Kate Behncken is the General Manager in Microsoft Philanthropies responsible for Global Community Engagement. She brings over 20 years of international experience leading initiatives that help drive organizational, legal, and strategic business success.
Kate leads an international team across a diverse range of business and technical functions. Her team partners with organizations around the world to improve the opportunities for individuals and communities through the use of technology and digital skills. Kate is responsible for the TEALS program which brings computer science to high schools across the US. She also leads the Microsoft TechSpark initiative, a US civic program aimed at fostering greater economic opportunity and job creation through partnership with local communities. TechSpark’s focus includes improving digital skills and computer science education, providing access to broadband, development of career pathways and partnership with non-profits. Kate also manages Microsoft’s partnership with the Trevor Noah Foundation, helping more youth in South Africa develop digital skills and works with organizations promoting the use of AI and technology to support Human Rights.
Previously, Kate was Deputy General Counsel at Microsoft where she led the Office of the President team and served as Chief of Staff to company President and Chief Legal Officer, Brad Smith. In this role, Kate led a team of legal, technical and business professionals responsible for the key functions that enabled the business priorities of Microsoft’s Corporate, External and Legal Affairs department, a 1400-member organization located across 56 countries. She was a member of the department’s senior leadership team and served as the sponsor for a variety of internal technology and information management initiatives.
Kate began her legal career in Australia and has worked in legal lead roles across APAC and EMEA. Her legal practice included counseling on a broad range of issues, including licensing, services, privacy, regulatory, marketing, distribution, and compliance.
Kate also serves on the board of United Way of King County.