As a leader in the world of DE&I, Megan McCann’s advice for both companies and staffing providers is simple: don’t focus so much on perfection that you are stymied from taking action. The CEO and founder of McCann Partners draws inspiration from Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani, and urges leaders to show up “brave, not perfect.”
Her journey began in 2013 when she experienced an “a-ha” moment after seeing the lack of female leadership represented at an industry event. In response, McCann and colleagues began hosting a quarterly dinner, called the Chicago Executive Women’s Networking Group, which provided resources and mentorship for senior women in technology. Those dinners ultimately grew into ARA, which aspires to attract, retain and advance women in technology.
Since its creation, ARA has reached more than 6,000 people, helping women not only navigate the tech industry but also stand up for equal pay and promotion opportunities.
While it originally focused on tackling the lack of female representation in the industry, national events caused ARA to pivot and serve as a platform for other underrepresented voices, partnering with i.c.stars, Chicago Tech Academy, and Black Women in Science and Engineering for a series of events focused on racial injustice. “All of it was really difficult work,” McCann says. “It’s about being mindful of how things are changing and looking holistically within organizations. It’s not just checking a box that you’re doing the work; it’s actually doing the work and putting the time in.”
McCann’s commitment to this work is evident in McCann Partners’ placements: More than 70% of hires made in the last two years have been diverse. McCann says she is humbled to have the opportunity to help others. “You’re lifting someone into the next role that they’re aspiring to be in, you’re helping them carve their path in their career, you’re helping clients accomplish their work.”
2021 DE&I Influencers List