“You have to love kids, be comfortable talking to groups, and be bold,” Shy Averett says, of her job in Michigan.
Shy Averett, 36, is a community development and event specialist for Microsoft in Troy, Michigan.
Q: What do you do at Microsoft?
A: I work in our Troy store creating events and programs to benefit the community. As an example, we give programming classes to students in our in-store theater, which itself is solely for community use. I also arrange for sponsorships and donations to community organizations and for volunteer opportunities for our staff. Microsoft provides the resources, and I see that they go where they’re needed.
Q: Is your role philanthropic, promotional or both?
A: Our purpose is to give back to the community. But when I’m looking for a resource, if a Microsoft product can help, I’ll use it. I’ve used Microsoft applications to teach teens to create and edit video games, and when I worked with the local YMCA, we motivated athletes to learn technology by having them write a bio and display their stats in Excel for a fictitious NBA draft.
Q: How did you find this job?
A: I was working in marketing and community relations for a real estate development firm. A recruiter called and said all the right words like, “a new Microsoft store,” “youth,” “impact” and “free educational resources.” I was sold. I’ve been here more than four years now.
Q: What skills and personality traits are helpful for this job?
A: A desire to make a change in people’s lives, and some ability to figure out how to do that. A technology background is helpful but not mandatory. You have to love kids, be comfortable talking to groups, and be bold.
Q: What was one of your favorite projects?
A: Last year, I organized a drive in which our store employees donated water to the residents of Flint, about 45 minutes away. We rented a U-Haul and brought 15,000 bottles to the town. I realized that the amount meant about 1 in 4 people got to brush their teeth that day. A colleague and I almost cried on the way home. Next time, we got other Microsoft stores to donate and brought 55,000 bottles.
Q: How are you evaluated?
A: On the impact of my work, not on store sales. If I organize something, and a school, another organization or an individual is better off because of it, both my boss and I think I’ve done a good job.