“The moment I shared the news of my pregnancy with the recruiter was the moment I started to build a connection between my career and my personal purpose.”

HR Business Partner and mom of two, Estefania (Fany) Canosa advocates for women taking on new challenges both in the workplace and on the homefront.

I’m a mom of two — my son is six years old and my daughter is almost three. When I first became a mom, I was working in the pharmaceutical industry and traveling a lot. At that time, I began refocusing my purpose and decided I needed more balance. That’s where Microsoft came in.

When I was interviewing for an HR position at Microsoft, I learned I was pregnant with my daughter in the middle of the hiring process. My first thought was that I should withdraw from the process. Fortunately, I reconsidered and shared with the recruiter that I was indeed pregnant and wanted to move forward with the process. His response completely surprised me. He congratulated me and said that my pregnancy didn’t change anything and that Microsoft also wanted to move forward with the interview process, understanding that if I were the candidate chosen, it would be because I would be the best candidate for the role, regardless of my pregnancy status. The moment I shared the news of my pregnancy with the recruiter was the moment I started to build a connection between my career and my personal purpose.

As an HR professional, my goal is to bring awareness to accelerating the development of every person, especially women here at Microsoft–and beyond Microsoft. Because one of the challenges our industry faces is increasing representation of women and in order to make that happen, we have to do something different. We have to amplify the universe of women in our industry.

Last year, I had the opportunity to create a mentoring program for women at Microsoft here in Chile. The program, called WomEmpower, is an internal network of mutually supporting each other to accelerate the career development of our women workforce. The program has a cascade approach. It started with 11 women going through the mentoring process, they were nurtured as mentors through an upskilling academy and then those 11 women guided other 22 mentees — and a year later, we’re still going strong. As co-chair of the Women Chapter in Chile, I’m honored to contribute to the development of every woman at Microsoft Chile.

Also as a member of the GLEAM (Global LGBTQIA+ Employees and Allies at Microsoft) employee resource group, I’m very proud to say that our local chapter and Leadership Team publicly supported the equal marriage law in Chile. Within the framework of Microsoft’s inclusion and diversity policies, Microsoft Chile made a public statement supporting the passing of the equal marriage law in Chile in 2021. We joined more than 30 organizations and companies, both international and Chilean, sharing our support for same sex marriage. The response was incredible, and by the end of last year, the law was approved.

When I think about inclusion, I think about empathy. Inclusion is when I care about what other people think and what they feel. For instance, you can run a meeting and just talk to yourself. But if you care about inclusion, you are thinking about the person in the meeting who’s silent. How are they feeling? It’s considering every person and making sure they have the opportunity to be part of decision-making.

If a company, no matter the industry, doesn’t have inclusion, then you’re simply copying and pasting ideas. When we bring in many ideas and perspectives from many backgrounds, ethnicities, and genders — and remove our biases — only then can we build something new.

For more stories like Fany’s visit: aka.ms/InclusionIsInnovation/Women