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Microsoft in your community

Getting to know datacenter employees: Kristin Puleo

Datacenter Employee Spotlight is designed to bring recognition both to DC Techs who went through the Datacenter Academy or support their peers through mentorship and volunteerism. The spotlights also work to illuminate real-life examples of pathways into IT careers and provide potential role models to those looking to access to the digital economy.

Introducing Kristin Puleo

Learning and Development Technical Trainer

Southern Virginia

Employee since 2020

Early days

Kristin Puleo was born and raised in Southside Virginia. While she has a lot of family there and likes the area, one of the pitfalls Kristin notes is that there aren’t a lot of career opportunities. She went to Virginia Tech and got her undergraduate in biological sciences, but wasn’t interested in IT until later in life.

The path to technology

When Kristin graduated from Virginia Tech, she struggled to find a career path that really excited her in the biological sciences field in her area. She decided to make a pivot when a friend introduced her to the Microsoft Datacenter Academy at Southside Virginia Community College in January 2019. As it turned out, Kristin really liked the work and was good at it. Through the Datacenter Academy, she started an externship program shadowing Microsoft employees and got to see what it would be like to work in a Microsoft datacenter. She fell in love with it and feels like she has found her place and a family within Microsoft. “That’s what made me want to stick it out and stick around, and so far it’s working out in my favor.”

Kristin sees many parallels between biological sciences and IT. She appreciates that both are about problem solving in an ever-changing landscape. She enjoys that she is always learning something new at the datacenter.

Superpowers

“I’ve always been able to see things from someone else’s perspective, I think that’s why I’m really good at taking difficult concepts and explaining them in simplified ways that are not overwhelming to someone basically coming off the street.” As an L&D trainer, Kristin gets to do a lot of these classroom and on-the-floor types of training. She says that the one thing you have to understand is that you’ll never know everything. The work is complicated and there are a lot of moving parts, and Kristin enjoys teaching others. “I was in those shoes [as the new person] not long ago, so I like it when I get to be the person that gives [new hires] that one little piece of that puzzle that makes it all make sense.”

A day in the life

One of the things Kristin likes about working at the datacenter is that every day is different and she never gets bored. There’s always something new that she has to figure out or a new team that she gets to work with. On a typical day, Kristin interacts with new hires, onboarding them to their new job and welcoming them to the Microsoft world. “I’m their go-to, their buddy for the first couple of weeks while they are getting introduced to the world of datacenters, and get them set up for the first day on their actual job.” Beyond that, Kristin gets to work on many different projects that help develop the workforce like a certification program or helping to develop new content and different opportunities for people to learn and develop.

Favorite childhood food

Kristin’s favorite childhood food is still her favorite food—Brunswick stew. Brunswick stew is a regional dish named after its birthplace of Brunswick County near the Microsoft datacenter she works at. Chicken, vegetables, corn, butter beans, potatoes, tomatoes, butter, and more go into this stew that locals take very seriously. “It’s a comfort food and I have always loved it.” It has a lot of good memories tied to it for Puleo, not just of eating it but in the cooking of it as well.
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