Maeghan Smulders – “Never Settle, and Stay Curious”

If you’ve ever interned at a company, you know the importance of selling yourself, and fast. An internship is like an extended interview. It’s your chance to try out a company, and for the company to see if they like you – so you have to make a big impression in a short amount of time. And that’s just what Maeghan Smulders did when she created ProjectONE12, a speed-interning test in which she interned at 10 companies in just 112 days.

maeghan_smulders

That’s right, spending just a week at each company, Maeghan had the opportunity to try out the top ten choices (including Google, Facebook, BBDO and more) from her whopping 29 job offers upon graduation from Mount Royal University. The idea for ProjectONE12 was born when Maeghan’s mentor joked that she should accept all 29 of her job offers. Though he said it as a joke, Maeghan says, “the more I thought about it, the more it totally made sense. I have always learned best by doing things, so why would making a decision like this be any different?” ProjectONE12 received international media attention, causing her to receive another load of job offers, and Maeghan moved to Quebec to work at Beyond the Rack. “As time passed,” Maeghan says, “my entrepreneurial spirit was craving something more,” and she moved on to join the team at PasswordBox as Director of Product Marketing and Communications.

PasswordBox is a tech startup that instantly logs you in to your favourite websites and apps without you having to type in or even memorize your passwords. It’s a digital life manager that can be used to collaborate securely, keep track of all your important data including credit cards and passports in your digital wallet, and can even care for your digital legacy after you’re gone by passing it on to someone you trust with Legacy Locker. Sounds pretty good to me – we rely on cyber security to protect our data and we often compromise the security of our passwords so we can remember them easily. I’d feel a lot better if I could make complex passwords and trust something like PasswordBox to remember them for me.

maeghan_smulders_android

Out of the dozens of offers she received upon completing ProjectONE12, Maeghan chose tech companies. Why? “I think the learning curve was the most steep and interesting to me,” she says. “I love being able to solve problems quickly and iterate and evolve with the solutions we plan. I love that you can bridge so many industries and ideas together – tech and non-profit, tech and health, tech and travel…there is an endless runway of opportunity. It’s so cool to make it your own and be surrounded by a community of people who support, care and challenge you to be better.”

It’s that breadth of possibility that inspires me to be in technology, too. It’s like we’re in the pointed end of an open-ended cone – the range of possibilities and the number of unique developments will only grow exponentially as we progress into the future. Just look at Google’s latest announcement, Project Tango: its development could revolutionize mobile gaming, apps and communication once again. And to think touch phones have been on the market for less than ten years! *mind blown*

At PasswordBox, Maeghan started as one of two women in the company. Now she’s known as the “hype girl,” because part of her job as an evangelist is to get people excited about the product. Never daunted by being one of the only women, Maeghan calls her team “some of the most passionate people I’ve ever met.” She talks a lot about her love for the startup community, saying, “the work experience you gain [at startups] is unlike anything else – it is maximum exposure and the opportunity to jump ahead in the game and get your hands dirty.”

On women in technology, Maeghan has a positive outlook. “There are more women role models every year in tech, which is very inspiring to me. For too long I assumed the space wasn’t for everyday girls, only technical nerds and high profile women from corporate USA – but for women who love building things, being creative, and solving problems, and for women who aspire to do big things, I couldn’t think of a better place to start.”

maeghan_smulders_toronto_star

signature 1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s