Shelley McKinley ’91, vice president of Microsoft’s Technology and Corporate Responsibility Group and Austin College’s 2019 Todd A. Williams Executive-in-Residence speaker, encouraged students, faculty, and guests to be bold and curious in her lecture October 25.
The Todd A. Williams Executive-in-Residence Lecture connects Austin College students with leading business executives who speak about their practical life experiences in business and share lessons learned on their path to career success. The series is funded by gifts from Todd ’82 and Abby Williams of Dallas. Todd Williams continued his education at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania where he earned an MBA, and retired as a managing director at Goldman Sachs.
McKinley, who has a juris doctorate degree from Seattle University School of Law and a Master of Laws from the University of Washington School of Law, has practiced law in Germany and Seattle, was in-house counsel for Hasbro, and has been responsible for legal work at Microsoft in various areas.
She was joined by President Steven P. O’Day on stage for a conversation. He asked her to explain her path from Austin College to Microsoft.
She said she was never completely sure what she would be doing each time she took a new job. “I did a lot of reading,” McKinley said, “and, I believe I contribute as a problem solver and a critical thinker—these are the things you learn to do at Austin College.”
In her current position, McKinley leads in Microsoft’s mission to empower people and organizations to achieve more with technology that benefits society.
McKinley shared information about the ways Microsoft is using artificial technology to positively affect accessibility and environmental sustainability. She encouraged the students in attendance to look outside the boundaries of their majors and consider the many ways they can apply their skills. “I also think everyone should take time off after undergraduate and gather themselves,” she said. “I worked a year as a waitress and learned I’m not a very good waitress. But, I also learned other things about myself that helped prepare me for the next step.”
In addition to speaking at the Williams Executive-in-Residence luncheon in Wright Campus Center’s Mabee Hall, McKinley visited with business students in class and was keynote speaker at the Women Get Connected event on Thursday evening, October 24.
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 50 percent of students identifying as persons of color. The residential student body of approximately 1,300 students and more than 100 expert faculty members allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. This year, the campus recognizes 100 years of co-education and has had several opportunities to recognize the history of women and accomplishments of current alumnae. Austin College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.