As a child of the 80s, Jim Lanctot’s love of tech started at a young age with video games from arcades to Atari evolving to Nintendo. In the 4th grade, his father brought home a desktop computer. Jim was enthralled in exploring the new device; it was like a puzzle for him. Gone were his days of drafting his homework on the typewriter. Now he had power–his backspace button and his voice as words on the screen in front of him.
In college, Jim was on a path to becoming a lawyer, which migrated into creative writing and English literature. As a creative, he wanted to seek out people who thought differently than him. He surrounded himself with analytical thinkers who could challenge the way he saw things, a circle of engineers. After he graduated with his liberal arts degree, he started working in marketing and eventually came to Microsoft as a recruiter.
Eventually, a friend within the company helped him explore a role within engineering HR talent acquisition. This job involved a deep partnership with the engineering leadership to understand how the company leverages their human capital to achieve their business goals. During this time, a client gave Jim feedback that would send him back to school for his master’s degree in organizational development, design and leadership development. While still working, he completed his master’s degree while being a husband, father to two small children and coaching Little League among a few things. He describes this time as one of the hardest in his life, but one of great personal growth and development. His passion for working with engineering never wavered; after graduate school, he transitioned to an HR role in the Windows Devices Group.
Jim’s role today in CSE fosters his passion for thinking differently and leverages his Microsoft recruiting experience of representing the company externally, as well as his design thinking and change management skills. He appreciates the side-by-side coding the organization does with customers.
One of his favorite collaborations was a project with 20th Century Fox before it was acquired by Disney. Their innovation lab was interested in AI and machine learning. They were looking for ways they could leverage both tools to help put censors on their collection of movies to ensure they were adhering to censorship rules around the world. Before, the process required someone watching and manually mark where indiscretions would arise. Jim considers this project an incredible opportunity because he collaborated with different people in CSE in Italy and the UK to bring together different skill sets from all to help create the best solution to automate their censorship process. Working together with the international teams really impressed the customer; living up to CSE’s mission of being customer obsessed. Jim loves constantly gaining insights on how Microsoft tech is being used to solve our customers’ most difficult business challenges.