Women in STEM - Dona Sarkar
Dona Sarkar has become a very public advocate for digital accessibility and designing products and experiences for people with disabilities.
Dona started her journey into tech by studying for her Bachelors Degree in Computer Science at the University of Michigan. She then became a software engineer at Microsoft and expanded her roles into developer and community relations for their Windows Insider program, and most recently, the Power Platform (low-code/no-code programming). She is now serving as the Director of Technology for Microsoft Accessibility.
Diagnosed with a learning disability years ago, Dona recently decided to publicly acknowledge her dyslexia - a cognitive disability - when she realized that as a leader, it was important to normalize discussing her struggles and the accommodations she needs in order to thrive in tech. She has become a highly in-demand public speaker on topics like mental health in the workplace, digital accessibility practices, and overcoming imposter syndrome, as well as an evangelist for why inclusive design is so important.
In addition to her work for Microsoft, Dona has also authored many books, including “Model 47: A Startup Storybook,” which is an encyclopedia of sorts for the technology that entrepreneurs can use to help them through the process of starting a business.
That entrepreneurial insight comes to Dona honestly, through her work launching a fashion line of accessible clothing called Prima Dona Studios. The designs are all hand-tailored and they also offer a made-to-measure option for any variations people may need for accommodation.
If you’d like to learn even more, check out this highlight article on Dona released by Microsoft.
And you can also watch this recent Tech A11Y Summit presentation on YouTube: