As director of civic engagement for Microsoft in Chicago, Shelley Stern Grach guides the company’s philanthropic efforts with a focus on digital literacy for women and minorities.
Microsoft sponsored programs include YouthSpark, which provides digital literacy grants and software to non-profits focused on youth development, and DigiGirlz, which teams girls with women mentors in technology.
“Technology is not a choice anymore. It really is the baseline for success, especially in careers in the 21st century,” she told Blue Sky. “I’m working with the mayor’s office and the Chicago Public Schools on computer science for all, a major challenge with girls and minorities because they haven’t had the exposure to what the career opportunities might be.”
Stern Grach serves on the board of the Women’s Business Development Center, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and Skills for Chicagoland’s Future. She is also an acting commissioner for the State of Illinois Workforce Board.
She joined Microsoft in 2003 as citizenship director, a position she held until 2014 when she became director of civic engagement. Stern Grach is a former AT&T executive and a past board chair of Lumity and Chicago Career Tech.
She has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Oakland University.