Staff Spotlight: Kristin Kube


Name: Kristin Kube

Hometown: Columbia, Maryland

Job: Business Administrator for the Intune DeX Engineering and PM Teams in Cambridge, MA

Years at Microsoft: 3 years, 7 months

Favorite Local Restaurant: I love Commonwealth in Cambridge!

Last thing you searched on Bing: The singer Ellie Goulding; she was recently in a car accident in Norway and I was reading about it. I was also looking at images of her. I think she is so gorgeous and such a talented artist!

Something cool you’ve worked on recently: My favorite part of my job is event planning! I am currently working on a morale event for my leadership team which will be a bartending/mixology class they take together at Drinkmaster Bartending School in downtown Boston. I get to attend as well; I am super excited!

What inspires you about technology? I love how technology can help people with disabilities. I was particularly inspired by the story of Steve Gleason, a former NFL player who has ALS and who uses eye-tracking technology, which runs on Windows on his Surface, to communicate. This has greatly improved his quality of life. It is amazing and inspiring!

What problem would you like to see solved with technology? I would like to see technology continue to help improve the human experience, whether it be improving the quality of life for people with disabilities, developing new ways for people to express themselves creatively, making our daily lives and tasks easier or exploring the universe. Technology is capable of so much and I can’t wait to see what it accomplishes next!

Announcing the First Annual Retrospective for Youth CITIES


Through my role at Microsoft, I get to be a part of the amazing innovation ecosystem we have here in Boston.  And Boston is not just a great place to innovate because I say so; 1776 recently ranked Boston #1 in their Innovation that Matters Report based on six key themes: talent, capital, industry specialization, density, connectivity and culture.  Every day, I have a change to meet a new startup, attend an event to learn about an amazing new innovation or spend time with a founder to think about who can help grow their business.  Partners like MassChallenge, Venture Café, Smarter in the City, Epicenter Community and more are just some of the organizations that make our ecosystem in Boston unique.


Last year, I brought my husband to the MassChallenge Awards Ceremony.  My son Alex joined me for the Generation Citizen Civics Day in December. We frequently take my family and friends to Lawn on D, the Greenway, the Boston Public Market and other spaces and places with innovative design.  But I often wonder how I can share the uniqueness and unique experience that is the innovation ecosystem in Boston with my family, especially my kids.

582788_273593796065540_1732480520_nOne organization that is working to prepare the next generation of entrepreneurs is Youth CITIES.  As a member of the board, I have judged the finals and semi-finals of the Youth CITIES March to May Bootcamp and each year the students blow me away with the comprehensive business ideas and plans they develop through this program.

On June 2, the board will host the First Annual Retrospective for Youth CITIES. Please join me at this event to meet some of the students, hear their ideas and learn more about how you can support this terrific organization.

YouthCities2Youth CITIES – First Annual Retrospective
June 2, 2016 | 6 – 9PM
Light dinner sponsored by Fuji
Davenport building, 25 First Street, Cambridge (Atrium of Accomplice building)

Join Youth CITIES to both help us celebrate our last 7 years and help forge our way forward. Meet and mingle with the new wave of young entrepreneurial thought-leaders.  Get a glimpse of what will be in store for the future, the one they will be building in ways we aren’t even aware of yet.

Meet our alumni students and learn how an entrepreneurial mindset has opened new possibilities and transformed their way of thinking, and find out what big plans they have for the future.

With Special Guests:

  • Toni Oloko, Youth CITIES alum
  • Rayza Carrasco, Youth CITIES alum
  • Jeff Fagnan, Founder and General Partner, Accomplice
  • Tito Jackson, Boston City Councillor

Hosted by: Youth CITIES Board of Directors

  • Vicky Wu Davis, Founder
  • Dan Ross, Chair
  • Aimee Sprung
  • Alex Finkelstein
  • Andy Miller
  • Chris Wolfel
  • David Birnbach
  • Dougan Sherwood
  • Kathy Huber
  • Leland Cheung
  • Steve Willis
  • Tito Jackson
  • Tom O’Donnell
  • Toni Oloko
  • Vivjan Myrto

Register here.

