Microsoft’s Miri Rodriguez Stresses On Women Honing Their Own Stories
Miri Rodriguez is a creative journalist and storyteller for Microsoft Corporation. She is involved in telling stories in IT of how Microsoft uses its own technologies so other enterprises can learn from the company’s digital transformation journey. Rodriguez hopes to document the stories of Microsoft’s engineers and their struggles, pitfalls, and challenges – “We want other IT Pros to learn from our stories and connect with our human side, not just to get excited about our products,” she says.
The award-winning journalist was born in the slums of Caracas, Venezuela to humble parents who became missionaries. Their family of five began travelling around Venezuela and other Latin American countries to lend a hand to those less fortunate and bring a message of hope. She remembers her childhood as delightful and remarkable and it cemented fascinating memories and seeded deep core values of selflessness and servanthood to others.
Miri says, “In the early 90s, my father was asked to join a church as head pastor in Miami, so we moved to the United States—much to my negative predisposition and disapproval. These were strenuous times for our family in our quest to adjust to a new language and way of living. Though we had managed to get by financially, mundane aspects of life continued to be a struggle and my teenage years were filled with attempts to get scholarships for college (as my family could not afford to pay for it) and working up to three jobs at a time…sometimes to sustain my selfish juvenile desires, like a new pair of jeans. I met my husband at age 17 and we were married three years later. So my college years were a mix of full-time school, work, ministry and wife duties, but I enjoyed each of these greatly (though I could have used a bit more sleep!).”
Prior to her current stint, Rodriguez led three social care teams responding to thousands of customer inquiries through social channels in Global English, Spanish and Portuguese. Her work was recognized as Best Practice at the annual Microsoft Think Tank Summit and won her a marketing award for effectively engaging partnerships with internal teams to enable and drive a unified social voice and customer experience.
“Storytelling is a business strategy at Microsoft, far away from content marketing as most people may see it. Stories are what make people care about information (that can sometimes be overwhelming, over techy or boring).”
She elucidates, “Storytelling is a business strategy at Microsoft, far away from content marketing as most people may see it. Stories are what make people care about information (that can sometimes be overwhelming, over techy or boring). At Microsoft, we have different disciplines for storytelling including brand marketing which focuses on telling stories of people of action.”
As a public speaker, getting to share stories on stage has been and continues to be a noteworthy experience for her. Rodriguez has been grateful to be invited to speak and contribute to a cause or an organization. She never takes public speaking for granted and every time she steps on a stage, she is filled with wonder about how many new souls she will get to touch with her message and eventually meet and connect with.
In the current political climate, with Donald Trump as the US president, do women have to fight harder to be taken seriously and have their seat at the table? Is it even harder for women of colour?
She says with or without Donald Trump, women have always had to fight harder, “and you can multiply that by ten if you are not fair-skinned.”
She adds on an optimistic note, “But the bigger the struggle, the bigger the reward. There is so much beauty and strength in being a woman. Women were purposefully engineered with remarkable abilities for a divine mandate and we should not only own that, but let that be our driving force as we move toward an equal future. Let us draw from that inner-strength to showcase our capabilities while maintaining the elegance and confidence that makes us who we are so we can leave the world a better place than we found it.”
As a personal brand coach, her desire is that every person can hone into their unique, individual stories… She says for women, this is more complex because we innately tend to be more modest and have a hard time promoting ourselves.
As a personal brand coach, her desire is that every person can hone into their unique, individual stories, personalities and skill set in order to effectively build their personal brand. She says for women, this is more complex because we innately tend to be more modest and have a hard time promoting ourselves. Storytelling can offer a comfortable platform for women to share their wins and successes and this can help put them on the map to get the desired job position, expand their network or anything else they set their hearts on.
“Storytelling for personal branding is all about how you weave the important aspects of who you are into the tapestry of your story (life transformative moments, background, values, personality) and leverage the digital channels to showcase the narrative. Just as brands are using digital storytelling to effectively connect with partners and customers, women can use it to expand their network and create themselves new opportunities.”
Having always placed family first, Rodriguez who is involved in a lot of philanthropic work envisions herself on a beach, reading a book and sipping a margarita five years down the line. It will be one of the biggest milestones for her family. Her boys will be off to college and motherhood will look a lot different for her.
“I have always placed my family first and that has meant perhaps not taking a “dream job” that required a lot of travel or too much time away from home. As the boys have gotten older and more self-sufficient, I have given myself more permission to do “me” things.”
She concludes saying, “I have always placed my family first and that has meant perhaps not taking a “dream job” that required a lot of travel or too much time away from home. As the boys have gotten older and more self-sufficient, I have given myself more permission to do “me” things. These mostly include public speaking engagements which require travel and spending time coaching others for personal branding. I enjoy both of these a lot…so my hope is that in five years I can dedicate myself full-time to these activities, having incorporated a solid tenure of over 20 years in Corporate America which brings invaluable wisdom.”