Local Business Woman Honored
February 6, 2012 8:38 PM

Redmond, WA -- Nov 10, 2005 --
Local Illinois Business Owner Honored With Microsoft Start Something Amazing Award
Thursday November 10, 12:00 pm ET

Bill Gates Recognizes Founder of e-websmart and the Cochlear Implant Awareness Foundation for Her Unique Use of Windows Technology.

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- After conducting a five-month nationwide search, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT- News) today announced the five winners of its Start Something Amazing Awards, honoring Michelle Tjelmeland of Springfield, Ill., for her unique and inspiring use of Microsoft® Windows®-related technology to pursue her passions of building Web sites and helping families affected by hearing loss. Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates will meet with Tjelmeland today at Microsoft's headquarters, where he will present her with the award for the Culture & Community category and discuss how she integrates technology into the operation of her Web-development business, e-websmart ( http://www.e-websmart.com/index.html), and nonprofit organization, the Cochlear Implant Awareness Foundation ( http://www.ciafonline.org).

"Today we celebrate the achievements of five highly creative individuals who used the Microsoft Windows platform to pursue their passions," Gates said. "Their stories, along with those of thousands of others who entered the Start Something Amazing Awards, are inspirational examples of the transformative power of technology."

The Start Something Amazing Awards were created to support the global awareness campaign called Start Something, one of the largest and longest marketing campaigns in the Windows brand history, which celebrates the countless possibilities for Windows to bring what people are passionate about to life using the hundreds of thousands of software applications and devices that work with Microsoft Windows XP.

When Tjelmeland became deaf at 22, she relied on technology to help cope with her hearing loss. She earned an online master's degree in computer technology and education from the University of Illinois, and started her e-websmart business out of her home. The company provided Tjelmeland with an avenue to successfully earn a living by using her Windows-based PC to communicate with clients and manage the business, from developing Windows Server(TM)-based Web sites and using Microsoft Office PowerPoint® for client proposals to tracking finances in Microsoft Office Excel®. After her daughter Ellie was born deaf, Tjelmeland developed the Web site http://www.iloveellie.comto share their inspiring story and connect with other families in similar circumstances. She also founded the Cochlear Implant Awareness Foundation, a nonprofit organization providing information, resources and support to prospective cochlear implant recipients and their families. With these efforts, Tjelmeland has relied on Microsoft Office, MSN® Messenger and Windows Media® Player to connect with people in the deaf community. Tjelmeland is also a member of The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce (http://www.gscc.org) and the National Association of Women Business Owners ( http://www.nawbo.org).

"I can't imagine what my life would be like without technology," Tjelmeland said. "Everything I do involves technology -- from communicating with others to using my cell phone with text messages and digital camera on a daily basis -- but, more importantly, technology gave me my life back by helping me go from silence to sound."

As the winner in the Culture & Community category, Tjelmeland will receive $5,000 worth of the latest Windows technology, including a Media Center PC, Tablet PC and iriver H10 portable music device. She will also receive a once-in-a-lifetime travel opportunity for herself and a guest, by selecting one of four exotic National Geographic Expeditions to either discover the cultural and natural wonders of Bhutan, explore Tanzania and Zanzibar, take a classical journey through Greece, or chart China's past.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

NOTE: Microsoft, Windows, Windows Server, PowerPoint, Excel, MSN and Windows Media are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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