Today is a day in an age where technology has conquered the world. People cannot walk outside of their homes without their iPods or their cell phones. Computers have become a main source of communication, books have been replaced by nifty electronic-book readers such as the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes and Noble Nook, and many blockbuster films have transcended from the 2-D stage to the new and improved 3-D/ IMAX stage. We all know about these new incredible innovations that are pouring into our daily lives, but what about the people behind these revolutionary technologies? What are their stories? Today the INSPIRE@BTHS Team looks into the powerful world of technology powerhouse Microsoft through the eyes of the Senior Director of the Microsoft-Information Technology Group, Nadine Kano.
When asked what she does for a living, Nadine Kano, who graduated from Princeton University with a BSE in Computer Science and received her MBA from Stanford University, stated “I have a very unusual job. One of the fun things about working at Microsoft is that I have always been able to design my own job. So when I interviewed for this position, they hired me because I had a different kind of experience from the other people on the team. I work in a team called Microsoft’s I.T. department. We are a very small team, and our job is to drive new technology adoption inside the company.”
Recently, Nadine Kano has been working on promoting Microsoft Azure, a cloud platform offering a wide range of Internet services that can be obtained from both on-premises environments as well as the Internet. Kano states “Microsoft Azure is the next big wave in business computing.” While promoting Microsoft Azure, Nadine Kano began working with top-tier movie director, James Cameron, to help his technology for his film, “AVATAR.” With the use of Microsoft Azure, Nadine Kano was an extremely important asset to James Cameron’s production process of “AVATAR”
Because of her involvement in various groundbreaking projects, Nadine Kano is one of the very few people in the world who genuinely love their job. She states “I love my job because it lets me be very creative and it lets me be entrepreneurial. I can decide ‘I think that is a really cool, strategic thing we could be doing’ and just go for it.” When the INSPIRE@BTHS Team asked Kano if she had ever considered any other career path, she instantly said “No! I actually don’t know how that happened. When I was a senior in college, I interviewed with a bunch of companies for a job. I interviewed with Microsoft, and they hired me. I said to myself ‘when I stop having fun or when I get something more interesting to do, I’ll go and do that.’ I’ve never stopped having fun and have never stopped enjoying it, so I just stuck with it. Maybe after I retire from Microsoft, I can go and do non-profit, but I love technology so much. For some people, “digital asset management” isn’t the sexy part of making a film. Many people say ‘I want be an actor’ or do the computer graphics, but to me the structure the keeps it all working is what is exciting.”
The INSPIRE@BTHS Team then went on to ask Nadine Kano a few questions out of the Marcel Proust Questionnaire. We believe that this is a great way to get to know our interviewee. Kano had some incredible answers to tell us.
Favorite fictional character: Scarlett O’Hara from the novel Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Scarlett is fierce, independent, beautiful, and she survived a lot of trauma in her life.
Your most treasured object: My cats.
The happiest moment of your life: I feel happiest right now. When I was your age, I used to look at women older than me and try to see what they were all about. I was always attracted to the women who were the most beautiful, and what made them the most beautiful was this bright light from within. I converted to Buddhism when I was 15, and it has taken me my entire life to feel that kind of, what we call, “life condition.”
Greatest extravagance: I have a really great house that I love, and I also love a good meal.
Favorite journey: I lived in Paris for three months on my sabbatical and went to culinary school there.
Greatest achievement: I didn’t have the best childhood. I had a tough childhood, and everybody will tell you sob stories about their childhood. But I now have the most amazing family. Everybody in my family has worked on themselves and on their issues. That is what I love about my parents. They always wanted life to be better for themselves and for my sister and me. It’s kind of a touchy-feely achievement. Happiness is the most important thing there is; it is the whole reason we are alive. Happiness is everything. The purpose of living is to find happiness, and I am not talking about “eh” happiness. I am talking about unshakable happiness no matter what. If your house burns down, you still have a center that nothing horrible that happens to you will destroy you. You can be your true self. So few people achieve that, and I guess maybe that is my greatest achievement, finding and being my true self.
Greatest influence(s): My parents and, going back to Buddhism again, Daisaku Ikeda. He is the leader of our international organization. We call him our “Sensei.”
Motto for life: It is better to live one day in honor than to live until 120 and die in disgrace. — Nichiren Daishonin
Despite the obstacles that were thrown her way, Nadine Kano was able to pick herself of the ground and be the one of the most genuine, intellectual and caring people on face of this earth. Nadine, you are a beautiful, confident and extraordinary woman. It was an absolute honor interviewing you. We are so excited to follow Nadine’s future endeavors. Congratulations, Nadine Kano on all of your brilliant successes and may you have many more in the future.
So everyone, it is better to live one day in honor than to live until 120 and die in disgrace. Be assertive. Be curious and most importantly, be inspired.
Adieu and Arrivaderci everyone! Until next time on INSPIRE@BTHS.