It’s hard to underestimate the impact that people can have on us in our formative years. Huiwen Ru, who spent several years working in identity and access management and is now a Principal Software Engineering Manager on the Singularity team at Microsoft, is a living example of how important mentorship and allyship are to the future of our industry. Young people who have unique and extraordinary talents don’t always get the inspiration and support they need to develop them, but stories like Huiwen’s give me hope. From an early age, Huiwen loved math. With encouragement from her family, teachers, and friends, Huiwen channeled her love for math into an amazing education and a trailblazing career at Microsoft.
In some ways our stories are parallel. We both emigrated from China to study computer science in the United States and joined Microsoft full-time to work on technology that was just getting started—I worked on Remote Desktop while she worked on real-time communications. We both got to experience what it’s like to build a business over many years and then transition our skills to a very different area. Until recently, Huiwen led a group working on one of the most critical aspects of our service: platform resilience. She shares her expertise and experience with the next generation by mentoring them in math.
Huiwen’s interview with Nadim took place before she moved to her new role. It has been edited for clarity and length. We’ve included some video snippets so you can learn more about her personal journey, the work she did forMicrosoft identity and access management, and why she finds being a mentor so fulfilling.