Cindy Bates is the vice president of Microsoft’s U.S. Small and Mid Sized Business (SMB) division and leads the company’s efforts to help SMBs use technology to increase productivity, grow and thrive. Bates has been with Microsoft for 13 years, starting as a managing director in the Corporate Development and Strategy group. Prior to her current role, Bates was vice president of US Partner Strategy, Marketing and Programs, responsible for engaging IT service providers who serve business customers who use Microsoft technology. Before joining Microsoft, Bates was senior vice president in Merrill Lynch & Co.’s Investment Banking, Retail and E-Commerce Industry Group. She has dual bachelor degrees in international economics and molecular biology from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from Harvard University.