By Mark Thomas
As community development specialist for the Microsoft Store in Overland Park, Lindsey Huckeby says, “My role is to find opportunities to give back to the community through the store with education.”
Located in Oak Park Mall, the store is the “face” of Microsoft in the Kansas City metro.
It opened in 2012, selling hardware and offering service and support for devices and software. Much of the store’s focus is personal training. Most of the support services and training are free.
“We hold workshops every day, and we also allow people to hold private events. It’s a community space,” Huckeby said. “We have a theater in the back of our store that holds 25 people.”
Among the workshops are the sessions held twice a month for seniors, in partnership with AARP. Participants get help with a variety of technology topics, such as how to avoid digital fraud and scams, or how to troubleshoot a computer problem.
On Wednesday, July 13, a store event will feature a panel discussion on LGBTQ issues and science, technology, engineering and math industries, also known as STEM.
Huckeby says she’s excited about the prospect.
“I wanted to host this event,” she said, “because my passion is to try to connect all the STEM communities. I sometimes feel like they are in silos.”
After seeing an article in Camp Magazine about the Kansas University organization called Out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (oSTEM), she began to reach out for panelists. A mix of students, startup companies and larger businesses will lead the discussion. The goal is to provide inspiration and discuss obstacles and successes that people have faced in their fields.
The event, called “Out in the STEM Industry,” will be from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Microsoft Store, 11467 95th St., Overland Park, and will be open to Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce members.
Huckeby notes, “I hope that members that are not in STEM attend, just to see what comes out of the conversations, particularly from a student perspective.”
She understands the value of chamber of commerce participation well.
After graduating from Kansas State University, she worked for the economic development department at the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce.
“I got to be part of acquiring the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility,” she said. Located in Manhattan, Kansas, NBAF will be the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s foremost animal disease research facility. Operations will begin there in 2022.
After leaving Manhattan, she says, “I stayed on the chamber path for a while. I worked for the Northeast Johnson County Chamber of Commerce, involved with 10 cities.”
When asked about her store’s relationship with MAGLCC, Huckeby shared some wisdom, part of which sounded almost like a John F. Kennedy quote.
“You have to see what you can do for the members, rather than what they can for you. That is where the true relationships come from,” she said.
Huckeby would like to develop a close partnership with MAGLCC members to use space at the store, “to utilize the tools we offer. Perhaps an affinity program.”
As we closed our conversation, she shared Microsoft’s mission statement, which neatly lines up with her own job description: “Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”