Youth CITIES is a nonprofit organization preparing the next generation to become entrepreneurial leaders in their area of passion, permeating all areas whether startups, corporations, philanthropy, or government.  We are changing the way young people look and think about problems, limitations, and obstacles…associating them as just design constraints within endless opportunities for change.

TechJam Shows Middle School Students The Fun Side of Tech


What happens when you unleash a full spectrum of technology on over 200 middle school students? A day of tech, learning, and fun! This April, our Burlington Microsoft Store headed to Shawsheen Valley High School in Billerica for TechJam, a day of tech delivered to students — and we had just as much fun as they did! With 15 Microsoft Retail volunteers, we headed to Shawsheen to take over the school with STEM delights.


Alongside areas that the school’s robotics and engineering team put together, our group of volunteers spread out across the building to set up six different zones that brought Microsoft technology straight to students:

  • Zone 1: BB-8 Robot Race — An Nguyen & Jade Gosnell
    We brought along an iconic Star Wars character BB8! In the gym, Jade & An helped all 280 kids pilot BB8 through a cone obstacle course – teaching them about the sensors in their smartphones and how wireless connectivity works in iOT devices.
  • Zone 2: Xbox One Minecraft — Rachel Sodi & John Grzyballa
    Rachel & John ran a classroom and taught each kid the fundamentals of coding with Minecraft on Xbox One consoles. The kids were so excited when they saw that Minecraft was an activity at the event!
  • Zone 3: Xbox One Project Spark — Nicholas Martino & Beverly Markwith
    Beverly & Nick ran a classroom with 10 Xbox One consoles loaded with Project Spark. The kids loved exploring the open world of Project Spark and shared their creations with each other.
  • Zone 4: Surface FreshPaint Art Zone — Jena Mancini & Amy Pestena
    Both Jena & Amy did an amazing job instructing all the kids on how to create with the Surface Pen in FreshPaint. The kids all were able to print and take their artwork with them!
  • Zone 5: Xbox Kinect Sports — MD Islam & Evan Pharm
    Our two FITNESS ALLSTARS MD & Evan got every kid up and moving in front of the Kinect camera! From bowling to jet ski racing, the kids were on their feet nonstop!
  • Zone 6: Drone Zone -Joe Dire, Brett Chartenitz & Julian Wiryo
    Goose, Maverick & Iceman(Call signs chosen by them) taught all 280 kids how to pilot a drone using a smartphone! They taught the kids the fundamentals of their Wi-Fi direct which connects the phones to the drone and about onboard solid state memory the drones use to store pictures and videos.

20160421_163940878_iOSAfter a day of fun and nonstop activity, we were thrilled to hear the kids talk to one another about the projects they created and the new tech they learned. We are already planning an event themed for Adults in September, focused on Office 365, Windows 10 and the power of the cloud. We are looking forward to next year’s TechJam, and couldn’t thank Shawsheen Valley High enough!

Recap: Enabling Youth Employment in Boston

Youth Employment Panel at Roxbury Innovation Center

This Wednesday, we continued our Conversation in Civic Innovation Series with an event at Roxbury Innovation Center focused on Enabling Youth Employment. Through the collaboration and contribution of Resilient Coders, Youth HUB Boston, Jobcase, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), BCYF’s Division of Youth Engagement and Employment, and the City of Boston, we were able to present two distinct panels that explored both the plight and progress of youth employment in Boston.

We kicked off the night with an incredible keynote by Shari Davis of the City of Boston, in which she explains how Boston raised her: through youth employment opportunities and academic programs, Shari was offered a lifetime of opportunity that she now aims to bring to all of Boston’s youth. We then heard from a youth-led panel on their current experiences in employment, followed by a professional panel working to improve opportunity in Boston.

Panelists included:

Youth Panel

Moderator: Aimee Sprung, Microsoft

Professional Panel

  • Ayda Zugay, Youth HUB Boston
  • Matt Cloyd, MAPC
  • Shari Davis, City of Boston
  • Christopher Scranton, Jobcase

Moderator: Kevin Wiant, Venture Cafe

As forward-thinking as our panels were, we know that solving these issues can’t be done in one night. That’s why we’re working to keep the conversation going. With the help of Agora Town Hall, we’ve set up a town hall discussion of our own, where we encourage members of our community to discuss, contribute, and act through message boards, polls, data visualizations, and more. We want to help improve youth employment in our city, and that starts with you. Join us in the conversation at

Voices of Change — Making Civic Participation Accessible

Diversity and inclusion are critical underpinnings to our evolving culture at Microsoft and powerful bridges to the marketplace. We are inspired by the local leaders who make diversity a priority in their daily work. In the spirit of International Women’s Day, we’re honored to celebrate women in our community who are carrying out the mission of civic engagement, leadership and empowering other women.

— Microsoft New England Staff


On Election Day of the Obama 2012 campaign, I was driving an elderly woman, Rochelle, to the polling station when her oxygen tank started to malfunction. She turned to me and said, “Take me to vote, then the hospital.” Her determination to have her voice heard served as an important inspiration to me–but it also made me wonder, should the ballot box be the only way a citizen can make her voice heard?

The answer is a resounding no. Democracy is more than Election Day, and citizens are much more than just voters every few years. Yet it seemed to me that there was a striking lack of opportunity for people to make their voices heard. While civic discussions happen on a regular basis, not every citizen has the opportunity to participate. When town hall meetings take place at 3PM on a Tuesday – who get to show up? Only the few who have the time, resources, and political connections. This inaccessibility cannot be the norm if we want to have a functioning democracy.


Through technology Agora is empowering individuals to break down these barriers to participation through live polls, discussions, and Video halls. On the one hand, Agora’s platform allows local officials to easily communicate with their constituents, enabling the solicitation of community feedback. But our technology also empowers citizens–through Agora, anyone can ask their representatives questions, start a conversation in their community, and actively participate in our democracy. Agora, in other words, makes civic engagement accessible to anyone––a drastic improvement over the occasional, in-person town hall.

But it is not enough for our civic technology to be accessible; inclusivity and diversity are also essential tenets of Agora’s mission. Some of this is naturally derivative of Agora’s online platform, but in a community like Boston’s, for example, where we are based, there are more than just the physical barriers to participation. Language, for example, can be a major obstacle for those community members whose first language is something other than English.

And this is where Bing has become a crucial tool––Bing translation has allowed Agora townhalls to be translated from English into multiple languages, enabling and encouraging diversity in every conversation that happens on our platform. It opens the door for the many community members whose voices haven’t been heard due to the extensive language barriers that exist in many of our community conversations, and helps Agora to achieve our goal of expanding participation beyond the ballot box.

At Agora, we believe that our voices matter every day, not just on Election Day. It’s time for us to re-imagine democracy in the 21st century – and we’re doing so by making participation accessible, one conversation at a time.

Voices of Change — Transforming Communities Through Innovation

Diversity and inclusion are critical underpinnings to our evolving culture at Microsoft and powerful bridges to the marketplace. We are inspired by the local leaders who make diversity a priority in their daily work. In the spirit of International Women’s Day, we’re honored to celebrate women in our community who are carrying out the mission of civic engagement, leadership and empowering other women.

— Microsoft New England


Several months ago I was listening intently to leaders from the City of New Orleans tell me the story of how an important and seemingly unassailable problem known as urban blight was transformed with civic innovation. Urban blight – the process where a functioning city falls into disrepair– was a problem at the center of the daily citizen experience and they were able to change that with civic innovation. I left that conversation asking myself, where are those stories of civic innovation going? If a transformational idea exists in one city, can it apply to other communities? Does knowledge of that invention ever scale to other communities who are facing the same challenge? How does that happen?

These remarkably relevant questions kept appearing in my mind in countless conversations I had with leaders of cities and towns throughout the decade I spent working with communities in various roles. I heard stories of the creativity and innovation in governance and technology being used to address financial management, transportation, schools, land use, the environment, public finance, and so many other challenges at the heart of citizen life. I also realized that healthy functioning cities were also being transformed by grass-roots citizen led innovation. The inspiration for my work began to take form in those moments.

