We are grateful to count Microsoft as a partner since early 2017. They are sponsoring many aspects of our program such as the Selection Process and the Training in our three operating countries. We met Daiana Beitler – Regional Director for Microsoft Philanthropies in Asia – last April in Singapore.
Can you tell us more about yourself ?
I was born and raised in Montevideo, Uruguay. I have 2 children, Benjamin and Zoe, that are my biggest source of pride. They are 2.5 year old twins, so it’s a lot of fun to re-discover the world with them! I have lived and worked in many different countries, including the United States, England, Kazakhstan and now Singapore. After vacationing in Asia for a few years, my partner and I decided to relocate here in December 2015 and pursue new adventures as a family. Before joining Microsoft 18 months ago, I had the pleasure of working at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and for Tony Blair Associates in London. I actually lived there for almost 10 years, so it is, in my ways, my second home.
What is the mission of Microsoft Philanthropies?
I call myself very lucky to have this job! At Microsoft Philanthropies, we have the same mission than that of the company: to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more”. Our department, Microsoft Philanthropies, focuses on working with people that have historically been underserved: people from remote areas, ethnic minorities, young women and people with disabilities; people that, somehow, the “market” doesn’t reach.
In other words, we work to advance a future for everyone in Asia, making sure that technology does not leave anyone behind. I oversee the work in 18 countries across the region, focusing mostly on three critical areas:
First, we work to leverage the power of technology and cloud computing for solving key economic and development problems. We do this by partnering with strategic nonprofit organizations across the region as they tackle these critical issues, including education, health, disaster response, etc. To date, we have approximately 7,000 nonprofit organizations in Asia using the Microsoft cloud, thanks to our donation of approx. USD 700 million in products and services. Nonprofits have limited resources and often face the choice between investing in IT infrastructure and investing in programs to support the communities that they serve. We created the Technology for Good program to empower every nonprofit to “do more good.”
Secondly, we strive to create local economic opportunities by providing young people with the skills they need to fully participate in the digital economy. This includes granting access to digital literacy courses, technical skills training as well as computer science education, with the objective of creating concrete employment opportunities for them in the technology sector. In Asia alone, this program has benefited 34 million people to date, including 20 million young women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities. You know this program very well! (Editor’s note: this is a global initiative to increase access for all youth to learn computer science, empowering them to achieve more for themselves, their families and their communities. Microsoft’s support to Passerelles numériques is part of this project);
Finally, our team also mobilizes resources during times of humanitarian crises resulting from flooding, drought, disease and war. These complicated times call for unprecedented action and the coming together of private sector, public sector, and nonprofits to provide aid and relief to those affected. Our team in Asia works to empower organizations responding to emergency disasters, helping them drive deeper impact in their organizations and with those they help, and by empowering displaced populations through information resources and livelihood programs. Unfortunately, Asia gets more than our fair share of natural disasters, so we have focused much of our attention on this line of work.
So, yes… the scope is huge and keeps me quite busy but it is a luxury because there is so much we can do! It feels good to come to work every morning.
How did you hear about PN?
An executive at Microsoft APAC, who had met with PN Board Members, sent me a one-line email that read “I don’t understand why we are not working with this people.” I feel grateful for the support from this person, which triggered this partnership!
Why is PN appealing to you?
It is rare to find an NGO that shares the same mission and values and that can also understand the corporate world and our requirements. I think you get our concern and our focus to deliver concrete and tangible outcomes while being mindful of all the different types of support that young people need to be able to succeed in the global economy. We are aiming towards the same goal, and we do not need to tell you how to get it done, because you are already achieving it.
You visited PN Cambodia can you share your feelings?
Overall I was really impressed with everything I saw: the infrastructure, the quality of the staff and most importantly, how great your students were! I had conversations in English with second year students, and was fascinated to hear where they came from and what they aspire to do in the future. As you meet with them and understand PN’s program, and everything you do, you feel confident that those students will succeed! And that’s all you can ask for from a partner!
(from left to right) Saroem Run, External Relations Manager PN Cambodia, John Munger, General Manager PN Cambodia, Daiana Beitler, Regional Director for Microsoft Philanthropies in Asia, Fabrice Filachet, PN Education and Social Mission Manager and Maud Lhuillier, PN Asia Director
How would you project the future of our friendship, what are your expectations, vision?
I am looking forward to continuing this partnership. I don’t envision any drastic changes to what we are doing at the moment because it is very well aligned with our philosophy and the direction of our work. What I would love to do more of is best practice sharing across the region. Microsoft Philanthropies can help link you to other NGOs working on similar programs to make sure that all of us can join forces to change policies, and at the end, collectively “achieve more.”
This is my last question, what would be your 3 words that best qualify PN?
- Inclusive (people from different backgrounds and paths of life)
Thanks a lot Daiana for your time and all these kind words. Thanks again to Microsoft for the precious support they are offering to us and we hope our friendship will last for a long time!