“Because she saw my potential, I was able to show her what kind of soldier I really was.”

Just one month into her job at Microsoft, Ashe actively looked to get involved with the company’s LGBTQI+ community. That’s how she came to organize the company’s presence in the Chicago Pride parade and is helping get a GLEAM (Microsoft’s employee-led LGBTQI+ group) chapter off the ground there.

Shannan volunteers as the communications lead for another employee-led group called Military at Microsoft, which supports and creates a sense of belonging for current and former military members and their families who now work at Microsoft.

This calling to help and to be a part of a team is what drew them both to Microsoft, too.

“My manager now at Microsoft—you’d think I’d have known him my entire life,” Ashe says. “He literally said to me, ‘You don’t work for me. I work for you. You tell me what you need and how to make your job easy.’ And I was like, ‘Where am I? Like where am I?’” she laughs.


We pack up our stuff and head to a park to grab a few photographs outside of the two doing what they usually do together—laughing hysterically and generally enjoying each other’s company. Shannan lingers back to talk to me as Ashe cracks a joke with the photographer.

“Honestly, I didn’t know if Ashe was going to make it,” Shannan says, choosing her words slowly now and dabbing her eyes. “I was really worried. She was just so depressed.”

“Are you crying?” Ashe yells from up ahead where she’s scouted a good location overlooking Seattle. “Dude, stop bawling—you said you’d kill me if I let you cry.”

Shannan laughs and wipes her eyes.

“I’m not!” she hollers back.

We catch up with Ashe, and I ask her if the interview was torture.

“Absolutely,” she smirks, tossing her tattooed arm across Shannan’s shoulder. “Hated every minute.”

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