When I was explaining the concept of this new series—professional women and heroic displays of badass-ery all condensed into a single exemplary ensemble—Dona Sarkar, leader of the Windows Insider Program, stopped me. For her, at least, it should be "My Life in One Outfit," because she hasn't got just one job.
Building holograms. Identifying applications for those holograms (like remote surgery or city planning or children's stories). Leading a team of developers. Starting her own fashion line. Writing novels. Here, see the outfit that defines her incredible, kaleidoscopic life—even though, yes, summing everything up would be impossible to do.
1. "The Surface Book has changed the way I create, because I'm an analog creature. Whenever I'm planning something, whether it's a product, a novel, or a fashion project, I have to go get paper and a pen, and draw or write it. My old process was drawing something, taking a picture of it, and losing it. So the Surface Book completely changed everything because the rubberized tip of the pen makes it feel like I'm writing on paper even though I'm writing on a screen. And I just click the top of the pen, it opens a OneNote. I draw or I
write, and it saves it in the cloud immediately. So I've never lost anything since. I've written an entire novel on it on a plane."
2. "These boots I call 'the negotiation boots.' They're Jeffrey Campbell Litas, and I've had them for six years. I got them as a gift to myself after I got a promotion. I call them my negotiation boots because whenever I'm about to go in for a negotiation, whether that's for myself or for my team or on behalf of a product or customer, I put those on and I stand taller, I'm fiercer, and I've never lost one."
3. "Ted Baker makes these midi sheath dresses that I love because they work so well for evening, but with a jacket over it, it works incredibly well for day. It's long and really great neoprene fabric, no wrinkles—I travel a ton. So I just throw this in my suitcase and can pull it out, and it always looks good, no matter what. And I love that it's a color and a print. In a place where I have to meet someone, I can tell them I'm in the printed dress rather than 'I'm in the black jacket or blue backpack,' or something generic."
4. "I designed it in 3-D and spent a lot of time tweaking the shoulders and the waist and walking around it, just rotating this object over and over. Then I made the prototype sample. I'm working with a factory in Hong Kong to actually make the production. It's got a very strong shoulder because people carry a lot of weight on their shoulders. So the shoulders are there to remind people that their shoulders are broader and stronger than they even imagine. I want the person who wears that jacket to be noticed the second they walk into the room, and I want it to make them stand up taller. And when people see them, they realize, that person means business, that this is not a person I should mess with."
"At the very beginning, of my career, I would show up in over-the-knee boots, 5-inch heels, and people would just stare at me and ask, 'Oh, you must be in marketing.' And I said, 'No, I'm a software engineer.' And they'd say 'But you don't look like a software engineer.' I found that, rather than changing to fit other people's expectations, I'm just going to be myself and show that a software engineer can look like me—because if I changed who I was then, that stereotype lives on, that someone who wears over-the-knee boots cannot be a software engineer. And the reason that the stereotype has lived on so long is that people have changed to fit the mold.I've gotten a number of emails and texts and messages saying 'I've never seen someone present such hardcore technical content wearing over-the-knee Stuart Weitzmans.' And I said, 'The height of my heels has nothing to do with my technical abilities. They're not related.'"
5."Last weekend, I organized a hackathon and invited 100 developers, art, sound people to come together and think about the various industries they're involved in. We had a lot of people from medical, we had a lot of people from architecture, we had a lot of people from art. So they came together, they formed teams, they came up with an idea. My team and I taught them to build a holographic app to solve a specific problem. Always be hustling."
Follow Marie Claire on Facebook (opens in new tab) for the latest celeb news, beauty tips, fascinating reads, livestream video, and more.
Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at MarieClaire.com. She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.
We Can’t Stop Laughing at Prince George Cringing Over Little Brother Prince Louis’ Antics at the Platinum Jubilee
Will we see more Louis hijinks at the Coronation?
By Rachel Burchfield
Despite Their Requests, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Have “No Chance” of Appearing on the Buckingham Palace Balcony After King Charles’ Coronation, Royal Expert Says
The saga continues.
By Rachel Burchfield
If Prince Harry Does Attend the Coronation, He Will Avoid Bowing to Queen Consort Camilla
Plans are being drawn up to avoid the potentially awkward moment.
By Rachel Burchfield
Peloton’s Selena Samuela on Turning Tragedy Into Strength
Before becoming a powerhouse cycling instructor, Selena Samuela was an immigrant trying to adjust to new environments and new versions of herself.
By Emily Tisch Sussman
This Mutual Fund Firm Is Helping to Create a More Sustainable Future
Amy Domini and her firm, Domini Impact Investments LLC, are inspiring a greater and greener world—one investor at a time.
Girls Can't Be What They Can't See: Why I Went All-In on My Business
Girls can't be what they can't see.
By Esther Wallace
Power Players Build on Success
"The New Normal" left some brands stronger than ever. We asked then what lies ahead.
By Maria Ricapito
Don't Stress! You Can Get in Good Shape Money-wise
Yes, maybe you eat paleo and have mastered crow pose, but do you practice financial wellness?
By Sallie Krawcheck
The Book Club Revolution
Lots of women are voracious readers. Other women are capitalizing on that.
By Lily Herman
The Future of Women and Work
The pandemic has completely upended how we do our jobs. This is Marie Claire's guide to navigating your career in a COVID-19 world.
By Megan DiTrolio
Black-Owned Coworking Spaces Are Providing a Safe Haven for POC
For people of color, many of whom prefer to WFH, inclusive coworking spaces don't just offer a place to work—they cultivate community.
By Megan DiTrolio