Five Questions with Dominic Carr
General Manager, Global Public Affairs, Microsoft
“I think about the world my young children will live in and how can I help shape that world.”
Dominic leads Microsoft’s Global Public Affairs team at Microsoft, overseeing global communications across a range of high-profile issues at the intersection of technology, corporate reputation and public policy including environmental sustainability, human rights, accessibility, affordable access, corporate social responsibility and Microsoft Philanthropies. He and his team work to help strengthen the company brand by telling the story of Microsoft’s role in the world, sharing the contributions the company makes to local communities, and advancing the company’s public policy agenda. At a time of rapid technological change this agenda is focused on ensuring technology is trusted, used responsibly, and leaves nobody behind.
Since joining Microsoft in 2003, how have you seen the company’s purpose evolve? And how has your role shifted and changed as a result?
We’ve always been a mission driven company. This started early on when Bill Gates had a bold vision to bring a PC to every desktop and every home. Back then we knew technology had the potential to change the world. But I think in the last five years we’ve become especially focused on a more profound purpose — using technology to truly empower everyone on the planet to achieve more. It’s clear and it really drives decision making at the company.
What is an initiative happening today at Microsoft that excites you as purpose-driven leader?
I’m particularly excited about Microsoft’s Airband Initiative. Broadband is as essential as electricity. Yet millions of people across the U.S. — particularly in rural communities — do not use the internet at broadband speeds. With an imperative to build awareness of the rural broadband gap and a new approach toward closing it, we’re working with private and public-sector organizations to close the digital divide for millions of people through affordable, reliable broadband internet access. We’ve set out to extend broadband access to 3 million underserved people in the U.S., and we just announced a plan to extend internet access to 40 million people worldwide, by 2022. Today we have partnerships covering more than 20 states, and we’re well on track to meet our target of broadband projects in 25 states by the end of the year. I like it for a number of reasons. It’s about partnership with diverse communities, government leaders and other companies. It really focuses on addressing underrepresented communities. And it’s making a difference.
What’s the best piece of career advice you wish you could give your younger self?
Assemble diverse experiences even if you aren’t sure where they’ll take you or how they’re directly related to your chosen career path. Different countries, different roles. Inevitably you’ll learn things, you’ll open doors you didn’t know existed and you’ll just lead a more interesting life.
OutsiDe of work, how does purpose play a part in your daily life?
I’m a father of two relatively young kids and I find myself thinking a lot about the world they’ll live in, and how can I help — even in small ways — shape that world. I also think a lot about how to help them begin to develop their own sense of purpose.
What is the last book you read that really inspired you and why?
It’s close to home, but one book that’s been top of mind for me the last few weeks is Tools and Weapons: The Promise and the Peril of the Digital Age by my Microsoft colleagues, Brad Smith and Carol Ann Browne. They make a strong case for the benefits technology can bring to society but are also clear eyed about the challenges and the need for both technology companies and governments to do more to address those challenges. We need leaders to embrace this level of awareness and transparency in order to create positive impact in the world.
Read how Microsoft and WE partnered build local and national momentum for Airband.
Follow Dominic Carr on social media