On March 8 every year, International Women’s Day is celebrated all around the world to recognize the contributions and achievements of women across various communities while calling for greater equality. This year, the theme “Make It Happen” aims to encourage effective action for advancing and recognizing women. In conjunction with this occasion, Microsoft Asia Pacific will be featuring female leaders from around the region, sharing their inspirations as well as words of advice for women hoping to #MakeItHappen in the technology industry and beyond.
Managing Director, Microsoft Australia
As managing director, Pip Marlow is responsible for Microsoft’s overall business in Australia. She began her 18-year career with Microsoft in 1995, working in the Australian Partner team on anti-piracy efforts, and the system builder channel and distribution strategy. She then moved to Microsoft’s head office in Seattle, where she worked for 8 years and held a succession of senior roles, before returning to Australia. Marlow enjoys working in a vibrant, collaborative environment, and is an advocate for flexible workplaces that empower people through trust and accountability.
What empowers you to Make It Happen at work and at home?
Making an impact – knowing what I do makes a difference in people’s lives, and in my family’s lives. Being a role model to my daughters. I am invigorated by the opportunity to effect change in both my community and organization, through strong leadership and encouraging diversity not just as a choice, but as a business goal.
What advice would you give girls to help them reach their goals and Make It Happen?
Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t make it happen, you are right. Have a mindset where you believe you can make it happen and anything is possible.
What would you like to do more to inspire other women to take on leadership roles?
Spend more time talking to young girls (k-12) about their potential. Help them aspire to do and be more. Encourage women not to count themselves out before they begin and recognize that without women in key positions in government and business, we will never close the gender equality gap. Simply, we must truly strive to be the change we want to see.
Who are the women who inspire you the most, and why?
My mum, Malala Yousafzai, and Fiona Woods, a plastic surgeon who was awarded Australian of the Year in 2005 for her care of the Bali bomb survivors. Both were given different challenges which they overcame and made a real impact that made the world a better place.
What does International Women’s day mean to you?
It creates a moment, a global moment that reminds us all to celebrate the progress we have made and to challenge us to continue to close the gap. International Women’s Day is also an opportunity to make a statement about the incredible ways women add value to the world and to our organizations, each and every day.
Why do you think it’s important to involve more women in the tech industry?
We need to mirror the market we serve. When we don’t have women in the business, we miss the opportunity to tap into the best ideas from everyone. The technology sector by its very nature is progressive and innovative so it’s incredibly important to have a diverse cross section of women across our industry who can play a pivotal role in its future.
What advice would you give to girls who are thinking about working in the technology field?
Technology is the number one opportunity to close the gap, to give everyone a great education, to allow any business to compete on the global stage and to create experiences that amaze – be part of that. We have some of the greatest minds across all sectors working in technology. I want to encourage young women to use their imaginations and think outside the box – they can add incredible value in the technology space and will be welcomed with open arms.
At Microsoft, we strive to create an environment that helps us capitalize on the diversity of our people and the inclusion of ideas and solutions to meet the needs of our global and diverse customer base.
Find out more about our global diversity and inclusion programs here.
Read more about the experiences and inspirations from these female leaders in Microsoft Asia Pacific:
- Serena Cheung – Director of Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partners Group (SMS&P), Microsoft Hong Kong
- Mira Fitria Soetjipto – Human Resource Director, Microsoft Indonesia
- Sunny J. Park – Legal and Corporate Affairs Director, Microsoft Korea
- Rukmani Subramanian – Chief Marketing & Operations Officer, Microsoft Malaysia
- Jan Ferguson – Director of Customer & Partner Experience, Microsoft New Zealand
- Karrie C. Ilagan – Country General Manager, Microsoft Philippines
- Jessica Tan – Managing Director, Microsoft Singapore
- Flora Chen – Customer Service and Support Lead, Microsoft Taiwan
- Siriporn Pajharawat – Director of Developer Experience & Platform Evangelism (DX) Group, Microsoft Thailand
- Duong Thi Kim Anh – Human Resource Manager, Microsoft Vietnam