a day. These newly impoverished people are more likely to be women, children, and unskilled and informal workers.

As the pandemic wore on, it prompted many of us to personally rethink our economic situation, our work environments, and our long-term goals. In fact, we are amid the Great Reshuffle: 41% of global respondents to the Work Trend Index are considering changing employers in the next year, in search of more flexibility and jobs that are aligned with their values. We know that companies with more diverse management teams generate more innovation and 19% higher revenue, and we must intentionally support women during this time to invest in themselves, skill-up, and find their next growth opportunity.

I believe firmly in creating economic access and opportunity for women around the world. With the support of many people, I co-founded Women in Cloud, a community-led economic development organization, with an ambitious goal: to take action with global leaders, corporations, and policymakers to help women entrepreneurs create $1 billion in economic access and opportunity by 2030.

With the power of our diverse Microsoft partner ecosystem, we can support women-tech founders and drive solutions that support a more inclusive, sustainable, and equitable world for women. Join us for these upcoming inspiring and purpose-driven events:

Our commitment

Microsoft is committed to enabling technology that strengthens communities and drives inclusive economic opportunity. In our journey to empower every person and organization to achieve more, we hold to inclusive principles:

  • Build for impact
  • Drive inclusive economic growth
  • Differentiate with purpose
  • Enable a diverse and inclusive partner ecosystem
  • Harness collective action

Learn more about these principles and our vision.

Join us to create inclusive economic opportunity

We invite you to build alongside us and take advantage of these opportunities to grow your business and showcase your impact.

Microsoft #BuildFor2030 initiative: The Microsoft #BuildFor2030 initiative is a call-to-action for Microsoft partners to help advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by accelerating innovation, changemaking, and collective impact. We help partners to skill up with solution building resources, publish through the Microsoft commercial marketplace, and accelerate growth with GTM benefits. Learn more and join us to #BuildFor2030.

Propelelo, #BuildFor2030 Hackathon – Gender Equality theme winner, is contributing to the SDGs with an AI-powered solution to support mothers returning to work and to enable organizations to build a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Helen Tinnelly, founder of Propelelo, says, “The #BuildFor2030 Hackathon helped us to use the power of Microsoft technologies to provide a complete and remarkable solution that empowers every working mother and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”

Partner of the Year Awards: Each year, Microsoft recognizes outstanding partner successes and innovations with the Partner of the Year Awards. This year’s awards feature a social impact category that honors industry and technical leaders in the areas of community response, inclusion, and sustainability. Nominations in all categories close at 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time (PT) on April 5, 2022. Winners will be announced at Microsoft Inspire this July.

Black Partner Growth Initiative: Microsoft is committed to investing in success of Black partners through the Black Partner Growth Initiative. This program catalyzes collective growth and collaboration for individuals and businesses through knowledge sharing, mentorship, and access to resources. We’re excited that more than 300 partners have applied to the inaugural Accelerator cohort offered in partnership with Black-owned partner, AppMeetup. The first cohort of more than 50 partners launched in January and are receiving intensive coaching, one-to-one engagement, and comprehensive guidance.

Having a safe space to grow, connect, and bond over lived experiences has pulled forward partners like Tiffanie Stanard of Stimulus. A relationship intelligence SAAS platform (SRIP), Stimulus launched on the commercial marketplace in 2020, catapulting the organization’s growth by 4x year over year in 2021. To Stanard, investment in the BPGI Accelerator is more than company growth. As she says, “It’s important to have a safe-space where Black founders can celebrate their wins and discuss their challenges.”

I believe in the transformational power of technology, and I look forward to working together to accelerate our collective impact.

Learn more