Shelli Brunswick Interview with iBPW Live
Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team
We are thrilled to have Shelli Brunswick with us. She is the COO of Space Foundation. She brings a broad perspective and deep vision of the global space ecosystem to us today. From a distinguished career as a space acquisition and program management leader, and congressional liaison for the US Air Force, to her current role, including overseeing the Center for Innovation and Education, Symposium 365, and Global Alliance. Advocating for space technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, diversity and inclusion. Shelli collaborates with organizations around the world to connect commercial, government, and educational sectors. Shelli actively participates with women in Space Foundation Women’s Global Gathering, United Nations Space4Women, WomenTech Network, World Business Angels investment forum, New York University, Manufacturers Edge and Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC. It’s a real honor to have you here with us Shelli. Thank you so much for taking the time to share with more than two thousand of our global participants the journey of excellence and innovation at Space Foundation under your leadership.
Well, thank you so much Jose, it’s an honor to be joining you here today, as well as our esteemed guests who are joining us to learn more about space innovation, and how we look at that as creating more access and opportunity. I also want to thank your sponsors for making today possible, so thank you. What I’d like to do is go through some of my slides and walk you through why space is so important, why are we seeing this surge in interest and activity and investment in space. We believe that space for you is space for all, so when we advocate for innovating, we’re bettering life here on earth, and I’m going to walk you through, what does that innovation mean. Jose, as you shared, just as you shared, Space Foundation has those three main areas, our Center for Innovation and Education is about lifelong learning, a platform for teachers, students, entrepreneurs, business leaders, we have our Symposium 365, which is the global premier source for space networking and events, and we have our Global Alliance which is a collaborative forum.
So, let’s talk a little bit about what is this space economy, and why is it so important, and why are we hearing so much about it now? I mean you can’t turn on a news channel and not hear about exciting space news so the global space ecosystem in 2019, according to Space Foundation was $424 billion, and depending what analyst you listen to, it could be Bank of America, UBS, Morgan Stanley, they’re projecting that global space ecosystem is going to grow, tripling to $1.2 trillion by 2030, and then we’re seeing by 2040 it could be more than $3 trillion, so you’re seeing exponential growth and opportunity in this space ecosystem. More than 85 countries are now participating in the space ecosystem as well and here in the US we look at that space ecosystem as 80% commercial. So many people are thinking about NASA or the European Space Agency or the Chinese space agency, but really in the US 80% is commercial, and that means its jobs and economic opportunity.
So you’re thinking about that space ecosystem, you’re thinking about launch vehicles and satellites going to Mars, and lunar activity, but I also want you to think about those technologies that are part of that space ecosystem: data analytics, there’s so much information coming off sensors, especially sensors in space, we need artificial intelligence to combine with data analytics, and put the human in the loop to create product and actionable services, and so right now we don’t have enough individuals that are pursuing data analytics, but that is part of the space ecosystem. Energy and energy storage solutions to go to Mars, we know we need different technology than the solar panels or battery storage solutions we have, so we need to look at new and different energy storage solutions, but we can also use that technology here on earth as we want to capture more non-carbon emitting energy solutions. We look at health care, when you think about healthcare, mammogram technology, cataract surgery, and so many more technologies have come from space, and as we look to go to Mars, we will have to look at extending and slowing the aging process for humans. What technologies will those unlock? Bringing Pharmaceuticals to market faster using microgravity environment, miniaturization of products, advanced manufacturing, the entire ecosystem, not just for space, but aerospace and defense. Our food supply industry runs on manufacturing, so as I walked you through some of this you can see where that emerging technology is interfacing with space technology.
For those of you who are interested in learning more about this, or you want an idea to become an entrepreneur, a great place to start that look is at the NASA technology transfer office. Many of these ideas I’ve just shared with you, whether it’s agriculture, telecommunications, energy, health transportation, and more, NASA has patents that are waiting to be commercialized and brought to market, as well as the European Space Agency. So, if you’re looking for great ideas or more information, again, please go to the NASA technology transfer office. I shared a little, Jose`, with you in the audience, about what are some of these space technologies that are benefiting us right now on earth? Many times, people don’t realize how everyday we’re interacting with space technology, whether it’s the cell phone you are using, athletic shoes you’re wearing, or cordless power tools you’re utilizing, those all have come from space technology. We continue to look how space technology benefits our lives with better weather forecasting, if we’re transporting goods and services around the world we need to have good weather, we don’t want cargo ships running into hurricanes, or we don’t want to get on airplanes that are going to travel somewhere without the pilots having the best weather prediction that is coming from those space satellites, but we also look at fire retardant clothing, firefighters and children, that fire retardant application came from space technology, and again, I share that there’s many healthcare advantages to incorporating space technology, in developing it.
