Memphis students have a conversation with Microsoft top executives

MEMPHIS, Tenn — Hundreds of students had a rare chance to talk tech and tech jobs with top executives with one of the biggest companies in the world, Microsoft.

Tyanna Banks is a student at Douglass high school, one of the hundreds who attended the event at the Memphis Cook Convention Center.

"I'm here to listen to speakers about how they started up and how they are now and follow in their footsteps," Banks said.

Students were able to listen and ask questions at an event called "Mayor Jim Strickland Presents: A Conversation with Microsoft."

"Microsoft is one of the great companies in this world and we have a partnership with them to expose young people to the opportunities in the tech and engineers fields," Strickland said.

One of the top leaders at Microsoft is Memphis native Alexia Clayborne.

"We feel Memphis has a diverse and talented population of students we'd like to target," Clayborne said.

Clayborne is now principal security program manager with Microsoft in Washington state. She thought it was important to have this conversation in her hometown and for Microsoft to look at the diversity of Memphis and to explore its pool of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)  workers.

"It's important from a global, diversity and inclusion perspective for Microsoft and for me being from Memphis. Microsoft's vision and mine is our products are enriched from having diverse ideas and backgrounds," Clayborne said.

They are diverse ideas and backgrounds, possibly one day turning into high tech jobs at Microsoft all because of this conversation, a conversation that motivated minority students such as Tyanna banks.

"Yes, I believe this will take me very far and hopefully I will achieve my goals," Banks said.

Mayor Strickland said right Memphis African-Americans and women are underrepresented in technology and engineering fields and he hopes the city can help change that with a talent pool from the Bluff City.