Office Hour with Chris Pratley, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft

Monday, February 25, 2019 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EST (GMT -05:00)

Students and alumni are invited to participate in an exclusive Office Hour with engineering alumni Chris Pratley (BASc '91, Systems Design Engineering), Corporate Vice President, Office Media Group at Microsoft Corporation.

During this Office Hour, Chris Pratley will discuss why he chose the University of Waterloo, his career path from Waterloo Engineering to Microsoft, what it is like to work at Microsoft as well as tips on getting into a leadership role and how he has found success. Join fellow alumni and students for this virtual Office Hour to get advice on your career, ask questions, and get to know an executive at Microsoft. Please bring your questions! 

Join the Waterloo Engineering Hub (powered by Ten Thousand Coffees) to gain access to this Office Hour. If you are already a member of the Waterloo Engineering Hub, please sign in.

Chris Pratley (BASc '91)

Chris Pratley
BASc '91, Systems Design Engineering
Corporate Vice President, Office Media Group
Microsoft Corporation


Microsoft Responsibilities/Contributions: Chris Pratley is Corporate Vice President of media related services, products and technologies in Office 365. His team makes the Stream video streaming service for organizations, as well as photo, video, and 3D model editing tools for consumer, education and business across all popular device form factors and platforms. His team has a significant investment in machine learning and computer vision to enable understanding of media and visual sensor data. The goal is to make self-expression through video and media accessible to all through innovative new AI-powered user experiences that allow anyone to make quality output with others.

Pratley is a product visionary and intrapreneur who has incubated and launched numerous innovative and successful new products, including OneNote, Sway, and Office Lens. Prior to his current role, Pratley was Corporate Vice President of Evoke, a studio which builds video and photos tools for Windows. From 2012 to 2015 he was General Manager of Microsoft Sway, a new member of the Office suite. Sway is a digital storytelling service designed for today’s world of cross-device authoring and consumption, with its high expectations for beautiful responsive design, interactivity and ease of use.

Pratley previously incubated OneNote from idea through to release and steady growth and iteration, pivoting the product into a collaborative tool for teams and students. Pratley led the effort to develop iOS and Android versions of apps such as Word and OneNote, as well as the browser based versions of these apps and cloud services APIs.

From 2006-2012 Pratley founded and ran Office Labs, a group that incubated new product or technology areas working with business and technical leaders, some of which (e.g. Sway) are now products. Pratley has also run Product Planning and Product Design for Office, and from 1999-2006 led the Word product design team, where he championed support for international languages, web service integration, XML, and core word processing features. At various times Pratley also worked on Excel and Publisher. His first role at Microsoft was working on East Asian flavors of Excel and Word.

Pre-Microsoft Work Experience: Before he joined Microsoft in 1994, Pratley lived in Japan for several years working for Seiko-Epson Corp on their first Stylus color inkjet printer, and had a great time learning Japanese language and culture.

Education: Pratley is originally from Montréal, Canada and has a Systems Design Engineering degree from the University of Waterloo.

Affiliations:Pratley is involved in the parent council at his sons' school, is a board member of the Greater Seattle Bureau of Fearless Ideas, and is a past Director of the Unicode Consortium.

Family/Other Interests:Pratley lives in Seattle, and is married to Seiko Kobayashi. They have two boys, Ciarán and Skye, who think Daddy is a major goofball.