A Leader in Computing Security

Rebecca Norlander

Rebecca Norlander (CAS’91) joined Microsoft in June 1991 as a developer in the Excel team, and has since established herself as one of the most capable technical leads at Microsoft. In September of 2003, she was asked to manage the development of the much-anticipated (and at the time badly-needed) Windows XP SP2 security-focused release, scheduled less than a year later.

Her primary objective was to make aggressive, end-to-end changes to the operating system that provided shield-like security technologies for Windows, while still making XP an attractive operating systems for consumers and business customers alike in terms of functionality, and ship it in a timely manner. Following the successful, highly acclaimed release of XP SP2, on schedule in August 2004, Rebecca spent two years as a General Manager in the Windows Vista Security team. Given her unique perspective and experience with a wide set of Microsoft teams and technologies, Rebecca was chosen as the Technical Strategist for Ray Ozzie, who succeeded Bill Gates as Microsoft’s Chief Software Architect in June 2006. In that role, her primary goal is to help drive the Software and Services vision across Microsoft—a goal befitting her passion of “changing the world for the better through software and technology.” For all of her successes, Rebecca was given the BU Computing Alumni Network (CAN) Distinguished Alumna Award for 2008.

In addition to her impressive professional career, Rebecca is also quite active on a number of other fronts, most notably in efforts aiming to advance K–12 mathematics and science education, and to address issues related to the severe under-representation of women in Computer Science. Examples of her contributions in that capacity include her service on the Board of Advisors for the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, and her frequent appearances as a speaker and panelist at various venues on that subject, including the Grace Hopper Women in Computing conference.

In her spare time, she works, trains, snowboards, teaches snowboarding in the winter, participates in triathlons in the summer, hacks around in the garden, hangs out with friends—if not in person, then on Facebook—and otherwise stirs up trouble with her spouse, J Allard, whom she met in her first year at Boston University.