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Akhtar Badshah
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Keynote Session
Thursday, May 23, 2019 | 12:30 PM

Bending the Arc of Humanity – What I Learned From 10 Years at   Microsoft and How it Applies to Family Philanthropy

Akhtar Badshah

I have always believed in understanding the core of each organization and mapping decisions based on working from strengths rather than solving a problem.  I joined Microsoft to head their corporate philanthropy in 2004 when Microsoft was considered the evil empire and its reputation in the nonprofit community was very negative.  Upon joining, my friends in the nonprofit community were appalled that I would join the evil empire, and my friends in the corporate sector including those working at Microsoft did not give me more that 3 months there, as I would bring in a nonprofit anarchist approach and would just not fit in the corporate culture.  I led the program for 10 years and turned it into one of the most admired philanthropic programs in the world.

In this talk will share what I learned at Microsoft and how I applied Appreciative Learning (which is working from your strengths) in the programs we developed at Microsoft and launched one of the most effective philanthropic programs.  Also, I will share how these lessons are valid for how we help families and individuals manage and effectively deploy their wealth to increase societal good.




Akhtar Badshah

Akhtar Badshah is a seasoned executive with over 30 years of experience in international development, managing a corporate philanthropic program and co-founding a global nonprofit for social enterprise.

Dr. Badshah currently teaches at the University of Washington at the School of Business, Bothell campus and at the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. His areas of interest include: Global Business, Social Enterprise, Impact Investing, Technology and Development, Corporate Social Responsibility, Nonprofit Management and Leadership Development.  He is the founder and curator of Accelerating Social Transformation, a mid-career professional development certificate course on social impact. Dr. Badshah led Microsoft’s philanthropic efforts for ten years, where he administered the company's community investment and employee contributions.  He was instrumental in launching both Unlimited Potential and Youth Spark – the company’s focus to bring digital technology to the underserved communities and youth all over the world. Badshah is a doctoral graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  

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