Bachelor’s degree in political science, Davidson College (North Carolina)
Part of Meagan Gleason’s job with the Juneau Economic Development Council is to get Alaska’s young adults to do exactly what she did - come back home.
One of the initiatives Gleason spearheads for the JEDC is the Knowledge Industry Network, a program aimed at, among other goals, promoting entrepreneurship and networking. "The Knowledge Industry Network works to engage, retain and bring back the 20- and 30-somethings that Alaska is so desperately needing right now," Gleason said.
Gleason, who grew up in Angoon and Juneau, made her return to Alaska from North Carolina, where she went to college and worked with start-up companies during the dot-com boom. "The JEDC has a very innovative approach to economic development," she said, a draw for her coming back to Alaska. Gleason took the knowledge she gained from working with active and competitive entrepreneurs to try to infuse some of that same energy and attitude in her home state.
"During the dot-com boom it was critical for the creation of some of these businesses that opportunities were available to network in the business community," she said. "Many of the companies were started by the relationships that were established at these networking events."
Gleason believes that similar networking opportunities in Alaska will help entrepreneurship within the state.
Gleason is also in charge of the JEDC’s SpringBoard program, which aims to boost the technology industry in Alaska through work with the U.S. Department of Defense.
Outside of work, Gleason is an active athlete. A stand-out basketball player in high school and college, she has coached youth basketball teams in the past. Not afraid of taking on new challenges, she joined a hockey league and is working on sharpening her skills on the ice. "Learning to skate was a challenge," she said. "The boards and I became very good friends quickly."
Gleason is also involved with the Affordable Housing Committee for Juneau, the Economic Development Task Force for USDA Rural Development, and participates with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program.
One place in the world you would visit: Peru to hike up to Machu Picchu
Favorite place in Alaska: On a boat somewhere outside of Admiralty Island
If you could trade jobs with anyone, who would it be: Steve Jobs, and I hope it would be on one of the days they’re doing strategic development for a new product.
One word that describes you: Idealistic
Where do you hope to be in 10 years: Either a business owner who is developing a product that everyone in the world needs one of, or an executive for a company that has a continually evolving, yet super exiting offering, probably in consumer products.