So as we look at the global space ecosystem, when we’re looking at that $424 billion number again, I highlight that 80% is commercial and that 20% is government spending, and we’ve broken out the government spending by U.S. government and all other governments, but we are seeing other governments, such as China, and the UK, and India, and Germany investing more in space innovation and technology, but really the big growth is going to come from those investors and entrepreneurs that want to take space technology and commercialize it here on earth to help make our lives better. You can see space technology has really changed. 40 years ago, we really looked at space as, you work for the government, whether it was a U.S. government, or another government agency, military, or civil such as NASA, or the US Air Force, or you worked for a contractor, Lockheed Martin, or United Launch Alliance, or others, that created and provided space technology solutions to the government. But that pendulum has swung now, or you see a variety of entrepreneurs now leading the way in space technology. Many folks are aware of Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos, but there are so many others, and also when we look back 40 years we really looked at a different workforce, we looked at a workforce that was primarily STEM related, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Now we’re looking at a pendulum that is allowing all citizens to find a place in this space ecosystem that is non-stem. Traditional careers, you know, we still need plumbers, and electricians, and transportation experts. We need trade workers, we need artists, we need business entrepreneurs and innovators, we need business administrators, as well as stem professionals. So now the opportunity has opened, we also look at creating lifelong learning, so as this technology is coming on board, we’re seeing jobs that are going away, but technology is going to replace jobs, a number of jobs will go away by 2025 and 2030.
What are those new jobs coming on board, how will they incorporate the technology we’re learning? One of the examples I always like to share is mechanics, you know 40 years ago, you took your car to a mechanic, they opened the hood, they tinkered, they figured out what was wrong, and they repaired it. Now you bring a car to the mechanic, and the mechanic has a diagnostic tool that plugs into the car, the car runs a diagnostic and tells the mechanic what’s wrong with it, what might need to be looked at. So again, it’s about embracing that technology, and how change, jobs may change with that technology. So we’re looking at, how do we create that lifelong learning? You know, it’s early childhood immersion, in the data, in the classroom, with this technology, is providing career paths, and role models, and mentors, and then it’s providing upskilling and reskilling as this technology continues to evolve. We also want to look at embracing a workforce that has been under represented in the technology and space sector, and in the US, we would call that minorities and women, but really global, we also are looking at regions around the world that have not been part of the space innovation sector, and that could be parts of Africa, or the Middle East, or India, or South America, and we want to help create that access and opportunity globally.
So I share with you there is a challenge to this emerging technology and space innovation, we do have that workforce shortage, we need more individuals to come into these new careers, and those individuals are in the workforce, but they are not necessarily in the space ecosystem. They make up an untapped workforce and they could be women and minorities. I also like to say they could be in the inner city or rural communities that don’t necessarily think that space is a career path for them, so we need to help create that awareness and help transition individuals who have not been part of the space ecosystem into the space ecosystem. We also look at a skills deficit right now, even during COVID, the space industry is hiring, we are open for business. There are jobs that are going unfilled. The challenge is, I have a workforce that has a skills mismatch, and that skills mismatch could be, we could look at the entertainment industry or the tourism industry. We know during COVID a number of workforce around the world has been laid off, but we could look at reskilling and upskilling them into a career path related to space, and not all career paths require that PhD, some require internships, or a certificate, a high school diploma, or college education, again reskilling and upskilling with a Community College or an intern program, and again PhD. So, there’s opportunity for all individuals throughout our workforce to find a new opportunity if they are displaced.
