A community of optimists hosted by Melinda French Gates

Peggy Johnson is Microsoft’s executive vice president of business development, often referred to as the company’s “chief dealmaker.” She joined Microsoft in 2015 as CEO Satya Nadella’s first senior hire, and has since helped to reimagine the company’s approach to partnerships through a focus on increased collaboration, customer empathy, and shared success. Peggy also oversees Microsoft’s venture capital arm, M12, and works to champion underrepresented entrepreneurs through initiatives like the fund’s annual Female Founders Competition.

An engineer by training, Peggy began her career in GE’s Military Electronics Division, followed by nearly 25 years at Qualcomm where she held leadership roles that spanned engineering, marketing, sales and business development. She serves on the board of directors for BlackRock, Inc., and on the advisory board for the nonprofit Huntington’s Disease Society of America San Diego Chapter.

Peggy is mom to three adult kids and lives in Seattle with her husband Eric, two dogs and one cat.


If you could go on a long walk with anyone, who would it be?

My mom. She’s passed away now, but we used to go on long walks together and just talk about our lives. As I got older, she would tell me things that I never knew before, about my family, about her experiences when she was younger, how she struggled to raise us eight kids after my dad died. I learned so much about how to handle challenges and live life with grace from the stories she shared on those walks.

On Sunday afternoons, you can find me...

On a long run. I’m an introvert, so I need alone time. Long, solitary runs are how I recharge, organize my thoughts and plan for my week ahead. But I also try to leave room for escapism – lately I’ve been listening to true crime podcasts while I run. I can’t get enough!

Please share a favorite quote.

“Do what makes your heart leap” – Jonas Salk. I used to live near the Salk institute in San Diego, and his story and legacy have always inspired me. I keep this quote framed in my office as a reminder that our greatest impact comes when our work is driven by passion and purpose.