Location: Greater Seattle, WA

URL: http://www.microsoft.com

Number of years in current position: 6

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 17

Twitter Handle: @Cindy_Bates

Fun Facts:
Is fluent in another language
Enjoys public speaking
Has an advanced degree
Has an MBA
Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Has a personal mantra
Has completed a marathon
Can ride a motorcycle
Had a lemonade stand
Has a blog

Biography and Background:
Cindy Bates is vice president of Microsoft's U.S. Small and Midsized Business & Distribution group. Prior to joining Microsoft 17 years ago, Bates was senior vice president in Merrill Lynch & Co's. Investment Banking, Retail and E-Commerce Industry Group. She holds a B.A. in international economics and a B.S. in molecular biology from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from Harvard University.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
Microsoft and the entire technology industry are undergoing a critical time of transformation to the cloud. My team has worked hard to help partners consider and navigate what this means to their businesses. We've launched the following programs to help partners grow: Marketing SureStep, Microsoft Community Connections, Ready-to-Go Marketing portal and SMB Live events. • Marketing SureStep, helps partners address digital transformation in three areas: telling their stories, targeting the right customers, and measuring success. Through Marketing SureStep we've engaged 5,400 partners since January 2016. • Microsoft Community Connections continues to educate small businesses on how technology can empower their businesses to grow. MCC directly connects Microsoft Partners with SMBs through events produced in partnership with local business organizations. • Ready-to-Go Marketing portal reflects our continued investment to empower partners with marketing collateral and event support to engage with SMB customers. This program has helped drive leads to partners and lets them focus more time on doing what they do best: developing and providing technology solutions. • SMB Live events, in its second successful year, delivers localized partner-focused events in cities from coast to coast. Each event provides a day of technical training alongside in-depth training around modern marketing.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
Our goal is to help our partners break though, reach new customers and grow profitable cloud businesses. There is so much opportunity for partners to build unique and differentiated solutions on Microsoft Cloud services; from building backup solutions on Microsoft Azure, to building line of business applications using Dynamics CRM Online, to advancing customer productivity with custom solutions on Microsoft Office 365. There are near-endless possibilities and I'm truly excited about the year ahead as we look to revolutionize the small business market.

What honors, awards or commendations have you won over the past year?
Last year, my blog was recognized by BizTech Magazine as a must-read small business IT blog, and by the Huffington Post as a top small business blog. I'm deeply appreciative of the opportunity to create with my team a resource for SMBs to find advice and inspiration. It's also nice to be able to offer a platform to highlight the hard work of SMB owners across the country, which is what we're doing through our 10 Under 10 campaign. We're showcasing 10 standout SMBs with 10 or fewer employees who have harnessed the power of technology to achieve success.

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
I admire women who are inventive and self-made. Spanx Inc.'s founder, Sara Blakely, continues to motivate me as a positive example for other small business owners and creators who were told "no" or turned away but continued to persist. With just $5,000 and a product she believed the world needed, Sara created an entirely new category. She's since become the first woman to join the Giving Pledge, a challenge Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have positioned to the world's billionaires to give at least half their wealth to charity. She also recently made Inc.'s list of self-made female billionaires.

What advice would you give to young women who want to begin careers in technology?
I can't overstate the importance of STEM education. With a strong STEM core, you bring a unique problem-solving ability that employers today are looking for. I'm thrilled we're seeing more women taking an early interest in technology. I encourage them to take risks and ask questions. Being inquisitive has led to some of the biggest tech advances to date. Uncharted Play is a great example. Founder, Jessica Matthews, began with a simple question - What if you could solve real issues through play? She found the answer in what has become a successful company centered around an energy-harnessing soccer ball.

If you could be any movie character for one day in real life, who would you be and why?
I have a vivid memory of my first time watching Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra. Since then, I've been fascinated by ancient Egypt and Cleopatra's role as queen. I think it would be interesting to play her in real life for a day because she was one of the earliest examples of a tenacious female leader and showed remarkable strength in times of turbulence. If not her, I'd go for Bruce Willis' character in Armageddon simply for the thrill of riding a meteor!

If you could travel to a city you've never been to before, all expenses paid, where would you go and why?
Australia has long been near the top of my bucket list as I have a very good friend who lives there and is always encouraging a visit. I would love to snorkel while viewing the living masterpiece that is the Great Barrier Reef. I've also heard great things about the food and wine. New Zealand is another location I'd like to visit. As a Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones fan, I think it would be incredible to take a guided tour of the breathtaking landscapes that were featured in some of my favorite scenes.

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