Photo - New TV 10

The Civic Innovation Project began with a simple vision that endeavored to raise awareness of civic innovations that were transforming communities by presenting stories from leaders, citizens, academics, and private sector stakeholders using creativity and civic technology to solve the most vexing problems facing communities. The stories, presented in a Civic Innovation Gallery, live alongside actual technology demos, created with data-rich resources, including access to downloads, tutorials, and instructional materials that provide any citizen or leader of a community with an instant roadmap to innovate around a challenge.

When I asked myself – how could I take my work a step further and empower communities and citizens to bridge the information gap? How could I further create a space that facilitates learning about global innovation? I chose to evolve the platform into a learning lab for cities and their citizens.

Examples of what cities and their citizens will find in the Civic Innovation Project learning lab include:

  • The ability to learn from leaders, like those from the City of New Orleans, who in their own words, share an innovation road-map, alongside other examples of inventions from leaders in the public and private sector.
  • Visualizations that distill the most complex aspects of data to facilitate data-driven decision-making, created with Microsoft tools that help communities begin innovating instantly on their own.
  • Data sets drawn from leading sources, like Morningstar, Inc., that will be integrated in models that can help communities assess and understand key metrics related to the markets they operate in.
  • A virtual classroom that will help citizens and leaders learn from each other’s inventions.

Taken together, these resources are intended to create a learning space where information about civic innovation can exist and be used by citizens and leaders to change the trajectory and narratives of communities and increase transparency in significant ways. I believe that process begins when you empower these various constituencies to share discoveries with each other, build their awareness and capacity as civic innovators, and provide them with access to tools that allow them to turn their vision into realities and engender meaningful change in communities.

Photo - LGerman5

To see a video that helps you learn more about the vision behind the Civic Innovation Project learning labs that will be released later this year, and our development process, please visit

Lourdes German is the founder and director of the Civic Innovation Project, a national platform focused on emerging government innovation that was recognized with a 2015 State of Boston Innovation Award. Lourdes is also a fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, where she advances the Institute’s global municipal fiscal health campaign. An expert in municipal finance, Lourdes is driven by a deep commitment and passion for communities and civic engagement, made visible by her roles as Governor Baker’s appointed Chair of the Massachusetts State Finance and Governance Board, and as an appointee of the Mayor of Boston to the committee focused on the City’s audit and finance matters. For over a decade Lourdes has held several leadership roles in government finance, including as an attorney at the international law firm Edwards Wildman, at Fidelity Investments where she helped create a new national business division focused on government public finance, and as Vice President and General Counsel at Breckinridge Capital Advisors. Lourdes has also served as an advisor to non-profits focused on urban economic growth and social impact investing; has developed and taught a graduate course in government finance at Northeastern University, and serves on the boards of United Way and Boston Women in Public Finance.

Microsoft New England Picks: 3 Not-To-Miss Events This Week


Sunshine is heading our way, and we don’t want you to miss it. Here are our top picks for events in and near Microsoft that we don’t want you to miss:
massinnologo_21) Mass Innovation Nights 84
Tuesday, March 8, 6pm — 8:30pm
District Hall | 75 Northern Avenue | Boston
Twitter: @MassInno | #MIN84

Check out 11 innovative products showcasing and offering solutions to continuously improve government infrastructure and enhance the lives of citizens.

meeting-of-minds2) Meeting of the Minds Forum: Autism, Advocacy and Assistive Technology
Wednesday, March 9, 5:30pm — 8pm
Microsoft New England R&D Center | 1 Memorial Drive | Boston
Twitter: @MassAdvocates

On March 9th, the Autism Center of the Massachusetts Advocates for Children is hosting the Meeting of the Minds Forum: Autism, Advocacy and Assistive Technology. Join this networking event for professionals and parents, featuring Rosalind Picard, Founder and Director of MIT Media Lab’s Affective Computing Group – a TEDx Talk presenter,  and MAC’s Julia Landau, Director of MAC’S Autism Center; Come meet leaders in the assistive technology industry and pioneering leaders in autism advocacy.