And then again, we see that innovation gap, all that technology that’s coming to market, with thousands of patents, that are waiting at NASA and ESA technology transfer office, that are waiting to be commercialized and brought to market, and unlock innovation. When I talk about this innovation, let me put this in a number, since 1984, in the US, Global Positioning System, GPS has unlocked $1.4 trillion in economic opportunity, just in the US alone. GPS is a US product that was deployed by the US government, so U.S. government investment, and in the US alone that has unlocked $1.4 trillion just in the US. Think about that globally, so when I’m talking about this innovation, there’s huge opportunities to create innovation, but also create jobs. For that reason, Space Foundation has launched our Center for Innovation and Education. This platform is about lifelong learning, and allowing all citizens to be able to find their place in that global space ecosystem, whether it’s students and teachers, how do we bring that technology into the classroom so we show students those multitude of career paths, teachers so they are able to help students find their way, entrepreneurs, how they can navigate this global ecosystem, and again, professionals who are already in the space ecosystem or in the technology arena, so we’re looking at that workforce of today, as well as the future workforce.
So, how does the space foundation operate? How do we work? Well, we look at partnerships, sponsorships, grants, fund raising, endowments. It’s all about working together to solve greater goals than we can solve alone. Space foundation, in our Center for Innovation and Education, has a workforce development road map, and the five steps are: awareness, and that’s why I’m joining you today, this is about creating awareness about these wonderful opportunities that await individuals who want to join us in the space ecosystem, it’s been creating access, how do individuals find a way into this space ecosystem, and I shared one of those. For those who want to be entrepreneurs and are looking for an idea, you could go to that NASA technology transfer office and look if there’s a technology you would like to bring to market you could apply for that patent. Sometimes you can apply for the seed funding to initially start that process, there’s also training, even if you want to come into the space ecosystem you may need to be reskilled or upskilled, whether it’s in advanced manufacturing or data analytics, there could be a need to have the proper training. It’s about finding the connections; this program is a wonderful opportunity for building connections and relationships. We also have our Space Foundation 365 virtual program that you can access, as well as our in-person symposium event that will take place in August. That will be a hybrid model still during COVID, as well as in April of 2022, that will be a full version, where we like to bring the global space ecosystem together in Colorado Springs, which is approximately 15,000 people: military, commercial, civil, international. So, it’s about creating those connections with that ecosystem, and of course, many times I like to say, it all starts with mentorship. I have that listed as the fifth step, that many times finding a good mentor or a champion or a coach can be the first step in joining us in this space ecosystem.
So this is how Space Foundation likes to operate, you are on that circle that says, “Space Foundation”, and as you look out, you’re looking at, who is the audience you want to have an impact with? So let’s say it is business leaders, you’re looking to invest in entrepreneurship, so we may look at small business and entrepreneurs as our target audience, we then go to the next ring that says outcomes, what are the measures of success if you want to invest in creating more entrepreneurship and innovation? How do we measure that success? Then we look at the outer ring and say, what program does Space Foundation have? Do we meet all your measures of success? Singular as Space Foundation alone? Or do we look to partner with an innovation hub or an incubator or a University to create a holistic approach to accomplishing your goals and objectives, and then on the sides I have the 16 different areas Space Foundation sees as the space ecosystem, so you’ll see, one of those is definitely space and that’s where you’ll find Elon Musk and launch vehicles, but you can also see the other areas I spoke about: agriculture, energy, environment, financial, our entire financial system is running on space technology, the Internet of Things in manufacturing.
So again, if you want to join us in the space ecosystem, being an investor, being an entrepreneur, to find your career there are a number of different disciplines you can participate in. Let me walk you through a couple of these examples for your audience. We launched our Space Commerce Entrepreneurship Program, initially it was in partnership with the Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency, and our goal was to create that access for minority businesses women and under underserved communities. We opened it up to college students as well, to find a pathway into the space ecosystem. In less than a year we were able to support 275 plus underrepresented entrepreneurs, we awarded 18 of them scholarships to come to our Space Symposium, that event where we bring 15,000 people together, so they could interact and network with entrepreneurs and other space individuals and like-minded individuals. One of those individuals, one of those startups, was able to change their product line based on our program and our feedback, create a vertical integration network with companies, both government and large companies that would be interested in supporting them, and they were able to walk out with several letters of interest. We also have another company I just heard from this week, that went through our program, that just was awarded a government grant to continue the next phase of their research.
