Bring it on!

March 09, 2018

Vaz Rosario at IWD2018 - MITT

IWD2018 keynote, Vaz Rosario, is conquering the world of tech one bold challenge at a time

More than 200 students, staff, and guests, draped in purple, diverse in background and gender, assembled in the Deltas for an International Women’s Day 2018 event co-hosted by MITT and ICTAM.

The gathering was part of a global celebration of women’s accomplishments throughout history and across nations, as well as a renewed call to action to “#PressforProgress” toward gender parity.

Holly Shimaro, a CAD Technician student and member of the Women in Trades and Technology (WITT) group at MITT, emceed the event and shared her perspective on what gender parity means to her.

“I was thinking about this and how it relates to my decision to study at MITT and here is what I came up with,” said Shimaro. “Women can build; women can weld; women can code; and women can draft. We are here at MITT to learn these skills. And when we graduate, we want the opportunity to pursue careers in our chosen fields of interest. That is why gender parity is so important to me.”

Kimberley Puhach, Director of Human Resources and Indigenous Inclusion, greeted the audience in Salteaux (Ojibway) before acknowledging the Traditional Lands on which MITT’s campuses reside, bringing another critical dimension to an event about inclusion. And at the conclusion of his remarks, President Ray Karasevich offered a telling assessment of the important role women have as leaders at MITT.

“At MITT, I depend on my executive team to help me with every facet of our operations,” said Karasevich. “I am proud to say that team is comprised of two men (including myself) and five women. In this context, I get to witness the inspiring leadership and commitment of strong female executives every day at MITT and I am confident that our future is in excellent hands.”

The celebration’s keynote address featured Vaz Rosario, who leads the engineering team at Microsoft responsible for keeping its mission-critical internal cloud hosting services running smoothly. A lighthearted quip at the beginning of Rosario’s remarks made clear how vital her skills and her role were to the success of the tech giant.

“If I or any member of my team make a mistake, the whole company comes to a halt,” said Rosario, adding. “So, no pressure!”

Rosario’s presentation focused on the many personal obstacles she overcame throughout her childhood and youth as she pursued the education and career she knew would afford her and her family a better life.

When she found that career with Microsoft, the struggles didn’t disappear.  

Rosario spoke with candor about standing up to male superiors at Microsoft who tried to downplay or dismiss her ability to generate the ideas that would help the company succeed. In each example, she spoke of how she earned their respect: her guts, her determination, but most importantly, by consistently delivering intelligent solutions. 

Rosario says she’s earned a reputation at Microsoft as the “conqueror” of problems. And because of her willingness to grapple with any challenging task, she’s also earned something else of great import to her—promotions, nine of them in as many years.

She said she wanted the crowd at MITT to, “… leave this room inspired and eager to go change the world.”

Like any good engineer, Rosario didn’t just issue a challenge. She also offered the blueprint for how to succeed:
Courage—it is not about stopping fear, it is about not letting fear stop you.
Persevere—don’t take “no” for an answer!
Believe—for those who believe . . . all things are possible!
Bring it on!—every time you see a problem, look it in the eye and say, “bring it on!” 

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