Working

From a Tech Giant to the World’s Largest Philanthropy to a Local D.C. Nonprofit

Meet Patty Stonesifer, who moved from Microsoft to the Gates Foundation and on to Martha’s Table.

Listen to Working via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.

In a special five-episode mini-season of Working, we talk with people who have had “second acts”—that is, people who made a dramatic career pivot at some point in their working lives.

Patty Stonesifer was running a computer-book publisher in Indianapolis when Microsoft recruited her to run its publishing division. In 10 years at the company, she rose to senior vice president of the Interactive Media Division—where one of the sites she launched was Slate. (Stonesifer is now married to the magazine’s founding editor, Michael Kinsley.) When she left the tech giant, Bill Gates recruited her to lead what became the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. After a decade there, she left to become the president and CEO of Martha’s Table, a D.C. nonprofit. She has also served as chair of the Smithsonian Institution Board of Regents, was appointed by President Barack Obama to lead the White House Council for Community Solutions, and is the lead director of the corporate board of Amazon.com.

Stonesifer talks about how she found herself on Microsoft’s leadership track, how she knows when it’s time to make a career move, and the importance of finding a job that makes you want to skip to work.

You can email us at working@slate.com. Podcast production by Jessamine Molli.