The latest candidate in our series of Q&As with influential women in the technology business in Canada is Megan McMurray, General Manager, Toronto, Billdr Renovation, a Canadian PropTech company with a digital platform that supports homeowners with their renovation journey from start to finish.
Name: Megan McMurray
Job Title & Company: General Manager, Toronto, Billdr Renovation (home renovation project planning and construction management.)
Years in the Industry: 15+ Years
The Quote That Most Inspires You: “If you’re always trying to be normal, you’ll never know how amazing you can be.” (- Maya Angelou)
What drew you to a career in the consumer and/or business technology industry?
I was interested in what Billdr was doing through tech to improve the renovation experience for homeowners and contractors. Tech provides so much efficiency and ease and transparency to this industry, which is typically really difficult for homeowners to navigate. It supports a project so that everyone involved can focus on the human relationships that really solidify success.
Have you encountered any roadblocks along the way that were related to your gender?
Working in the construction and renovation industry for over 15 years, I’ve definitely encountered roadblocks. I’ve been underestimated, overlooked, and disrespected. I think the hardest thing is having to be the one to educate those around me, pointing out bias and addressing my own preconceptions of what it means to be a “working mother.”
The roadblocks are often inevitable in the industry. But when you find a team that is willing to support you in that education process, like the team at Billdr, the roadblocks are less daunting.
What unique characteristics or perspective do you feel you bring to your organization as a woman?
My empathy and connection with my clients and peers has always been my greatest strength and one I bring to the table at Billdr. It’s always easier to reach a solution when you understand where each party is coming from and what might be impacting their perspective on the problem. I think this is something that most women learn at an early age. Unfortunately, it also often means that we typically put the needs of others before our own.
Technology is historically a male-dominated industry, yet the use of tech is fully embraced by women, and many studies even suggest that females are the primary buyers of tech in the home. What do you feel the technology industry needs to attract more women, particularly into high-level positions?
I think it’s hard to be what you can’t see. I’ve seen young women leave a STEM-based career because they couldn’t find an example of another woman succeeding over the long term.
Mentorship is key and so is representation. Opportunities like this, sharing my career story, highlights how present women actually are in the tech space. I hope this inspires other women to enter the industry knowing they’re welcome.
If you had to sum up what it is like being a woman in this male-dominated technology industry in just a few words, what would you say?
It can be lonely and frustrating, but there is so much opportunity. The industry has come a long way but work still needs to be done. That will only happen when effort is made to ensure everyone has a seat at the table.
Are there women in the tech industry who inspire you?
I’m sure this comes as no surprise since she is a major figure in the Canadian tech space, but Michele Romanow. Of course, her career has been one to watch, but we were in the same undergraduate engineering program and I’ve followed her career ever since. I admire how confident, composed and well-spoken she is in any situation. I knew as early as our undergraduate days that she would go far.
It’s figures like her who demonstrate that women can not only work in the space and succeed, but also dominate it.
What are some of the misconceptions/myths about women working in the technology space that you’d like to dispel?
That we need to be accommodated. Really, we need to be empowered to harness our diverse skill set. At the end of the day, it will only benefit the business, not hinder.
What’s one thing you wish was done differently in the industry, and why?
I wish the industry provided more support for families and all of life’s different circumstances. Many use language like “I don’t know how you do it,” making women feel like they need to be superwomen, juggling it all. Instead, let’s build a support system that actually helps women do it.
Are you optimistic for the future in general and for the industry?
Of course. We need to continue to do the work and support women and girls at all stages of their journey. The world will eventually figure out that everything is better when we’re at the table.