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I Am A Mainframer | Podcast

I am a Mainframer: Megan Rupert

By | December 21, 2023

In this month’s episode of the “I Am A Mainframer” podcast, hosted by Steven Dickens of The Futurum Group, guest Megan Rupert provides valuable insights into the evolving mainframe industry, underscoring the importance of diversity, community engagement, and the continuous adaptation of mainframe technology to meet future challenges.

Here are the top takeaways from their conversation:

Event Management in Tech: Megan discussed her pivotal role in event execution at Broadcom, where she handles conferences, one-on-one executive meetings, and third-party engagements. Her work is integral in bringing together professionals and experts in the mainframe industry.

Share Conference and Industry Revival Post-COVID: The discussion highlighted the success of the recent Share conference in New Orleans, with Megan noting a significant increase in attendance, which, to her, indicated a resurgence in industry engagement post-COVID. The conference attracted a diverse group, including many new hires and students, signifying a fresh influx of talent in the mainframe sector.

Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives: Megan leads Broadcom’s diversity efforts, focusing on creating a more inclusive mainframe community. She discussed organizing quarterly webinars and sessions on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I), aiming to foster awareness and allyship. These efforts have grown significantly, from small beginnings to well-attended events and sessions at major conferences.

Career Path Insights: Megan shared her unique journey into the tech industry, transitioning from marketing in the luxury sector to tech event management at Broadcom. Her story highlights the varied paths professionals can take into the tech world, encouraging listeners, especially students, to explore diverse career options.

Future of Mainframe Technology: Looking ahead, Megan sees significant growth in integrating AI and cloud technologies with mainframes, especially in high-security sectors like banking and government. This integration points to an evolving landscape where mainframes continue to play a critical role, reinforced by new generations of tech professionals.

Don’t miss this engaging conversation!

Watch the full episode here:

Or listen to the episode here:


Announcer: This is the I Am a Mainframer podcast, brought to you by the Linux Foundation’s Open Mainframe Project. Episodes explore the careers of mainframe professionals and offer insights into the industry and technology. Now your host, senior Analyst and Vice President of Sales and Business Development at Futurum Research, Steven Dickens.

Steven Dickens: Hello, and welcome to another episode of I Am a Mainframer. I’m your host, Steven Dickens, and we’re joined by Megan from Broadcom. Hey Megan.

Megan Rupert: Hi.

Steven Dickens: Welcome to the show.

Megan Rupert: Good to see you.

Steven Dickens: So let’s get the listeners and viewers orientated. What do you do for Broadcom?

Megan Rupert: I work on our event execution, so I’m on a small team where we manage our conferences, our one-on-one meetings with some of the top executives in our companies and customer places, and then third parties where we host people like you to come out and help us get people to come and show up at our events.

Steven Dickens: So we’re filming at Share in New Orleans.

Megan Rupert: Yes.

Steven Dickens: There’s a bit of background noise as they tear down the show. Tell us a little bit about this week. What’s it been like?

Megan Rupert: This week has honestly been amazing. We usually see two shares a year. One that’s a little bit smaller, and then we are summer share, which is this one that is a full five days. This one has been amazing. We’ve had a bigger turnout than they’ve seen in the past few, which is really great to see things slowly back.

Steven Dickens: They slowly feel like they’re back up to where they were pre Covid.

Megan Rupert: Yeah, they are. And people are coming out in drones. We’re seeing a whole new generation of people coming in, a bunch of new hires. Broadcom’s Vitality program has a ton of students here, so it’s really great to see that generational mix and everybody feeling really lively and really engaged.

Steven Dickens: Lots of different faces. I noticed a bunch of students, which is always great to see. And chatting to some of the Broadcom team and I know you lead some of the diversity work that trying to grow the community.

Megan Rupert: I do, yeah.

Steven Dickens: Broadcom does a great job of leading from the front with that type of stuff.

Megan Rupert: Thank you.

Steven Dickens: What are you guys doing in that space?

Megan Rupert: Yeah, so I really help project manage making a strong community stronger. It’s seven companies that have really banded together to say that diversity in the mainframe, and we’re an open industry. An ecosystem, really valuing everyone. So we’re hosting quarterly webinars, working with different moderators, different DE&I experts in the space that kind of come in and help give awareness and teach allyship on different diversity topics.

Steven Dickens: As a girl dad times four, it’s so important. I mean, I look at my teenagers and where they’re going to be in the workplace. It’s absolutely vital work you’re doing.

Megan Rupert: Exactly.

Steven Dickens: So give me maybe a perspective of how that’s grown. I know that I’ve been involved in a few of those events that the team has done. How’s that community growing?

Megan Rupert: Yeah, we’re seeing a great output. I mean, when it was started it was very small grassroots. Greg lot Co and a couple others in the industry were leading from top up. So they really put a team together to start managing from top down, and we’ve seen our LinkedIn growing. Last year was the first time making our strong community stronger, came to share. We didn’t really know what best to do. We had a reception, a few people turned up to.

Steven Dickens: I think I went to that. That’s great.

Megan Rupert: The next reception we had, everybody came.

Steven Dickens: Fantastic.

Megan Rupert: This time we’ve gotten DE&I sessions in about multi-generational teams about neurodiversity. So it’s really incredible to see not only the entire mainframe ecosystem embracing the diversity aspect, but also Share and the different conferences themselves really saying we want to bring this foot forward as well.

Steven Dickens: Yeah, I mean I think the mainframes always been that community.

Megan Rupert: Yes.

Steven Dickens: It’s weird how a technology has such a sort of rallying quality to a part of the industry, but you still got to foster it. You still got to grow it. You still got to put those programs in place.

Megan Rupert: Tech is a really hard industry for minorities in general. So really seeing the mainframe specifically say, Hey, we are aware of that and we want to make a difference, is so impactful. And more than anything, I hope that message gets out that if you’re new, if you’re in the tech space, you want to be in the tech space. This is really a phenomenal place to be.

Steven Dickens: Such a welcoming community, this event, but in general.

Megan Rupert: Yeah.

Steven Dickens: So let’s talk a little bit about you.

Megan Rupert: My least favorite topic.

Steven Dickens: I know, it’s called I Am a Mainframer. I’ve got to ask.

Megan Rupert: Exactly.

Steven Dickens: So we have a lot of people who watch this show who are kind of new, early hires, new professionals. We have college kids who are maybe looking at their first job.

Megan Rupert: Yes.

Steven Dickens: You’re not in the technology space, so I’m not going to ask.

Megan Rupert: Not exactly.

Steven Dickens: You’re not hitting the keyboards and coding.

Megan Rupert: I know a few things.

Steven Dickens: But you’re on the I Am a Mainframer show.

Megan Rupert: Yes.

Steven Dickens: Tell us a little bit around how you got into this space, where you went to college, how you got into Broadcom, what that route looked like.

Megan Rupert: Yeah, I mean, I guess really the skinny of it is I’m an NC State undergrad. Wolf Pack Nation. Did my master’s with them and Schema Business School. I was in marketing to begin with, but that really took me to the luxury sector. So really focusing on the psychologically of that 1% and kind of how they think. I did a few internships and was working with Louis Vuitton at the time. It was great. The pandemic came and contracts were not really an option. So I came back to the Durham area where I graduated. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do next, and Broadcom was in my LinkedIn with an event management position. So I thought, okay, this is really it. Do nothing about the company, to be fair when I started, but was met with such a phenomenal team and an amazing group. I mean, you’ve met our whole team, phenomenal people.

Steven Dickens: You’ve got a great team actually, to be fair at Broadcom.

Megan Rupert: Yeah.

Steven Dickens: I know some of those guys personally, but outside of that super professional team.

Megan Rupert: Phenomenal team. Absolutely. And really a good family, good partnership. We talk about our message being bigger together and that starts internally with us. So I really couldn’t ask to be at a better place. It’s been amazing to come to events like Share, to start learning about the technology, to start understanding just how incredibly impactful the mainframe is. It was big data was the term when I was in marketing, and we knew that that happened on the mainframes. So I knew it was critical, but now my job is employed by the mainframe, so I’d say it’s pretty critical.

Steven Dickens: Fantastic. So one of the questions I always ask the guests, and it’d be really interesting to get your perspective. Where do you see this technology going from here? Where do you see a, what’s the next 6, 9, 12 months look like? I’ll come back and ask you a different question a bit later, but where are you seeing the short term right now?

Megan Rupert: Yeah, I mean I think the short term is we’re really looking at AI and really exploding the cloud. But when you’re looking at banks, you’re looking at things that need high security like our government, the mainframe is really critical and the more that we are empowering people to not only understand the platform is secure, but secure a bowl, the more those industries are [inaudible 00:07:18]. Exactly, those industries are really going to be doubling down. They’re going to be investing more in the mainframe because with AI, with cloud, we’re going to have a whole new group of attackers and people trying to come in and break those secure structures.

Steven Dickens: So we talked a little bit about your path onto becoming a mainframer.

Megan Rupert: Yes.

Steven Dickens: You’re not that long out of college. Certainly not as long as I am out of college.

Megan Rupert: I’ll let you think it’s not that long.

Steven Dickens: Yeah. You put me under that impression. What would your advice be? You’ve kind of come a different route into the mainframe. What would your advice be? You get to chat to a bunch of seniors at college, go back to chat to yourself at that point. What would your advice be?

Megan Rupert: I think it’s try a little bit of everything. I think especially for students in college, you’re taught to find something you’re really interested in and to just go that path. I never would’ve thought I’d be in tech. I did nonprofit work my whole life before graduating, so coming into a corporate industry was never something I thought. I love it now. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. So I think even if it’s not something you think you’d be interested in, dip your toe in it, get a better understanding for what it is. You might find out you hate it, and then you’ve still learned something new about yourself.

Steven Dickens: Final question. We talked about the near term. Really interested to get, and I may be phrase this a little differently than I phrase it to everybody else because most of the people we have that show are kind of hands-on, they’ve got a technology perspective, but maybe what’s your view five years out for this community around this technology? I think you’ve got a good perspective to share there.

Megan Rupert: Yeah, I mean, I think especially when you’re at conferences like this, it’s really an incredible space to kind of see what has been and what is growing. We’re seeing more diversity come in terms of people, in terms of the technologies. Things like Share are picking up more AI tracks. So really understanding that more hybrid ecosystem of having the cloud involved, having the mainframe involved, and having a whole new set of users that we haven’t seen in tech before, kind of coming in and being the champions of that space.

Steven Dickens: Well, that’s a fantastic way to wrap. Really appreciate you being on the show. Thanks for joining us.

Megan Rupert: Yeah, of course. Thank you.

Steven Dickens: You’ve been listening to the I Am a Mainframer podcast. Do all those things like click and subscribe. It’s great for the algorithm and we’ll see you on the next episode. Thanks very much for watching.

Announcer: Thank you for tuning in to I Am a Mainframer. Liked what you heard? Subscribe to get every episode or watch us online at Until next time, this is the I Am a Mainframer podcast, insights for today’s mainframe professionals.