room-to-read3) Kick-a-Thon by Eliza: A Benefit for Room to Read
Thursday, March 10, 7pm — 9pm
Microsoft New England R&D Center | 1 Memorial Drive | Boston
Twitter: @roomtoread_BOS

Kick It By Eliza is a 13-round fitness method that is music-driven, sweat-inducing, kickboxing-inspired. The format of Kick It encourages a sense of empowerment and community– leaving you and everyone around you feeling amazing! Join the Kick It Crew and be empowered side-by-side, round-by-round, minute-by-minute.


Bringing Massachusetts History to the Digital Sphere

The Massachusetts Historical Society is a staple to our city’s relationship with its strong history. Through their educational programs, we’re able to connect with stories otherwise forgotten, showing how Massachusetts has been a partner in innovation from the beginning. Together with the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS), we’re excited to announce a partnership with its 225th Anniversary exhibit “The Private Jefferson” showcasing the largest collection of personal paper and drawing by Thomas Jefferson, which is held by MHS. By digging into the third president’s private papers, MHS is opening a window into his personal life to explore the key elements of Jefferson’s character, including his unending creativity and worldview.

We are helping MHS enable richer storytelling opportunities by providing interactive digital moments throughout the exhibit. MHS wants to make this story accessible to everyone — and we’re honored to use Microsoft technology to make that happen.


Brown University students Miranda Chao and Ryan Ngoy showcase TAG’s multi-user Splitscreen Mode in the main exhibit hall at Massachusetts Historical Society.

Visitors to the Massachusetts Historical Society can get hands-on access to Microsoft technology within the exhibit — through a collaboration with Brown Professor Andries van Dam and students within his program, MHS was able to utilize Touch Art Gallery (TAG) to develop a digital narrative that looks into Jefferson’s personal artifacts.

TAG, which was developed by Brown University in partnership with Microsoft Research, is an application that offers direct digital contact with artifacts (such as papers and artworks) that would otherwise be too fragile to handle in person.

“Thomas Jefferson has been described as the American Sphinx and is considered by many to be enigmatic. Our exhibition aimed to peel back the mysteries around this founding father and show the person who has become one of the most famous Americans. While we are confident that the answers to our questions exist with the nearly 10,000 manuscripts we hold in Jefferson’s hand, our show would never have been able to make this story available to the public without the technology that Microsoft made available to us,” said Gavin Kleespies, Director of Programs at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Using TAG, MHS built five interactive tours, loaded over 100 digital manuscripts and drawings, and embedded 20 short videos of top experts on our third President. Visitors can explore this digital content in immense detail on a 65” touch-screen monitor in the first room of the exhibit or with smaller Windows touch-enabled monitors in the other rooms. They can even use a split screen tool to look at two documents side by side, while maintaining full zoom capability. This allows them to compare the subtle differences in the drafts of the Declaration or zoom in to compare the quality of the paper used by Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. The additional information and the embedded videos add volumes of content that deepens the visitors experience but would never have fit on a display label. These TAG experiences are also available to download as a Windows app (entering “” into the server field) so that people unable to travel to Boston in person can also explore these artifacts and stories.

Furthermore, classrooms around the globe are now able to experience the incredible information included within this exhibit through help from Skype Virtual Field Trips. The first Virtual Field Trip looks specifically at Jefferson’s groundbreaking architectural plans – including Jefferson’s farm and garden books, plans for Monticello, and drawing of the Virginia State Capital. The second Virtual Field Trip looks more closely at the letters, writings, and intellectual development of this founding father – including the drafts and the Dunlap Broadside of the Declaration of Independence, the manuscript draft of Notes on the State of Virginia, and a sampling of his correspondence. It is exciting to be able to break down geographic barriers through platforms such as Skype in the Classroom to empower educators and students from around the world to share in this amazing history that MHS has preserved and breathed new life into.