So again, our goal with these programs is to create a trajectory for those companies to come into the space ecosystem, creative product, or service, unlock that innovation and create success for themselves, but also benefit humanity, and again this follows our five step workforce development road map, creating that awareness, access, training, connecting, and mentoring. You can go to our website at spacefoundation.org to see 15 of our free webinars and learn more about; what does it mean to become part of the space ecosystem.
The next thing I’d like to share is, we believe entrepreneurship is so important we’ve actually created a program to bring into junior high, in high school, called our Junior Space Entrepreneurship Program, and for this program we partnered with Lockheed Martin, NASA, and Junior Achievement, and again, it was all bringing those 21st century skills into the classroom, creating a teeming culture, learning about going to Mars and safely returning, but also, then, what did we learn from going to Mars, was there something we could commercialize and create a business, and bring it to market, and again this is about instilling innovation and entrepreneurship in our future workforce. So, we looked again at following our workforce development road map of awareness: access, training, connecting, and mentoring. I shared with you that many of these steps with that workforce development road map start with networking and mentorship. Here’s a few great areas you could look at in addition to iBPM: United Nations Space4Women mentor network program has mentors around the world that could help you find your trajectory, improve, create access into the space ecosystem, Space Generation Advisory Council also has global connections, Women in Aerospace, WomenTech Networks, and although it says WomenTech Network, that is open to minorities and diversity throughout the world, and they have a wonderful mentoring program as well as online programs. If you’re interested in conducting research, you could apply to be a researcher there, and of course, the Women’s Global Gathering at our annual Space Symposium. I did share with you our Space Symposium 365, which is our year-round virtual platform for you to connect with the global space ecosystem. So, if you’re interested in joining us at the Space Foundation, you can go to our website and learn more Spacefoundation.org, you can connect with me on LinkedIn, and more. So, what I’d like to do now is, I’m going to stop sharing because I’d like to come back and talk with you more, and Jose I know has some questions that we’re going to take and go from there.
Thank you so much, Shelli for this insight and views into the space foundation and what’s happening there, and I’m going to change my background here for our digital transformation focus that we have, and so one of the first things that emerge in the questions, and I ask the audience to keep posing those questions, I’m going to pass as many as possible to Shelli in the time that we have here, is that you have done some great work looks from your presentation, on really increasing the engagement of a diverse audience and then bring in you know, minorities and women in India into this ecosystem. So one of the themes and questions is that, what have you learned so far in this process, how has that progressed, any success stories that you can share about bringing this somewhat underrepresented communities into the ecosystem?
Absolutely. Well, again I shared with you that the Space Foundation Center for Innovation and Education is about creating that access and opportunity, so we do many programs. It could be a girl STEM event to talk about space and create those career path or partnerships, we’re also looking to partner with different states in the United states to create more access and opportunity for young girls to find career paths, and again, we look at that United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs, Space4Women mentoring program that is all about creating access and opportunity to allow women and girls throughout the world to find a way into this space ecosystem, and again, Jose, as I shared, it’s more than just launch vehicles and going to Mars, and although those are awesome, it’s also about health care, advanced manufacturing, and data analytics, and robotics. So, what we want to do, if you go to that UN website, you’ll see that the mentors that are up there are very diverse, and I represent the business side and entrepreneurial side, but we have doctors and healthcare, one is from Canada, we have doctors from Africa that are taking space technology and applying it to better agricultural methods. So, I share with you Jose, that that is one great way of helping to break down barriers and create access into this space ecosystem.
That’s terrific Shelli, there are a few questions here about your, about your own personal professional journey, so if you can tell us a little bit about yourself, just how did you, how did you end up coming into this direction with your personal and really your professional career?
Well, that’s a great question, and thank you so much for asking ’cause everyone has a different career path, and again, it’s about sharing and creating that role model and access. So, I always like to say my career has three different chapters. So, that first chapter is, I enlisted in the US Air Force right out of high school, so I did not go to college right out of high school, so again, you don’t have to go to college right away, you can find what is the best path for you. College is one path, but there are many others, so I enlisted in the US Air Force and I was a personnel specialist, and Jose, I’ll have to admit, I had the travel bug, so the Air Force was wonderful. It took me internationally to be stationed in Turkey, in Germany, and during those times, I was able to serve my country during the day, travel the beautiful countryside of Turkey and Germany and Europe, but also, I did start going to college at night and earning my college degree.
