Women Leading Through Change in Government: Megan Smith

We are living in an unprecedented time of change as we navigate the global crises in health, the economy, equality, and leadership.

Our Women Leading Through Change series highlights powerful voices leading the way across industries and communities. We share tools and strategies for professional and personal growth, and the power of data to elevate individuals, groups, and organizations.

Join Tableau for an open conversation with Megan Smith - former U.S. Chief Technology Officer, tech entrepreneur, engineer, and evangelist. As the third U.S. CTO, she helped harness the power of technology, data, and innovation to advance the future of our nation and the world. She recruited top tech talent to serve across government and to collaborate on the most pressing issues of the day, from data science and open source, to inclusive economic growth and criminal justice reform.

Ms. Smith will be hosted by Jennifer Nowell, RVP Federal, Tableau for a 30 minute fireside chat, followed by a 15 minute audience Q&A. Join us as the pair discusses:

  • Leading with technology during times of change
  • Creating a more open, collaborative, and responsive government using data
  • Mitigating unconscious and institutional bias
  • Recruiting and retaining inclusive teams

Over de sprekers


Megan Smith

CEO shift7, Former U.S. Chief Technology Officer (2014-17)

Smith is an award-winning entrepreneur, engineer, and tech evangelist. Today 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. Smith served as the third U.S. Chief Technology Officer from 2014-2017 helping the President and his teams harness the power of data, innovation and technology on behalf of the nation. Smith recruited top tech talent to serve across government collaborating on pressing issues, from data science, AI and open source, to inclusive economic growth 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. Prior to serving in government, Smith was vice president at Google for eleven years 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 was a VP in the Google X leadership team where she co-created SolveForX and Women Techmakers. 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. Smith is a board member of Vital Voices, Thinkof-Us, LA Olympics 2028; co-founder of the Malala Fund and the UN Solutions Summit, advisor to Silicon Valley Comes to the UK and the Algorithmic Justice League. She was selected as a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT, where she serves on the board as a life member. She completed her master’s thesis work at the MIT Media Lab. Smith is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Academy of Engineering.


Jennifer Nowell

RVP, Federal Civilian Sales at Tableau

Jennifer Nowell leads Federal Civilian sales at Tableau. Ms. Nowell is a proven leader with over 20 years of experience in Public Sector Sales. Throughout her career, she has successfully been tasked with building new businesses and new teams. In the last ten years, Ms. Nowell has managed direct sales teams in State, Local, Federal Government, Federal Healthcare as well as Education. She has continued to prove herself by building strong Public Sector teams in addition to sales, she has directly managed business development, program capture, strategic programs and cloud enterprise solutions within the Public Sector vertical. In April 2017 Ms. Nowell was named as a “2017 Industry Leader” by State Scoop. She is active in her industry community and provides thought leadership through blogging and social media. Last blogs are: “Federal Budget 2018: How will it Impact Cyber in State and Local Governments?” and “Will Congress Help State and Local Cybersecurity?” In addition to her accomplishments, Ms. Nowell has served previously on the Board for AFCEA Bethesda, the American Council for Technology - Industry Advisory Council (ACT-IAC) in support of public-private partnership, the National Defense Industry Association – Women in Defense and the Executive Women’s Forum (EWF). Ms. Nowell holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Radford University. She is married, has 4 children and lives in the Washington DC area.

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