Speaker Spotlight: Q&A with Shaloo Garg, Managing Director, Silicon Valley, Southwest @ Microsoft for Startups

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Shaloo Garg speaks to us about her role in the tech industry and shares her thoughts on Women of Silicon Valley, taking place May 2-3 in San Francisco.

Shaloo Garg is Managing Director, Microsoft for Startups, Silicon Valley and Southwest region. She is responsible for startup business strategy and growth in the global mecca of innovation, Silicon Valley, among other markets. She has spent almost 2 decades in the high-tech industry in various roles: corporate development, startups, enterprise GTM and strategic partnerships.

Microsoft-Logo-Transparent-BackgroundShaloo is a firm believer that technology’s best use case is leveraging it to impact pressing social issues around the world like education, clean water, energy, hunger, and poverty. She is a “Champion of Innovation” at UN Women and President of the UN Women Silicon Valley Chapter and has been featured in many global publications and blogs for her technology and innovation work in developing countries. Her passions are summed up in 5 hashtags: #kidsandfamilyanddogs, #technology, #socialimpact, #allthingsfood and #yoga.

Shaloo will be appearing at Women of Silicon Valley this year as a keynote speaker. She will be sharing her knowledge on why leaders need to continue to evolve and lift the value of EQ (emotional quotient), in addition to the need for tech innovators to excel in intuitive creativity and reiterate the need for greater diversity.

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We caught up with our keynote speaker ahead of the conference, here's what she had to say. Let’s hear it from Shaloo!

What drives you in your daily life? 

I view my life in 3 buckets: Personal, professional, and then what I like to call “Living Life King-Size”, which is my work around social impact. In my personal life, I am super busy with 2 energetic kids, a husband, and a dog. It's yoga that keeps me grounded!

In my professional life at Microsoft, I’m driven by my ability to come up with creative ways to enable founders to positively impact their business decisions and technological advancements. I’m blessed to work for a company like Microsoft, that holds values which are similar to mine. For instance, supporting Diversity and Inclusion and AI for Good, among others.

In “Living Life King-Size” is where I find my passion outlet. I’m always looking for technological solutions that can help younger generations – especially girls in developing economies. It can be as simple as digital literacy through Big Data and ML, or predicting hunger and poverty through AI-based algorithms so that it can be mitigated in advance or avoided, or alerting sex trafficking by using mobile-based technology. These 3 buckets really complete the circle of my life.

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What’s a typical day like for you at Microsoft for Startups?

At Microsoft for Startups, we are doing some pretty amazing stuff! Our business philosophy is centered around founders' success, so every strategy or every move we make, it revolves around enabling founders to be successful - from both a business and technology perspective.

Microsoft for Startups is authentic to Microsoft. We are a company built on partnerships and we’ve designed how we support startups in the same vein. It’s holistic across technology and business enablement. Our program is specifically designed to give startups what they tell us they need most – and that’s access to customers, large enterprise customers. With 30k sellers, we have designed a streamlined path for innovative startups ready to scale the opportunity to sell alongside Microsoft

We incentivize our global sellers to connect innovative startup solutions to customers who are in the process of digital transformation. It’s a true partnership and it’s our customers who win in the end. My typical day at Microsoft is spent enabling our founders to take advantage of this unique offering and get them on track for success, which is absolutely fun and I love it!

Why have you decided to get involved with Women of Silicon Valley?

I relate to the mission of Women of Silicon Valley since it’s a curated way of getting the right people in the room. The topics are thoughtfully addressed not only on emerging technology, but also leadership and growth.

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What is your Women of Silicon Valley talk about?

My talk at Women of Silicon Valley is about evolving traits of a leader. Leadership is not necessarily about the number of people that report to you – it is more about driving a strategy to execution – not alone, but with trust and power in people around you. In my view, leaders need 3 skills to beat the odds:

  1. Effective leaders embrace success or failure equally. They always do a thorough risk assessment before placing any bets. Once they have decided, they go ahead and place their chips and accept the results, positive or a constructive learning curve.
  2. Good leaders also have a high EQ, they cultivate emotional intelligence and are not necessarily a perfectionist or seeking to manage one. They build teams with a unique and diverse group of people with distinct personalities, motivations, and skills.
  3. Successful leaders live in the moment. If they are in a meeting with a customer or an employee, their mind, eyes, and ears are present for them. They value connecting with that person/s in that moment and being present. 

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Now Shaloo, you are passionate about Diversity and Inclusion. What is D&I in your view?

Look, let’s accept it. D&I is an over-used term today. The moment you say D&I, the first thing that comes to mind is women! But, D&I is not just about women. It is about cultivating an all-inclusive behavior. That includes people of color, disabled people, those from underserved communities, and youth, to name a handful. So, at the end of the day, D&I is treating people and groups fairly based on their unique characteristics, rather than on stereotypes.

It is also about personalizing individuals, understanding, and valuing the uniqueness and accepting them as they are, leveraging the thinking of diverse groups for smarter ideation and decision making that reduces the risk of being blindsided. This is just good business. This is borne out by research that shows how diverse founding teams outperform the market average.

You belong to the field of innovation. Do you think women are crucial in bringing about innovation?

Absolutely! Women are very crucial for innovation. Diversity in this field lends to radical innovation, which causes a shift in the introduction of new features that could result in emergence of completely new markets. When women’s ideas and experiences influence innovation, it brings about transformative change to the infrastructure that shapes our future. The burden lies upon leaders like us – both men and women who have a platform to influence change and promote women as innovators and entrepreneurs, investing in innovations and technologies that meet the needs of women.

Unite with tech superheroes like Shaloo Garg at Women of Silicon Valley 2019

Taking place over 2 daysWomen of Silicon Valley boasts over 50 sessions100 speakers, and 1,500 attendees. Be inspired by the ecosystem's most influential women in technology, network with like-minded female founders, liaise with top Silicon Valley tech companies and enhance your skills portfolio in a passion-charged atmosphere. Don't miss out!

We're less than 3 weeks away from Women of Silicon Valley, book now!

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