As vice president of Military Affairs at Microsoft, Chris Cortez leads the company’s engagement with veterans and military families as part of its focus on inspiring and developing former service members for roles in the IT industry. Cortez’s responsibilities touch STEM education, veteran community engagement, high-tech training and employment of veterans. His team’s mission is to lead and challenge the technology industry to fill the IT pipeline with former service members. Cortez is an advocate for Microsoft employees who have served in the military and is executive sponsor of the Military Veterans at Microsoft Employee Resource Group. He has worked at Microsoft since 2006.
Cortez served for more than 33 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. When he retired in 2004 as a major general, Cortez had been leading the Marine Corps Recruiting Command in Quantico, Va., recruiting more than 75,000 men and women. Before that, he was director of operations for the U.S. Pacific Command — overseeing operations for 300,000 military personnel — and he previously commanded Marines at the platoon, company, battalion and regimental levels, including during Operation Desert Storm. Cortez not only advocates for education, he also mentors others. It’s something he did in the Marine Corps and has continued to do at Microsoft.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Marietta College in Ohio and a master’s degree in business management from Azusa Pacific University.