Megan Valentine Bigelow

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Just a kid from a working-class family in rural Battle Ground, Wa

 

In 1986, when she was just seven years old, Megan touched her first computer at her grandfather's house. It was many years later, at the age of 14, that she used her grandfather's computer–with the help of tech manuals and the Internet Service Provider's tech support–to dial-in to a Bulletin Board System (BBS) using a 14.4k modem. In this moment, she fell in love with computing.

In 2000, as a college graduate, Megan began her career as an entry-level Help Desk Technician, working her way through various IT departments. As a Systems Administrator in 2007, she thought she had landed the job of her dreams, until she discovered a male colleague was making 30% more than her, doing the exact same job. Thinking tech was a meritocracy and not knowing anything about the gender pay gap, Megan thought there was something wrong with her. This caused her to embark on an exhausting journey to work harder and be better. After five years of this over-functioning, Megan attended the Grace Hooper Women in Computing Conference and discovered the power of women coming together–in the same industry–to support one another. This experience inspired her to make change in her own city.

A true tech community leader, Megan is the co-founder and President of Portland Women in Tech (PDXWIT), a 501c3 nonprofit. She created and continues to lead the organization with a singular focus on empowering women and underrepresented groups to join tech, while at the same time, supporting and empowering individuals to stay in tech. This is done by connecting people to companies, mentors and skill-building opportunities. The PDXWIT community is over 5000 strong — representing 29% of Portland’s tech workforce — and includes the support of 80+ tech companies. Above all, Megan is committed to building a diverse and inclusive tech community.

In her day job, Megan is the Director of Customer Care at Jama Software, responsible for the Global Technical Support and Technical Account Management teams. Her favorite part of the job is the eclectic and quirky mix of personalities that showcase the team as a social experiment in how to turn being yourself into a high-performing team.

Finally — and most importantly! — Megan is the mother of two young children, Jette (5) and Francis (2), and enjoys packing everyone up with husband Scott Bigelow for bike rides to nearby swing sets.

Inquires: megan@pdxwit.org