Nina Harding: Building Partnerships for Collective Success

Nina Harding | Corporate Vice President at Microsoft, Americas, Global Partner Solutions
Nina Harding | Corporate Vice President at Microsoft, Americas, Global Partner Solutions

Nina HardingCorporate Vice President at Microsoft, Americas, Global Partner Solutions, is a luminary adept at transforming challenges into triumphs within the realm of corporate prowess. Navigating the intricate landscape of technology, Nina champions curiosity and fearlessness when confronting obstacles. Her approach involves an insatiable thirst for knowledge, an astute questioning mindset and the adept utilization of her extensive network.

One pivotal juncture in Nina’s illustrious career unfolded during the launch of universal server technology. Faced with the task of elucidating its benefits to potential clients, Nina embarked on a journey marked by determination. Undeterred by the enormity of the challenge, she engaged with colleagues, contacts and industry professionals unraveling the intricacies of leveraging complex data in healthcare. Armed with insights, Nina crafted a compelling demo that became instrumental in the successful launch of the company’s universal server.

Let’s delve into Nina’s narrative which underscores the transformative power of curiosity, collaboration and seeking support, making her an inspiring figure in the dynamic landscape of corporate leadership!

Driving Customer Programs

One of the biggest impacts I’ve made is driving customer programs and understanding what makes our customers successful,” shares Nina, highlighting the significance of implementation partners. She recognizes that the ecosystem is the key to bringing products and solutions to life. “By working with our partners and ensuring that we are properly enabling, energizing and rewarding them, we can accelerate our customers’ success.”

Passionate about customer success, Nina collaborates with an extraordinary partner ecosystem to build trust through open dialogue and innovation. “I focus on initiatives like partner programs, breaking through barriers and simplifying how we mutually succeed, empowering our partners to help our customers,” she affirms.

Tech Transforms

Technology is helping us reimagine how we can be more effective and contribute to the value-added part of our jobs,” expresses Nina, highlighting the transformative role of technology.

At Microsoft, Copilot with M365 exemplifies this shift, allowing her to save 20-30 minutes after each meeting. It’s a huge time-saver and lets Nina focus on the substantive work of running her business. Nina sees this as a major inflection point where AI augments work, radically impacting productivity. “I’m so proud to work at a company at the forefront of bringing these capabilities to the world,” she states.

Empowering Beyond Boundaries

At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more,” says Nina, emphasizing the timeless essence of this powerful goal. Reflecting on the company’s values during transitions, she underscores the pivotal role of people as the most valuable asset. “Investing time in people, not just telling them about what we need to do, but the ‘why’ is critical,” Nina emphasizes. Encouraging personal commitment and curiosity, she adds, “When people understand the context and take the first step, we’re all moving forward together.”

Addressing the evolution of a company and intergenerational transitions, Nina sees diversity and inclusion as opportunities for growth. “Learning from new perspectives makes us smarter, stronger and better able to meet our customers’ needs,” she notes. Recognizing diverse communication styles, Microsoft ensures accessibility through various channels. “This is an example of putting our mission into action. We want to enable and empower everyone!”

The Growth Mindset

I think continued innovation is essential for any company that wants to stay relevant and competitive in their market,” emphasizes Nina, stressing the need for a cultivated and nurtured culture of innovation. Trust, collaboration, empowerment, and recognition are key components in fostering innovation. “Trust means that you trust your people to have the best ideas, to have the best intentions and to pursue the best outcomes for the customers and the partners.”

Collaboration encourages sharing insights and co-creating solutions, while empowerment provides the necessary resources for success. Recognition involves celebrating achievements and inspiring others.

As a company, a growth mindset is embraced to open doors to new possibilities. Building trust and collaboration throughout partner ecosystem is part of the strategy. Partners contribute fresh ideas, facilitating learning, growth and quicker progress together.

The Dynamics of Change

I work for a company that has pivoted many times. We started out as a PC company with the mission of putting a PC on every desk,” shares Nina, highlighting the company’s dynamic evolution. Now a cloud and AI leader, she believes the key to navigating the ever-changing business landscape lies in being customer-centric, partner-centric and purpose-driven.

Nina emphasizes putting the customer at the center, anticipating their needs and delivering genuine value. Acknowledging partners’ critical role, the company prioritizes collaboration, empowerment and co-creating value. “Purpose-driven means that we always align our actions with our mission, vision, values, and goals,” she shares, emphasizing a commitment to positive impact.

Innovation and Empowerment

In the long run, I would love to be a chief customer officer in the sense of transformation, storytelling, helping customers understand the innovation and how to approach the necessary change management aspect,” shares Nina, expressing her aspiration. She admires partners for their role in aiding customers, citing ISVs building new solutions, services partners redesigning approaches, and channel partners extending the company’s reach.

Enthusiastic about the company’s mission, she states, “I love our mission because it allows us to evolve while still delivering that same empowerment to people and organizations.” Nina finds the empowerment mission a novel and bright approach to the future, wholeheartedly supporting its vision.

Uniting Visions

One of the biggest challenges I faced as a leader was when I joined a large company and they asked me to build a worldwide partner program,” recounts Nina, highlighting the task of aligning independent programs for greater impact.

Creating a vision that resonated, she emphasizes, “I had to help everyone believe in the plan so they would contribute the resources, control and responsibility for greater success.” Navigating this on a global scale, Nina’s leadership test involved inclusive collaboration. The power of discussion, sharing insights, asking questions, listening, and collecting ideas played a crucial role. By iterating and reflecting the field’s ideas, she ensured everyone felt a personal stake in the program’s success, fostering a collective approach rather than a top-down deployment.

Learn It All

My advice to women who aspire to venture into the technology industry is to jump in with curiosity and not be afraid of new challenges,” says Nina, encouraging a fearless approach. She emphasizes the value of learning from mistakes, stating, “Mistakes are opportunities to learn!” Advocating curiosity and seeking help, she echoes CEO Satya Nadella’s perspective on being a culture of learn it all, not know it all.

Nina suggests exploring horizontal experiences for career growth, noting, to get some of the more senior jobs, horizontal experiences are necessary. She envisions a future with more women in the industry, stating, “We have so much to offer,” and expresses her company’s commitment to increasing women’s representation, highlighting the significant opportunity for women to shape the tech industry’s future.