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Megan Smith

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Megan Smith Profile Photo

EXCLUSIVELY AVAILABLE THROUGH WSB

Megan Smith

CEO shift7, Former U.S. Chief Technology Officer (2014-2017)

A catalytic and innovative visionary, believing that the future of technology is already here.

Megan Smith Profile Photo

Megan Smith is CEO and co-founder of shift7, a company working collaboratively on systemic social, environmental and economic problems — finding opportunities to scout and scale promising solutions and solution makers and engage proven tech-forward, open, shareable practices to drive direct impact, together.

An award-winning entrepreneur, engineer, and tech evangelist, Smith served as the third U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President from 2014-2017 — working on issues from AI, data science and open source, to inclusive economic growth, entrepreneurship, structural inequalities, government tech innovation capacity including recruiting top tech industry talent to serve across government, STEM/STEAM engagement, workforce development, and criminal justice reform. Her teams often collaboratively drove broad capacity building by co-creating all-hands-on-deck initiatives, including the public-private program TechHire, the Computer Science for All initiative, and the Image of STEM campaigns.

Smith spent over eleven years as vice president at Google leading new business development where she managed early-stage partnerships, pilot explorations and technology licensing across the global engineering and product teams; she led acquisitions of Google Earth, Maps, and Picasa; led the Google.org transition to increase engineering adding Google Crisis Response, GoogleforNonProfits, Earth Outreach/Engine; and later co-created WomenTechmakers, and SolveforX. Earlier, Smith served as CEO of PlanetOut, an online LGBTQ community and digital media company in the early days of the Internet, worked on early smartphone technologies at General Magic and at Apple Japan

Board member of MIT, Vital Voices, LA Olympics 2028, Think of Us; co-founder of the Malala Fund and United Nations Solutions Summit; advisor to the Algorithmic Justice League, USC Viterbi and Silicon Valley Comes to the UK; selected as a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer. Smith holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT and completed her master’s thesis work at the MIT Media Lab. She was a member of the MIT student team that designed, built, and raced a solar car 2,000 miles across the Australian outback in the first World Solar Challenge. Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Academy of Engineering. 

*In partnership with CAA*

Featured Videos

Megan Smith Profile Photo
Megan Smith
Infinite Future: Infinite Roots – Megan Smith
Megan Smith Profile Photo
Megan Smith
Megan Smith on diversity in tech | Full Session | Code 2018
Megan Smith Profile Photo
Megan Smith
Biases in the Tech Industry
Megan Smith Profile Photo
Megan Smith
Megan Smith | The 2019 MAKERS Conference

Megan Smith’s Speech Topics

  • Innovation Nation: How to Creatively Source and Accelerate Solutions to Our Most Significant Challenges

    Can we scout and scale technology solutions to the biggest challenges our society faces using the venture capitalist model? Can we capacity build the American people? Megan Smith argues that we can—in fact, she shows that we already are. At Google, General Magic, and Apple Japan, she brought deeply cross-functional teams together to solve significant challenges. Smith adopted that same approach in the federal government, identifying patterns and best practices that are making a difference in towns and cities across the United States, and then exploring how to reproduce them in other parts of the country. From retraining and building confidence in their colleagues in Eastern Kentucky to reducing prison populations in Miami-Dade County, Smith’s examples will illustrate how your organization can identify what’s already working and how best to replicate that success.


  • How to Build a Creative, Confident, Inclusive, and High-Impact Workforce

    Megan Smith believes that, in order to fully unleash your organization’s economic potential and competitiveness, you have to include a broader team in problem-solving. She refutes the notion that diverse voices haven’t always been part of the story, pointing to significant contributors from America’s “missing history.” Smith also explains how we can move much faster to retain and recruit inclusive teams, mitigate unconscious and institutional biases, and foster “ecosystem thinking”—bringing more people to the table, inspiring creative confidence, and solving our biggest problems.

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