Megan Gardner graduated from Smith College in 1998 with a BA in History and  a minor in Women’s Studies. During her four-year tenure at Smith, Megan lived  in Sessions and Gillette. She also spent her junior year in Cordoba, Spain. While  at Smith, Megan served as Secretary of the SGA.

After graduating from Smith, Megan worked in investment banking on Wall  Street. She was a financial analyst at Deutsche Bank and then as a senior  associate at SoundView Technology. Megan earned her MBA at Harvard  University in 2006. Upon graduation, she was awarded the Harvard Leadership  Fellowship, which took her to Central America with the United Nations where she spearheaded foreign investments to the region.

Most recently, she served as the Director for Strategy and Business Development for Ameriprise, where she advised the CEO and Senior Management team.

Currently, Megan serves as the CEO of Plum District, an Internet start-up that features daily deals for moms and families. Based in San Francisco, Megan oversees a team of more than 15 employees and hundreds of contractor associates and leads the company’s strategy and business development efforts. When asked about the highlights of her most recent role, Megan said, “Being the CEO of Plum District ( is an incredibly gratifying and fulfilling experience. It’s through our efforts that moms across America can access the necessities and luxuries that make their lives easier and more enjoyable.”

Megan is married to Mike Forbes, and she is currently committed to reading a new book every week.

How did you end up working for Plum District? I was brought in by the angel investors to run the company in early Spring 2010.

How did Smith prepare you for this role? Being an entrepreneur has always been my dream.  Smith provides amazing opportunities to really test out your dreams.

How did an MBA fit into your career choices? Getting an MBA was always on my radar as I knew that I wanted to run my own business and wanted a degree that would round out my skill sets.

What is your advice for those considering an MBA? I highly recommend for those that have clear goals of what they want in their career and life.  It is not a small investment – both from a time and monetary perspective – but I’m very happy that I did it.

How did you transition job to job? My career trajectory was a combination of seeking new skills and serendipity.  Having a plan is important but not everything can be planned – sometimes you just need to make a jump.

Each month, we’ll feature one of the women of SAMBA.

To recommend someone – including yourself! – please contact Ann Lemon.

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