So when I was still enlisted I was stationed at the US Air Force Academy, which is one of the primary commissioning sources for the US Air Force, and I had some champions that supported me and encouraged me to apply to become an officer in the Air Force. Now, during my presentation, I shared that you should have mentors, coaches, and champions. Now, a champion is someone who’s very senior to you that can help you position yourself in your career, move, and some of those champions I had were the Wing Commander, the Base Commander at the Air Force Academy, and they again, encouraged me to apply to be an officer, and they supported me with letters of recommendation, so I did apply to be an officer, and I do not have a STEM degree. So, again, I will highlight, in the past you really had to have a STEM degree to be part of the space ecosystem. I have a business background, at that time the Air Force was looking for STEM professionals and my opportunity to be selected was 12% 12-one two, but I applied because you should always go for it, you should always try. Don’t give up, don’t have regrets. I applied, and the first time around I was not selected, however, in the Air Force, your application will automatically meet a second selection board, so you could just let your application go, or you could update it. You could go back to your champions and ask them to redo their letters of recommendation, you could update your answers, you know, your narrative, your why you want to be an officer. I did all those things, I went back to those champions, I updated those letters, I updated my application because you should always put your best foot forward, even if the odds might be against you, always want to do your best, because somebody else may be watching you and seeing how hard you work, how you put yourself out there and present your best.
So that’s what I did, and on the second board I was selected to be an officer in the Air Force, and I was selected to be a space acquisition officer. I didn’t really know what that was, but I was excited to be an officer, and that started my journey into this aerospace and space ecosystem. Now, I sure I didn’t really want to be that space acquisition officer, and again, this started, I should highlight, the second chapter of my journey. Being an officer, I didn’t know what a space acquisition officer was, but I’m going to share with your listeners that that means being a project manager. I really wanted to do something I knew, which was personnel, so I went back to the Air Force and said, could I go, can I be a personnel officer? And they said, we really need you to do this. So, I share with your audience again, don’t be afraid to try new things, get comfortable being outside your comfort zone, because that’s where real opportunity takes place. I’m so grateful the Air Force helped me make this decision.
I then became a space acquisition officer, I was stationed at the Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles, and that’s where I learned about ground stations, and launch vehicles, and on orbit assets, and orbital planes. I also did a tour with Boeing, where I was able to do and be an intern and learn about their C-17, but really about data rights, and the supply chain, and how critical that supply chain and manufacturing is to the aerospace and defense industry. I also was a professor of acquisition, space acquisition, at Defense Acquisition University, and then I culminated my career in the Air Force working on Capitol Hill as an Air Force budget and appropriation liaison, securing the budget to support the Air Force’s programs, and that ended my second chapter. And now I’m on my third chapter, which is being the Chief Operating Officer at the Space Foundation, and so it’s a privilege to talk to you today in this chapter, has been so exciting because it’s allowing me to take all the things I’ve learned over the last 30 years, and share them with others to create opportunity for the next generation to join me in this space ecosystem, so thank you, Jose, for asking.
That, that is terrific, what a great journey, track record, you have developed in each one of those stages, and it’s so wonderful to see that you’re in that position now, just serve and help others, you know, come along a similar journey, and in a time, as you mentioned in your presentation, where the space ecosystem is really kind of expanding exponentially. I mean, if you go a few decades back, you know, you think about space, you think about NASA, you think about JPL, you think about this very kind of niche type of things, and, or maybe, I want to be an astronaut. That’s the way, kind of, people think about it, and then they say, wow, you know, the odds are very small, so I’m not even going to try, and not completely true, as you, as you depicted, there’s so many diverse opportunities in the space program, but then those opportunities have, scale exponentially as we get more private industries come, private organizations come into the fold with SpaceX, and Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, and a whole long list of organizations that are coming through the space program, space programs now, and space tourism, you share the numbers with us, which are amazing. Curious about your perspective in the next, let’s say 5 to 10 years, what are you expecting in terms of the development of the space ecosystem, is it more about you know, Mars exploration and tourism, are there other components there that are going to become big? I mean, what does it look like if you, if you dare to predict the future in the next 5 to 10 years?
