Sara Ford worked at Microsoft in Redmond for 8.5 years. She loved every minute of her career as a Tester at Visual Studio and then as a Program Manager at Codeplex.
She became an expert in accessibility, making it possible for blind people to write code using Visual Studio. In fact, she was so passionate about her job that she bungee jumped off a 630-foot building while screaming, “GO CODEPLEX.”
Then Sara up and moved to Microsoft Silicon Valley for her next position.
POP QUIZ: Why did Sara do this?
Her beloved New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl and she started to think about how much she missed the warm weather of her youth in Waveland, Mississippi.
Sara is training for her 3rd degree black belt in Shotokan karate and the world headquarters of her grandmaster is near Microsoft Silicon Valley.
She was very excited about the opportunity to be a developer evangelist, and then drive the accessibility effort for massive products like Office for iPad.
Her background in accessibility inspired Sara to seek a Master’s Degree with an emphasis on Human/Computer interaction at San Jose State. Her thesis is on “the optimal practice schedule for how to acquire skill when learning to juggle.”
The correct answer is: all of the above.
Microsoft Silicon Valley is the nexus of Sara’s passions, where her work interests intersect with all of her cultural, environmental, and educational desires.
Sara explains, “In karate, the number one tenet is ‘seek perfection of character.’ Therefore, everything I’ve done to this point with accessibility, why I went into the Masters Degree, how I do my current role as a PM on Outlook.com, and how I approach software in general is that I want to create the ideal, perfect experience for the end user.”
She continues, “I want my work to be like my karate. I am always looking how to improve and how to learn and I am finding all of that here at Microsoft Silicon Valley.”
Meanwhile, Sara has also taken the time to participate in significant charitable causes. Her hometown of Waveland was literally “ground zero” for Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in 2005 and it was severely damaged by the storm. Sara wrote a couple of books about Visual Studio and donated all proceeds to the “Save Waveland Scholarship Fund” at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Microsoft has matched all of Sara’s donations for a total contribution of approximately $50,000 dollars.
Sara is clearly a contender for the title of the World’s Most Interesting Woman. We’re looking forward to see what she does next.