Megan Smith

Megan Smith

Founder & CEO


Washington, DC USA

The idea of ‘culture fit’ is very destructive. I don’t want you to fit, I want you to add.


By Roadtrip Nation

Megan Smith

Now Playing
Megan Smith HighlightInterview Highlight
Now Playing
InterviewThe Interview
Now Playing
Overcoming The Gender Bias In Media And TechnologyWeb Exclusive
Now Playing
The Importance Of Teaching Science To KidsWeb Exclusive
Now Playing
Why I Started Shift7Web Exclusive
Now Playing
I Don't Want You To Fit, I Want You To AddWeb Exclusive
Now Playing
How To Combine Tech And GovernmentWeb Exclusive
Now Playing
Finding People To Solve The World's ProblemsWeb Exclusive
Now Playing
Day In The Life Working At An LGBTQ Tech StartupWeb Exclusive
Now Playing
My Educational PathWeb Exclusive
Now Playing
Be Kind And InclusiveWeb Exclusive
Now Playing
Empowering Underrepresented Individuals To Pursue EntrepreneurshipInterview Excerpt
Now Playing
The Importance Of Networking And Diversity In TechInterview Excerpt
Now Playing
My Career PathInterview Excerpt


My road in life has taken me all over.
Grew up in New York in an entrepreneurial family—my mom and dad worked on local environmental issues, education, and community development.
Attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where I earned my bachelor’s and master’s in mechanical engineering.
In the late 80's, I was initially interested in working on renewable "green" energy projects, but decided to transition into working on the new developments in Internet technologies.
I was part of designing early smartphone technologies at General Magic and worked on product development at Apple in Japan.
In 1998, I became the CEO of PlanetOut, one of the early leading LGBTQ online platforms that partnered with major web players to create diverse content and community.
Worked for Google for over eleven years—first, leading new business development, and later, as the Vice President of Google X where I helped pilot innovation and tech diversity initiatives.
In 2014, President Obama appointed me as the 3rd Chief Technology Officer of the U.S. where my team focused on how technology policy, data, and innovation can advance the future of the nation.
In 2018, I founded shift7, which seeks to connect diverse tech talent from around the world and expand social innovation—I am also a board member of MIT and co-founded the Malala Fund.
Keep following my journey


High School
Mechanical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mechanical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Founder & CEO

I am an entrepreneur, engineer, and the former Chief Technology Officer of the United States.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Learning / Being Challenged

Day to Day

The goal of shift7 is collaboration and collective genius. I work to leverage what already exists in the tech sphere and accelerate that. I'm constantly looking for other areas to expand into like economic uplift, job tours, etc. I also do a lot of work in the equity of what we see on screen and I explore ways to balance that out (in terms of gender, race, representation, etc.). We are implementing AI tools to start working in that space and in many others.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

Build your creative confidence. If you find something you like, go deep on it. Travel as much of the world as you can in order to expand your perspectives and challenge your ability to learn. Having an engineering background can be really beneficial in helping you develop an analytical perspective which is valuable in a wide variety of careers.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

Follow your intuition and take advice from the people around you. Find people that are doing work you are interested in and go meet them or talk to them. Mentors can help you navigate things. Learn from history and remember the accomplishments of those that came before you. Use it as inspiration and let it give you confidence and courage.


The Noise I Shed

From Peers:

"Why would you go into government?"

Challenges I Overcame

Gender Discrimination