As Managing Director for inTulsa, Megan Thomas deftly takes on the vast, fulfilling role of guiding the inTulsa team in helping to contribute to the creation of a vibrant, inclusive city filled with opportunities for people to build tech careers.
How and where did you get started in your career?
I grew up an hour north of Seattle in a small-town farm community. After graduation, I attended the Claremont Colleges outside Los Angeles, studying engineering. I got my first job at Boeing, working on military C-17s.
Soon, I moved into leadership, R&D, and project management — and discovered I was good at bridging the gap between management and engineers. I loved that niche — figuring out how to get people to work together to solve problems. So, I went back to school for my MBA, and then joined PricewaterhouseCoopers, consulting to help solve problems in the area of healthcare. I learned a ton about running a business and managing long-term, transformational projects like new product launches and post-mergers and acquisitions work.
How did you move from a career in engineering in LA to in Tulsa?
As my career evolved, I found myself leading large teams for companies trying to implement complex initiatives. So, I was on the road a lot. When my husband and I decided to start a family, I wanted to reduce my business travel and I joined a small, innovative local consulting firm, Point B.
Though I enjoyed the work, driving two hours one way in Los Angeles was hard. I began working from home doing recruiting for Point B. During that period, I was given the opportunity to run recruiting for Point B — with a focus on transforming our hiring strategy to help drive company growth, which was very rewarding. When the pandemic hit, we paused hiring, but with that came the opportunity to do something different and think about the impact I wanted my professional career to have on people.
After talking it through with my husband, we got in the car during the height of the shutdown and just drove to Tulsa and rented a house here. And it’s been wonderful. We’re closer to family. We love the community. It’s been the change we needed to balance our lives between family, work, and community.
What led you to come on board with inTulsa?
I met Mike Basch, who runs Atento Capital, the ideator behind inTulsa’s formation. He and I discussed how we didn’t have a mechanism to solve the talent need for people here in Tulsa. Talent is a most important element for companies that want to grow here, or want to move here, and it’s really hard to meet that need without a solid pipeline. Mike invited me to see how we can connect talent in the tech space. The opportunity excited me — drawing on my experiences in engineering, problem-solving, project management, tech, and talent.
When I joined inTulsa, I was ready to build something. I have always had this entrepreneurial knack and drive, but this was the right time in my career to pursue it. My managers at Point B taught me how to manage people, have a strong culture and put people first. Overseeing inTulsa became a great opportunity to build something from scratch.
On top of that, I had previously focused my entire career on corporate America. When the pandemic hit, I felt like I wasn’t helping to make things better and didn’t know how to make that kind of contribution through a for-profit company. At inTulsa, with our nonprofit, community structure, I gained a way to use all three areas where I have skills — tech, project management and talent — and focus those skills on impacting people’s lives, opening up opportunities and changing the trajectory of people’s career and families. I feel like I’m contributing in a powerful way.
What’s a day in the life of a Managing Director?
I see my job as supporting everyone on the team. What we’re doing at inTulsa hasn’t been done before, so I spend a lot of time brainstorming with the team, figuring out how we move forward, taking feedback, gathering ideas, setting our direction, and clearing roadblocks. I engage in lots of conversations and collaborations with everyone. That’s where I love to spend my time — ideating, trying things, seeing if it worked, and then building on those successes.
What gets you excited to go to work in the morning?
I feel super fortunate with the team we put together. I feel like we’ve been fortunate finding people with different skill sets that allow us to have broad perspectives when trying to solve problems. At the heart, our team members are so service-oriented and truly believe in our mission and providing people-centered services.
I love working with the people I work with, and I love the work we’re doing. I really like the “we don’t know how it’s going to happen” part — the problem-solving creativity. Those two things — our people and the work we do — combine to make my role fun.
What can people expect when working with inTulsa?
There are two things we emphasize — the relationship and treating people with respect. Our connections are long-term, not transactional, and we want to help candidates and businesses find the right fit. We’re helping people get to where they want to go. So, we get to know the person and what they’re looking for, rather than just looking at the resume and trying to fit them where it’s easy.
We have many tech-related roles, so we focus on helping candidates interview, providing honest feedback, and coaching them. If you want to land a job you’ve never had before, you might need five interviews to get there. Our folks will spend time with the candidates helping them prepare based on what we know about the company and the tech role and what we know about them.
What do you love most about Tulsa?
So many things! Tulsa is such a warm community. In Los Angeles, everything was stressful — people were everywhere, and things were just harder. Here, it’s easy to get around. The lack of a commute here is amazing. I can get so much more done in my daily life,
I’ve very much enjoyed the pace of life here, and the friendliness. People here want to stop and have a conversation. They get to know your name, and they remember you.
Moving here has been so good for us as a family too. My kids have been able to make new friends and enjoy a supportive community. It’s been so healthy for them. And we’ve met so many families through their school.
I also love how much opportunity there is in Tulsa to be entrepreneurial. If you have an idea, you can try it here. Things aren’t astronomically expensive here, so you can launch something new. You see a lot of people doing their small businesses and passions. It’s awesome!
Any favorite places that you recommend people new to Tulsa should check out?
My husband and I like to go to shows. The BOK Center is fabulous — lots of well-known acts and great shows come through, and it’s ten minutes away from where we live. Tulsa also has a lot of other options where you can go to see live music.
The other recommendation I have is the Gathering Place (the enormous, award-winning, kid-friendly park). For kids, that place is amazing. When you go there, you see all sorts of people there — from all around the city and its surrounding areas — which is why the park was created. You can see everybody in the community, and that’s really cool.
I feel very fortunate to be in Tulsa. I would never have predicted I’d be living here and working at an organization like inTulsa. Every day I’m very grateful, because Tulsa has amazing people and provides a wonderful environment for families. I’m appreciative to be part of it.