This week, we are thrilled to highlight the remarkable achievements of Megan Smith, an award-winning entrepreneur, engineer, and tech evangelist who has dedicated her career to making the world a better place through science and technology.
Megan's passion for innovation and social impact became evident at an early age when she won her first industry honor—an impressive school science fair award—for her experiment on solar power. This accomplishment foreshadowed her future contributions to the field of technology and her unwavering commitment to shaping a brighter future. After completing her undergraduate and master's degrees in mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Megan embarked on a journey that took her to the heart of Silicon Valley. For over two decades, she worked as a pioneering engineer and executive, making significant contributions to renowned companies like General Magic, Planet Out, and Google.
However, Megan's ambitions extended beyond corporate success. Driven by her desire to create a positive societal impact, she made the bold decision to leave her role as a Vice President at Google and transitioned into public service at the White House. In 2014, Megan was appointed as the third Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in US history, where she harnessed her expertise to shape the future and drive meaningful change in the world of STEM.
During her tenure as CTO, Megan championed crucial initiatives that aimed to democratize access to technology. She recognized the importance of coding literacy and advocated for its integration into the elementary curriculum, suggesting that computer programming lessons should begin as early as second grade, parallel to the teaching of reading. By promoting coding education, Megan sought to equip future generations with the skills necessary to thrive in an increasingly digital world.
Megan's impact extended far beyond educational reform. She focused on creating policies that empowered innovators while safeguarding citizens, tackling issues ranging from artificial intelligence and open data to inclusive economic growth, entrepreneurship, government tech innovation capacity, and criminal justice reform. Through her leadership, Megan fostered a collaborative environment that brought together diverse voices, ensuring that everyone had a seat at the table when shaping the future of technology.
Building upon her vast experience and passion for social impact, Megan co-founded Shift7, an organization committed to tech-forward networked innovation that addresses systemic economic, social, and environmental challenges. Through Shift7, Megan and her team actively seek out promising solutions and solution-makers, applying sustainable models that leverage resources, talent, technology, and capital to drive meaningful and scalable impact across under-resourced spaces.
Megan Smith's journey exemplifies the transformative power of technology and the immense positive change that can be achieved when passionate individuals combine their skills with a vision for a better future. Her tireless efforts to make technology more inclusive, her advocacy for coding education, and her commitment to amplifying the voices of women in STEM serve as an inspiration to aspiring tech advocates worldwide.
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