Megan Smith

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Megan Smith speaking at the Menorca Tech Talks, 2008

Megan Smith (born October 1964[1]) is a vice president, Google[x] at Google, was vice president of business development at Google for nine years, and was general manager of[2] and the former CEO of Planet Out.[3][4] She serves on the boards of MIT, Vital Voices, is a member of the USAID Advisory Committee on Voluntary Aid and co-founded the Malala Fund.[5][6][7][8] On September 4th, 2014, she was named as the next (and first female) Chief Technology Officer of the United States.[9] [10]


A native of Buffalo, New York, Smith graduated from City Honors School in 1982. She went on to receive her SB in 1986 and an SM in 1988, both in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 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 2000 miles across the Australian outback in the first cross-continental solar car race.[11]

Following MIT, Smith worked at a variety of start-ups, including Apple in Tokyo and General Magic located in Mountain View California, as product design lead on nascent smartphone technologies [12] before she got involved with the launch of Planet Out in 1995. She joined formally in 1996 as COO and from 1998 she was Planet Out's Chief Executive Officer, where she presided over that company's merger with[13][14]

In 2003, she joined Google,[15] where she rose to the vice president of business development, leading new business development and early-stage partnerships across Google's global engineering and product teams. She led many early acquisitions, including Keyhole (Google Earth), Where2Tech (Google Maps), and Picasa and later also took over as general manager of Google's philanthropic arm,[16] Smith co-hosts Google's Solve for X think tank.[17]

Smith serves on the board of MIT,[18] as well as on the advisory boards for the MIT Media Lab, DRAPER, and Technology Review, serves on the board of Vital Voices, is a member of the USAID Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid, an advisor to the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and co-founded the Malala Fund. Smith has contributed to a broad range of engineering projects, including a bicycle lock,[19] space station construction program, and solar cookstoves.[citation needed]

She is an active proponent of STEM education and innovation.[20]


  • World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer 2001, 2002 [21]
  • In 2012[22] and 2013,[23] Smith was listed by Out magazine as one of the 50 most powerful LGBT people in the United States
  • Reuters Digital Vision Fellow at Stanford, 2003-2004 [24]
  • Top 25 Women on the Web, 2000[25]
  • Upside Magazine 100 Digital Elite, 1999 and 2000[26]
  • Advertising Age i.20, 1999[27]
  • GLAAD Interactive Media Award for Internet Leadership, 1999[28]

Personal life[edit]

Smith grew up in Buffalo, New York, and Fort Erie, Ontario, and spent many summers at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York, where her mother was director of the Chautauqua Children's School. Smith married re/code technology columnist Kara Swisher in 1999. They have two children[11][13][29] and are currently separated.[30][31]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "The Women at Google". Marie Claire. March 12, 2008. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  3. ^ Lehoczky, Etelka (October 26, 2004). "Six who see the future". The Advocate. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  4. ^ Boss, Suzie (Fall 2010). "Do No Evil". Stanford Social Innovation Review. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Scola, Nancy (September 4, 2014). "White House names Google’s Megan Smith the next Chief Technology Officer of the United States". The Washington Post. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b McCluskey, Eileen (November–December 2007). "Megan Smith '86, SM '88". Technology Review. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  12. ^ Langway, Lynn; Pamela Kruger; P. B. Gray (March 1, 2001). "25 Women Who Are Making It Big In Small Business". CNN. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Hopkins, Jim (June 21, 2000). "PlanetOut CEO taps gay market Exec becomes power player in elusive $450B industry". USA Today. p. 7B. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  14. ^ Kuczynski, Alex (16 November 2000). "TECHNOLOGY; 2 Companies In Gay Media Plan to Merge". The New York Times. p. 4. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  15. ^ Hafner, Katie (September 3, 2003). "3 succeed in computer field, but women still lag". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  16. ^ Hardy, Quentin (24 February 2009). "Re-engineering". Forbes. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  17. ^ Woollacott, Emma (February 7, 2012). "'Solve for X' to tackle world's biggest problems". TG Daily. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  18. ^ "Corporation elects new members". MIT News Office. June 3, 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  19. ^ McNichol, Tom. "Wired 8.06: Must Read". Wired News. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ McCluskey, Eileen (2007-10-15). "Megan Smith '86, SM '88 | MIT Technology Review". Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  22. ^ "The Power List: MEGAN SMITH". Out. 17 April 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  23. ^ "The Power List: MEGAN SMITH". Out. 10 April 2013. Retrieved 15 April 2013. 
  24. ^ "Digital Vision Fellowship". 2003-09-11. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  25. ^ Mayfield, Kendra (February 1, 2000). "Women Geeks Honor Their Own". Wired News. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  26. ^ "Press Release: Steve Jobs Edges Out Bill Gates for Top Billing Among UPSIDE's 1999 Elite 100; ....". November 15, 1999. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  27. ^ "i.20: PlanetOut's Megan J. Smith". Advertising Age. November 1, 1999. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  28. ^ "Cruisin' The Web - AMBUSH Mag 2000 - Gay America". Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  29. ^ "Google working on social, news reader". San Jose Business Journal. September 16, 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  30. ^ Kara’s re/code Profile
  31. ^ Kara's Ethics Statement

External links[edit]