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MSFT alums chase more than stock prices

Older now and driven to translate both their good fortune and skills to do good, Microsoft alumni gather in Redmond for a reunion.

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Which has had a bigger impact, Excel or Climate Solutions, where he is now co-president of the board?

“Would Excel have happened anyway? Yes, Excel would have happened. The two guys who did VisiCalc [the first spreadsheet for the PC] really did something. It would not have happened without them," he says. "It’s not as clear to me that Climate Solutions would have happened. It's a bigger delta now. That said, I’m a dilettante working with people who have been at it [climate change] for many years.”

Bill Henningsgaard, a 14-year sales and marketing executive at Microsoft, thought for only a moment when asked to compare the impact at Microsoft and the impact he has now at Social Venture Partners and Eastside Pathways. Bill, his wife Susan and others founded Eastside Pathways to help the city of Bellevue, the school district, and leaders from more than 30 organizations to unite around common goals and to leverage their shared resources to support every child from “cradle to career.”

“This work now has a bigger impact on me. There was more scale at Microsoft, but I live this.”

By the time alumni head out, the campus is dark. From across the walkway I spot a yawning Microsoftee exiting his building, heading my way toward the parking garage.

The road ahead beckons.

Greg Shaw is the former publisher and CEO of Crosscut.


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