The Massachusetts Historical Society’s 225th Anniversary Exhibit “The Private Jefferson” is on display through May 20, 2016. Visit the Massachusetts Historical Society from 10am to 4pm Monday through Saturday at 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, MA.

Welcome Sharlene Yang, Cambridge STEAM Coordinator!

Earlier this month Sharlene Yang was announced as the new Cambridge STEAM Coordinator, a role that reports jointly to the School Department and the City of Cambridge.  Sharlene brings a wealth of experience in STEAM and was responsible for the development and implementation of the Engineering is Elementary curriculum across the country.  With Sharlene’s experience and drive we will begin to see the transformation of Cambridge to an innovative community for young adults.

I am excited to represent Microsoft as a member of the newly formed Cambridge STEAM committee and to work alongside Sharlene and many Cambridge community, tech and university partners.  Sharlene and the committee will be responsible for expanding and supporting STEAM learning opportunities in Cambridge schools.  Join me in welcoming Sharlene and keep an eye out for some great STEAM initiatives to come together in the near future.

Read the full announcement here: Welcome Sharlene Yang, Cambridge STEAM Coordinator

Municipalities — Don’t Go It Alone On IT!

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 12.09.06 PM

Every day, our Technology and Civic Engagement team works to bring technology to citizens and government to help make our cities better. While our community is rapidly adapting to technology on a global scale, it is important that we take the time to introduce important technologies to our local governments to make everyday processes even easier. The following blog by Amy Dain of the Collins Center for Public Management at UMass Boston showcases the importance of bringing digital access to our government desks.
— Cathy Wissink

While most sectors of the economy have undergone a revolution in how products and services are delivered, city and town government is beginning its digital evolution.

The cautious pace of change so far is understandable.  Our public managers have figured out, through decades of practice, how to deliver a wide array of critical services, on tight budgets. The potholes get filled; the businesses inspected; the houses permitted; the police dispatched. Managers are risk-averse when it comes to changing what works.  Still, entrepreneurial managers are experimenting with IT upgrades. They see the potential benefits that better data systems could provide for them: information to solve problems, increase efficiency, and improve two-way communication with constituents.

What makes less sense is that we have hundreds of city and town governments (351 cities and towns in Massachusetts) figuring out information technology independently, for the most part. Why should every community have a unique information system when they are delivering similar services?  And why should each community have to invest significant resources to figure out which IT systems to purchase? As one DPW director said to me last week, “It doesn’t make sense to have 10 communities using 10 systems.  The cost of that is ridiculous.”

There are many reasons for us to increase the coordination across municipalities to upgrade IT.  Common data standards could enable greater cross-municipal comparison and collaboration in service delivery.  Bulk purchasing will cost each municipality less.  Some issues are so important and tricky, such as the security and privacy of municipal data, that local experimentation may not be the best way to address the risks.  Local managers who have not already overseen IT upgrades could benefit from guidance from experienced IT practitioners. And, without outside support, the cohort of early movers may be smaller than ideal, as the pioneers face relatively higher costs and risks in implementing new information systems.

We need to do more to support the early movers, learn from their experiments, and spread the best solutions.  Right now only a few municipalities use GPS to track plows during a snow emergency.  Many departments of public works (DPWs) have started using IT to communicate with constituents, but a much smaller cohort of DPWs has started to implement robust back-end IT systems for managing the work. DPWs have a long way to go in developing data systems for inventory management.  Wellesley has a strong information system for managing its fleet of vehicles, Boston built an app to schedule road repairs (so utilities dig before a road is resurfaced, and not right after), and other communities are implementing software solutions to a variety of challenges, but we lack good avenues for spreading solutions across the region.

Until now, entrepreneurial individuals in local government have been leading the way with IT upgrades, but efforts have been largely uncoordinated and expensive.  It is time for the local leaders to come together, with support from the state, universities, and regional planning agencies, to learn from each other and to move the digital evolution along more smoothly and systematically.

Amy Dain is an associate with the Government Analytics Program (GAP) at the Collins Center for Public Management at UMass Boston.  

For a more detailed discussion of IT in municipal government, see Amy’s article in CommonWealth Magazine: