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SWE Diverse Podcast Ep 229: Breaking Barriers in Tech With Kate Maxwell of Microsoft

Learn about emerging trends in AI, challenges and opportunities for woman in tech, and why chasing a sense of awe can change your life in our podcast interview with Kate Maxwell of Microsoft.

In this episode, Diverse features Kate Maxwell, CTO, Defense & Intelligence, Worldwide Public Sector, Microsoft.

Interviewed by FY24 SWE President Alexis McKittrick, Maxwell delves into the worlds of artificial intelligence and defense, reflects on her experiences as one of the “Top 100 Women in Tech,” and gives a sneak peek of her WE23 keynote.

She also shares about SWE’s impact on her career and outlines the tangible benefits that diversity brings to the tech industry.

Listen to the episode on SWE’s websiteSpotifyApple Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Speaker: Kate Maxwell

Kate Maxwell headshot

Kate Maxwell is the Chief Technology Officer for Defense & Intelligence in Microsoft’s Worldwide Public Sector, where she delivers on Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more.

Maxwell is an accomplished technology leader and strategist with almost 20 years of experience supporting allied Defense & Intelligence customers around the world. She has expertise in Public Sector digital transformation, unmanned systems, and innovation leadership and is a sought-after public speaker, author, and innovator. Maxwell holds two patents and speaks regularly on keynote stages and in conference proceedings both domestically and abroad.

Prior to joining Microsoft, Maxwell held various technical and engineering leadership roles within Raytheon Intelligence & Space, including Technical Director of the Navigation & Modernization Solutions product line ($2.4B), Chief Engineer of the Product Support business ($700M), and Founding Director of the Raytheon Innovation Center – a global corporate innovation engine that inspires and empowers employees to innovate, across all levels and functions.

Maxwell is a passionate advocate for STEM and a diversity & inclusion thought leader in the tech community. She serves on the Board of Directors for TechPoint Foundation for Youth, an Indiana-based non-profit connecting underprivileged youth with opportunities in STEM, as well as TechPoint, an organization focused on growing the Indiana tech ecosystem. She also launched the annual Maxwell Scholarship for Women in Computing and Engineering at her high school alma mater.

Maxwell was named #1 of the “Top 100 Women in Tech” by Technology Magazine in 2023 and one of “100 Women in Tech Leaders to Watch” by WomenTech in 2022 & 2023. She was honored as the Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ) Tech Executive of the Year in 2022, was a Forty Under 40 recipient in 2021, and a Woman of Influence in 2019. Kate is active in the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and is a two-time national award winner.

Maxwell holds a Master’s Degree in Systems Engineering from George Mason University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh- Johnstown. She is an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys skiing, paddle boarding, traveling, and finding adventure wherever life takes her.

Host: Alexis McKittrick

Alexis McKittrick headshot

Alexis McKittrick, Ph.D., a Society of Women Engineers 20-plus year and life member, has served as a volunteer leader in the organization for more than 15 years, holding roles that span all facets of the Society.

Prior to being elected president, Dr. McKittrick served as president-elect and spent two terms on SWE’s board of directors, including serving as secretary and leading the senate as speaker. Highlights from her other SWE leadership roles include chairing two committees; serving on two governance task forces; and serving as governor of the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Dr. McKittrick is currently a program manager in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Geothermal Technologies Office. She serves on the SWE board of directors in her personal capacity.

Prior to joining the DOE, Dr. McKittrick served as a senior researcher at the IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., where she conducted nonpartisan research and analysis for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and various federal agencies. She also worked in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Change Division, focusing on greenhouse gas analysis and policy for the oil and gas, chemicals, and semiconductor sectors.

Dr. McKittrick holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where she was a Meyerhoff Scholar.

In 2014, she was presented with the D.C. Council of Engineering and Architectural Societies’ Young Engineer of the Year Award and received SWE’s Emerging Leader Award in 2019.


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