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Breaking Borders

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Breaking Borders

A Remarkable Story of Adventure, Family, and Career Success That Defied All Expectations

HarperCollins Leadership,

15 min read
8 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Kate Isler, who became a Microsoft executive and created her dream career, offers advice and inspiration.

Editorial Rating



  • Engaging
  • Insider's Take
  • Inspiring


Microsoft veteran Kate Isler’s saga of perseverance and independence proves that every leader’s career trajectory is unique. From humble origins, Isler went from serving fast food to leading global teams for Microsoft and finding her calling advocating for gender parity. Isler distills her diverse experiences into lessons to inspire leaders, entrepreneurs and other women in business. She demonstrates the importance of relationships, finding work-life balance, trusting your vision and bypassing convention when it stands in your way.


Glean incremental lessons and small victories from your experiences.

Kate Isler began her working life with wildly varied early experiences. Coming from a humble background, she was a hotel switchboard operator, a fast food server and a receptionist. Her later professional experiences included becoming a high-ranking Microsoft executive and founding her own river rafting business in Colorado. Throughout, she learned these important lessons.

  • Never underestimate yourself – Find strength within. You can accomplish more than you imagine.
  • Don’t fear risks – You might not make millions when you launch your first business, but you’ll gain valuable lessons and accrue small victories that make it worthwhile.
  • Embrace honesty – Reflect on what you’re actually able to handle and live with, and stick to your resolutions as you embark on your own path.
  • Craft your life vision – Decide what your dream life looks like. Then, commit to realizing that vision.
  • Study people – Regardless of what roles you take on, you can always learn new things by...

About the Author

Kate Isler is Co-Founder and CEO of TheWMarketplace, an eCommerce platform that promotes women-owned businesses.

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