This profile is published as part of Pledge 1%’s Women Who Lead series, which celebrates women in the Pledge 1% community who are creating change within their workplace and communities.
Morgan McMillan is the Executive Director of Pledge 1% Colorado. She was hired as the first E.D. (and paid staff) for the Entrepreneurs Foundation of Colorado (EFCO) in 2012. After partnering with Salesforce, Atlassian, and Rally for Impact in 2014 to launch the global Pledge 1% platform, the EFCO board decided to rebrand and expand to Pledge 1% Colorado to better align our work with the global movement.
Read the full interview below to learn more about Morgan’s experience and what inspires her to give to her community.
Q1: What inspired you to work in this industry?
I had been working in the nonprofit sector for a decade and observed the struggle to connect nonprofits with the startup community in a meaningful way. Often participating organizations from both sides of the aisle were left feeling dissatisfied from their interactions. EFCO sought to positively impact community nonprofits in a way that aligned with startup culture. Ryan Martens’ (founder of Rally Software) passion and vision for how startups could intentionally establish a culture of giving at the earliest stages was also really inspiring! You could really see how that commitment drew employees to Rally and sparked a deep loyalty to their company.
Q2: What would you tell women who are looking to work in tech? Any advice on how they can build their career?
I respectfully acknowledge that my role is more on the periphery of technology companies so I can’t directly speak to the challenges women might face – but my experience working with Pledge 1% companies demonstrates an authentic desire by many tech companies to be inclusive of a broader workforce. Leadership matters. A company may have an HR department that values inclusion but if it isn’t shared broadly by the leadership team, the culture won’t reflect it. I’ve also seen the importance of establishing a network of support. Connecting and meeting regularly with other women in tech and the broader startup sector provides emotional support – but it’s also a great business strategy.
Q3: Is your company a Pledge 1% member or do you personally give back to your community? If so, how do you give and to what cause?
I’ve been a longtime volunteer with Intercambio Uniting Communities, a local organization that teaches English to adult immigrants and works to build cross cultural understanding.
Q4: Do you serve as a mentor? What does mentorship mean to you?
I’ve mentored people formally and informally over the years. Sometimes that looks like advice or bouncing around ideas – and sometimes it means intentionally inviting a mentee to a meeting or a network gathering. Professionally and personally I’ve realized that so much of success depends upon strength of network and that too often our networks look just like us – ethnically, economically, education level, and sometimes gender. I look for opportunities to mentor and include people who aren’t currently ‘at the table’ to expand their network – and mine, too!
Q5: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received to help you with your career?
Your priorities shift at different times in your life. You do the best you can and try not to feel guilty about the things that get put on the backburner. (This was particularly poignant for me as I had two children after joining EFCO and while launching Pledge 1%.)
Q6: What’s the one piece of advice you would give to yourself 5 years ago?
Work to maintain focus. You will be pulled in many directions. Listen, reflect, and filter out those that don’t align with your purpose. And enjoy all the new stuff you’re about to learn!