20th Anniversary Visionary Awards: Megan Smith introduced by Ryan Panchadsaram and Leanne Pittsford


At the 20th Anniversary Visionary Awards on June 8th, 2017, we had the privilege to honor Megan J Smith, 3rd US Chief Technology Officer, Engineer, Entrepreneur introduced by Ryan Panchadsaram from KPCB and Leanne Pittsford from Lesbians Who Tech, Tech Jobs Tour and Include.io.


As the third U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Smith and her team helped the President harness the power of technology, data, and innovation to advance the future of our nation and the world. Smith recruited top tech talent to serve across government and to collaborate on the most pressing issues of the day, from data science, open source, and artificial intelligence, to inclusive economic growth and criminal justice reform. She focused on broad capacity building by co-creating all-hands-on-deck initiatives including the public-private program TechHire, the Computer Science for All initiative, Global Connect and the Image of STEM campaign.


Prior to her role as U.S. CTO, Smith served as Vice President of New Business Development at Google, managing early-stage partnerships across the company’s global engineering and product teams for nine years. She led acquisitions of Google Earth, Maps, and Picasa, championed diversity and inclusion, steered the shift of Google.org to include more direct engineering impact such as Google Crisis Response, and later served on the leadership team of Google[x], where she co-created SolveForX and Women Techmakers.


As CEO of PlanetOut, Smith was a leader of the online LGBT community in the early days of the Internet. She drove engagement and revenue by partnering closely with top Internet companies including AOL, Yahoo!, MSN, Netscape, Real Networks, and others. She also worked as an engineer at General Magic on teams designing early smartphone technologies and at Apple Japan in Tokyo. Today she serves on the boards of MIT, the MIT Media Lab, and Vital Voices. Smith holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT. She was a member of the MIT student team that designed, built, and raced a solar car 2,000 miles across the Australian Outback. She has recently been elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering.

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