|3rd Chief Technology Officer of the United States|
September 4, 2014 – January 20, 2017
|Preceded by||Todd Park|
|Succeeded by||Michael Kratsios|
|Born||October 21, 1964|
(m. 1999; div. 2018)
|Alma mater||Massachusetts Institute of|
Megan J. Smith (born October 21, 1964) is an American engineer and technologist. She was the third Chief Technology Officer of the United States (U.S. CTO) and Assistant to the President, serving under President Barack Obama. She was previously a vice president at Google, leading new business development and early-stage partnerships across Google's global engineering and product teams at Google for nine years, was general manager of Google.org, a vice president briefly at Google[x] where she co-created WomenTechmakers, is the former CEO of Planet Out and worked on early smartphones at General Magic. She serves on the boards of MIT and Vital Voices, was a member of the USAID Advisory Committee on Voluntary Aid and co-founded the Malala Fund. Today Smith is the CEO and Founder of shift7. On September 4, 2014, she was named as the third (and first female) U.S. CTO, succeeding Todd Park, and serving until January, 2017.
Early life and education
Smith grew up in Buffalo, New York, and Fort Erie, Ontario,[circular reference] and spent many summers at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York, where her mother, Joan Aspell Smith, was director of the Chautauqua Children's School. Smith graduated from City Honors School in 1982. She went on to receive her S.B. in 1986 and an S.M. 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.
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 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 Gay.com.
In 2003, she joined Google, where she rose to the vice president of new business development, leading early-stage partnerships, pilot explorations and technology licensing 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, Google.org. Smith co-created and co-hosted Google's Solve for X solution acceleration programs 2012-14. In 2012, she started Google's "Women Techmakers" diversity initiative to expand visibility, community and resources for technical women globally.
In 2014, she left Google to become the 3rd U.S. CTO. In that role, Smith recruited top tech talent to serve across government collaborating on pressing issues, from AI, data science and open source, to inclusive economic growth, entrepreneurship, structural inequalities, government tech innovation capacity, STEM/STEAM engagement, workforce development, and criminal justice reform. Her teams 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, and the Image of STEM campaigns.  After leaving the White House in 2017, she helped launch the Tech Jobs Tour, which aims to promote diversity in the technological sector. Smith serves on the board of MIT, Vital Voices, LA2028, Think of Us as well as on the advisory boards for the MIT Media Lab and the Algorithmic Justice League. She is also a member of the Award Selection Committee for the distinguished Carroll L. Wilson Award at MIT. Smith has contributed to a broad range of engineering projects, including a bicycle lock, space station construction program, and solar cookstoves.
Her appeal for technologists to work in public service at the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing inspired several Harvard University students to create the national non-profit organization Coding it Forward which creates data science and technology internship program for undergraduate and graduate students in United States federal agencies.
Smith was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2017 for leading technological innovation teams and efforts to increase diversity and inclusion in STEM industries both nationally and globally.
- World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer 2001, 2002
- Listed by Out magazine in 2012 and 2013, as one of the 50 most powerful LGBT people in the United States
- Reuters Digital Vision Program Fellow at Stanford, 2003-2004
- Top 25 Women on the Web, 2000
- Upside Magazine 100 Digital Elite, 1999 and 2000
- Advertising Age i.20, 1999
- GLAAD Interactive Media Award for Internet Leadership, 1999
- Charging Buffalo Award, 2015
- Matrix Hall of Fame, 2015
- Business Insider 23 Most Powerful LGBTQ+ People in Tech, 2019
Smith married technology columnist Kara Swisher in Marin County in 1999 (before same-sex marriage was legal in California). They have two sons, Louis and Alexander, and are divorced.
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- "Office of the Chief Technology Officer", Forbes, White House
- Arnold, Jenna (2017-11-08). "First Female CTO Of The U.S. Megan Smith Hopes Tech's History Can Repeat Itself". Forbes. Archived from the original on 2013-08-19. Retrieved 2018-03-01.
- "Corporation elects new members". MIT News Office. June 3, 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
- Smith, Megan (November 10, 2014). "Distinguished Fellowships - Carroll L. Wilson". MIT. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
- McNichol, Tom. "Wired 8.06: Must Read". Wired News. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
- Smith, Megan (October 11, 2013). "'Passion, Adventure and Heroic Engineering'... and Talent Inclusion". The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
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- "Team". shift7. Retrieved 2021-04-11.
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- "Digital Vision Fellowship". tow.com. 2003-09-11. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- Mayfield, Kendra (February 1, 2000). "Women Geeks Honor Their Own". Wired News. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
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- "Cruisin' The Web - AMBUSH Mag 2000 - Gay America". 22.214.171.124. Archived from the original on 2012-11-29. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
- "SAVE THE DATE: 37th Annual Buffalo Nite to Honor Megan Smith Sept. 16". WashingtonExec. Retrieved 2016-03-16.
- "MATRIX HALL OF FAME". NYWIC. Retrieved 2021-03-29.
- Leskin, Paige. "The 23 most powerful LGBTQ+ people in tech". Business Insider. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
- Wallace, Benjamin (15 July 2014). "Kara Swisher Is Silicon Valley's Most Feared and Well-Liked Journalist. How Does That Work?". New York Magazine.
- "Google working on social, news reader". San Jose Business Journal. September 16, 2011. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
- "Susan Ann Ventre". Scranton Times. Legacy.com. 2012-01-24. Retrieved 2018-03-01.
- "Kara Swisher Biography and Ethics Statement". re/code. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
- Heney, Paul (14 January 2019). "Leadership in Engineering: Megan Smith's vision of technology for all". Design World. Design World. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
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