In celebration of Women’s History Month, VMware presents a three-part interview series where inspiring women speak about their journey in STEM. They reveal challenges they faced, share stories about their role models and share the lessons learned along the way as guidance for women looking to break into the world of technology. Check out the additional interviews in this series with Sonia Gulina and Melissa Dunkerley.
At age 21, Megan Coppin enjoyed her first solo vacation, hopping on a flight to Paris, slightly terrified and with limited French language skills, she couldn’t help but give it a shot to prove to herself that she could do it. That same year, she became a first-time homeowner and lived independently with her two Jack Russell Terriers, Lucky and Boomer. Megan gained a thirst for adventure, learned responsibility and was taught the power of a strong work ethic from her role models: her mom, dad and stepdad. These attributes are ultimately what started her on the path she’s on today.
What Megan acquired on her own was an interest in technology. After seven years at VMware, she’s thrilled that her professional journey unfolded in this way.
The Best Things Happen Unexpectedly
Megan didn’t envision her career taking a sharp turn into the tech field. She currently serves as the Director of Global Success 360 Support Services at VMware, though she’s also worked in real estate and, before that, in advertising. “[Getting into tech] was not in any sort of plan. I had absolutely no technical background whatsoever and hadn’t considered it as a possibility.”
It wasn’t until a former advertising coworker recommended a global support leadership position at VMware that Megan considered leaving real estate. Going into the interview, she was nervous that despite plenty of managerial experience, her background wasn’t heavy in technology. The uncertainty she felt before the interview was swept away as soon as she met her VMware team. “I fell in love immediately with the people…from the interviewers, managers and support engineers I ended up working with for my first role here. It was a really phenomenal culture that just took me by surprise.”
Being Bored Is Boring
“There’s never a dull moment,” Megan raves about her roles at VMware. Megan feels excited to go to work each morning because every day is a new challenge. “I get bored if it isn’t. That’s why I’ve been here for seven years so far – you just can’t get bored. Every day, even in the same role, things will change and you are empowered to expand your scope. Change can be overwhelming at times, but it’s so much more exciting than the alternative. You can explore things here that you can’t at other companies.”
On top of her passion for her work, Megan loves her coworkers on the global support team. Among her favorite VMware memories are the 1:1 conversations, brainstorm sessions and team outings. Her brilliant colleagues remind her every day that she made the right choice leaping into tech, and they’re the reason the last seven years have been a joy.
Follow Your Passion
Megan’s advice to women looking to break into the technology field or launch their career in tech is that they should follow their passion. “If you’re passionate about what you do, there’s nothing that can stop you as long as you genuinely care about those around you and on your team.”
Also, once you’ve found your professional passion, it’s important to do your homework and find an organization that is the right culture fit. Gender has never been a hurdle for Megan during her time in the tech world, which she attributes to VMware’s inclusivity. “I think it comes down to company culture. Is it moving in the right direction? Does it give you a safe foundation? I do believe this company is incredibly committed to that. We’re on the same page and we’re rowing the boat together.”
An element of confidence also plays a key role when trying to break into technology. “I never walk into an interview or role confident that I already meet all of the requirements, but I’m confident that I can live up to it if given the chance.” Megan has let that confidence shine during her time at VMware, which has led her to manage more than 250 people in one of her most recent leadership roles!
Savor Every Moment
Megan doesn’t have one mantra or quote that guides her life; perhaps because she’s always on the go. A poignant quip may be relevant one day, but then life changes and a new one resonates. Megan realizes how quickly experiences are flashing by, so she’s consciously trying to take time to absorb it all. If she could go back and change anything about her journey, she would savor more of the stops along the way. “I think it’s natural for everyone to rush to get to the next meeting, the next project, the next whatever it is in their life. I don’t feel that I’ve savored enough of the good and the bad along the way. I want to make sure that I’m in the moment and recognizing the value I’m getting from each experience in real time versus reflecting on it later.”
Life in the tech industry moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss the journey. Once you’ve broken into the tech world, especially as a woman, Megan confirms, “It feels pretty darn good.”