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Dona Sarkar: Her favorite Windows 10 feature, her Microsoft experience, and more

Periodically, Microsoft provides insights into someone important to the development of Windows 10. Known as Windows 10 Team Profiles, past subjects have included Windows & Devices Group Program Manager Anthony Kinsey and Senior Program Manager of Awesomeness (seriously) Brandon LeBlanc. The profiles pop up periodically in the Windows 10 Feedback Hub, and help Windows 10 users get a glimpse into the personalities behind their chosen operating system.

The latest Windows 10 Team Profile covers newly-anointed Queen of the Big Red Button Dona Sarkar, who took over as Windows Insider chief from the illustrious Gabe Aul. Sarkar has become an overnight sensation in the Windows Insider program, pushing the new build button at odd hours and keeping us all aware of the status of Insider builds.

The profile presents a number of questions and answers that help provide some background on who Dona Sarkar really is and why she’s in the position she’s in. This isn’t the first profile of Sarkar–Microsoft News Center writer Vanessa Ho put together her own around the time the Aul-Sarkar transition was announced.

By way of background Sarkar has been with Microsoft for 11 years, having worked on some of the innermost pieces of Windows such as the File Explorer and the backup/restore functionality. She describes her role Windows Insider lead as being responsible for ensuring that the Windows Flight team is always working to provide Windows preview builds to the Windows Insider team and then to Insiders themselves.

In addition, Sarkar monitors the Feedback hub and various other sources of insight on build quality and makes sure that information makes it back to the right people. Here are some interesting tidbits but be sure to visit the Feedback Hub for the entire interview.

What’s your favorite feature on Windows 10?

Practically speaking it’s Backup/Restore (and NOT just because it was my feature!). I install so many builds so often that it’s the only way to quickly get up and running and validating.

Aesthetically speaking, it’s transparent tiles on Windows Phone. The Insiders crew showed me just how creative they can be with layouts and now I’m incredibly inspired. I really enjoyed this past weekend’s “show off your home screen” Tweetstorm!

Describe one of your favorite experiences with the Insider community:

June 1, 2016 when Gabe handed me the big red button. The outpouring of support and welcome was otherworldly and really fueled me to do everything in my power to provide great experiences to my passionate Windows Insider peeps so that we can build the best Windows *ever* together.

Without your phone or computer, what gadgets can’t you live without and why?

Toss up between my Kindle and my sewing machine. I’m a voracious reader and am always reading 3 different things at once. I also like to upload my writing works-in-progress to Kindle and have it read aloud to me via text-to-speech to see if it “sounds” right. My sewing machine opened up a whole new world of creativity for me a few years ago and it’s empowering for me to be able to make whatever I dream up in the fashion world.

What is your current work setup?

Highly mobile. I need the energy of other people around me to get anything done. Being locked in an office by myself has never worked for me so I tend to seek out open spaces like lobbies, lounges, kitchens, cafeterias, etc to loiter in to get it done.

Since I work with so many different teams, I’m on the move all day. All I need is an outlet and a chair. Once I get my Surfacebook, my Asus Zenbook and my phone setup, I’m in work mode.

How do you start your day?

I’m a pretty early riser. Sometime between 4 and 5 am, I’m up. My very demanding cat Ash is on my lap, Americano in my hand, my passion project of the day is in progress. I’ll definitely get completely wrapped up in my work and thankfully my husband will make me breakfast at some point :)

What do you like about life on campus?

How much stuff there is going on every day to support our diversity of interests and passions. For example, my husband is a professional chef AND a software engineering manager. My reports have been musicians, teachers, film-makers, graphic designers…on top of being software engineers. This has manifested itself in how the company takes care of us as holistic beings.

In the past 2 months, I have attended a cooking class, several musical performance, an art show, a farmer’s market, a lecture by a NASA astronaut, a wearables workshop…all within 10 feet of where I was working that day on campus.

What do you do outside of work?

I write books (both fiction and non), design fashion and have co-founded Fibonacci Sequins, a style blog to celebrate STEM. I also travel the world speaking and engaging with people on their career and business goals.

What is your most memorable moment at Microsoft?

I would say the handover of the Big Red Button was pretty momentous, generally my job changes don’t end up in the news. Other than that, I would say #HoloHacks, the first community organized HoloLens hackathon which was a few weeks ago. I poured my soul into that project and was so happy to see it received well.

So far, it appears that the Windows Insider program is in good hands. While you’re waiting for a new build to push out, check out the profile. Let us know in the comments what you think about her performance so far.

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