Well, there’s a lot of exciting things going on, and so we haven’t even talked about it yet, but as we look at that SpaceX industry growing, and again, you saw all those technologies I shared in my presentation, you’re also seeing the investment opportunity, so in the past, you looked at a lot of investment strategies, where it had to be venture capital, or angel investors, or large companies, that invested in that technology, but now you’re seeing a very different landscape in how innovative technology can be brought to market, and so you’re seeing, there’s a saying now, you can’t spell space without SPAC, special purpose acquisition company, which is like a blank check, but it’s a way of bringing companies to market whose value, that valuation, may not be seen for several years. That was not an investment strategy just two or three years ago, and what a SPAC does is, it allows the company to come to market, and it allows retail investors, that again, we didn’t see four or five years ago, retail investors, whether you are using a Fidelity account, or Robin Hood account, invest in these sustainability disruptive technologies that could change our world and make it a better place. So again, the investment strategy is, there you’re seeing ETF’s come out, whether it’s Kathy Woods ETF from ARK, and then you’re seeing still the traditional mergers and acquisitions, so what I share with you, Jose, is the timing is right for space technology, it’s very exciting right now, it’s disruptive, but there’s also the ESG, the ESG investors the environmental, social, and good governance, that want to invest in technology that’s going to better our lives, and so you’re seeing a very large investment group that’s part of that. So, that wasn’t exactly your question but I do think it’s important to highlight how this emerging technology is really going to come to market and be financed, because the financing strategy has changed, which is going to allow more disruptive technology to be brought to market with different funding instruments.
So, let’s talk about your main question. Now, I’m going to see a number of jobs going away, technology is going to displace more individuals, and so, what we need to do, is really work together to create, what are those new jobs that are going to come on line? Similar to the mechanic, I described the mechanic jobs not going away, we’re just going to change how the mechanic interacts with the car, but we also need to look at, how do we ensure that we’re bringing more underrepresented groups into these technologies? You know, as women, and diversity, inner-city, rural communities, sub-Sahara Africa, South America, we need to make sure that we’re allowing all citizens on planet earth to be part of this new wave of technology. I absolutely do believe that the $1.2 trillion space economy that’s being forecasted by 2030 is realistic, potentially even low. I do predict that by 2040 that $3 trillion number they’re projecting is probably low, so this space based economy is definitely going to grow, that innovation is going to grow, so I hope that kind of answered your question? That we’ve got to have the workers, the technology, and the investment strategy to make this synergy happen, and I am seeing those three players all come to the table to really allow this to happen.
Absolutely that’s, that’s, those are great insights Shelli. I’m going to change gears with you, share something from my own personal perspective, and try to understand how you’re bringing women into the fold, in a field that, where women have been under represented for decades, and I will, I’ll highlight that, because on my own personal, professional, experience for the past 25 years, I have worked with very large, or global organizations, on creating ecosystems for innovation, acceleration, and intrapreneurship, not entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, which there’s some similarities and some significant differences, but what we have learned, which it was by chance, I must say, never designed it with that intent, is that we end up operating in areas that are very male dominated, with operations and technology, which just by the nature and evolution of those areas have a higher-have a much higher proportion of males than females, but what we have observed, is that, when we create a meritocracy of ideas, with clear execution, mechanisms, and we provide just enough structure that is clear, how I engage in the system, what we have seen is a flourishing, booming of collaborative leadership, and specifically, by women, in where over 30,000 Excellence and Innovation, the leaders that we have worked with, when we look at this subset of really successful ones, more than half of those are actually females, which was never a design, it was never looking for equity of outcomes or anything like that, it was really an accessibility, an equal opportunity, where their collaborative leadership skills have really flourished, and innovation has really, they have really accelerated innovation. Now, I have my own hypothesis, I think partially is because women bring different perspectives to male dominated fields and we both know that the essence of innovation is the ability to take different perspectives as opportunities. So my curiosity is, I know, you have, you’re such a strong, now, champion for women and you’re creating this mechanism in which, you know, diversity and inclusion is important to foster innovation, you experiencing some of this from your perspective on the entrepreneurial world, are you seeing not only that more women that are standing up to participate, but they are actually becoming disproportionately successful with their collaborative leadership skills, is that something that you’re observing?
So, that is a great question that I want to, it is more challenging for women and minorities to come into the entrepreneurial area, they get less investment and they also have less mentorship and they have less networks. So, what I share with you is that one of the things we see with the Space Foundation Space Commerce program to bring more underrepresented groups in, was again, creating that access point ’cause once they’re at the table they have great ideas, they’re solving challenges in a different way, and that’s the important thing about diversity, when you bring everyone to the table, you may learn that there are challenges that need to be solved, that you were not, you weren’t aware of, and in the diversity may have a different way of approaching it that becomes more profitable, and that’s what we’ve seen by companies, and boards that have more diversity on them, is that they are more profitable bottom lines, and so that’s a good reason to do it. In addition to ESG, another group that I work with is the World Business Angels investment forum, and I’m a senator for the US, and I serve on the Global Women’s Committee, and we do see that disproportionate investment in women, and that mentorship, so that’s why I’m so passionate about mentorship, finding a mentor, whether it’s WomenTech Network, World Business Angels investment forum, finding that mentor, but I also share with you, Jose, it’s important for investors to also understand how to look for those entrepreneurs, especially if it’s an, it’s an entrepreneur who may not have the same background and understand how to come to the table and be educated to look at the, as you said, the merits of the idea, and the thought process, so that we can make sure that women and minorities do receive the investment capital, or they received your support with your network, so that’s one of the things as a mentor I do, is when I connect somebody as an example, is one of the women I’m working with is a Native American, so I was able to connect her with an individual who is connected with multiple Native American businesses to provide her with the real mentorship that could help her, I could help her with business mentorship but this network was able to help her understand how to develop her product to better serve her customers, which was other Native Americans.
So, when you’re a mentor it’s also about, can you help bring those connections to the table, someone may not have a technology, has really allowed us to have that opportunity, I spoke to an entrepreneur in Uganda last week, so you know, although COVID has drastically changed how we connect, thanks to space technology that we’re using today, we are able to have mentoring sessions, I have a mentee in Sweden, Portugal, Spain, the UK, Uganda, so I share with you that COVID has forced us to stay indoors, but we are still connecting, and maybe we’re connecting more than we might have done before. So, I share that with you, too, and how we’re connecting.
That’s, that’s wonderful, and listen, right now we’re connecting over 2000 global participants, nearly 100 different countries, and the, this message is so important to so many people, did not know enough about the Space Foundation, about the opportunities that exist, going ahead, and the fact that you know, the sky is not even the limit right now, we have this expanding space to go into. Thank you so much, Shelli, for sharing your expertise with our global audience today. Thanks for your time, for your mentorship, for your leadership with the Space Foundation, and doing, in your servitude, in leading these programs that, that, will create significant financial and social impact for years to come. So, we are grateful for your leadership, and for taking the time to share that with us today.
Well, thank you, Jose, I want to thank you for inviting me to join you today. I-I’m grateful for your audience, and I again, I also want to thank sponsors, because they always make these programs accessible to everyone, and that’s what it’s about, creating access and opportunity, so thank you, and your audience. I wish you all a fantastic day.
Thank you very much Shelli, ladies and gentlemen, that was Shelly Brunswick, the chief operating officer for the Space Foundation, a great reveal, and the look forward at the opportunities for engagement in, in space and this space, in the creation of the space ecosystems, that are a reality already today, and they’re going to continue to expand in the years ahead, and that she highlighted, you know, where we don’t have to be thinking about being becoming the next astronaut to, to be part of that program a diverse skill level set, it will be required in all functional areas in this emerging industry, and fast expanding industry.
So, this brings us to our final time here at Intelligent Business Process Management Live. I want to thank everyone of you, for engaging with transparency, and honesty, and vulnerability, through three amazing days, where we learn from global experts what are the best practices, insights, culture, business, in digital transformation, to accelerate excellence and innovation in our organizations, and in our society. I want to give a special thanks to Brian Rafel, our conference director and leader, who makes this all happen, works relentlessly in the background to make sure that this all comes across smoothly for you, then the, and there’s a tremendous job in leading the proceedings for us, Vijay Bhajan, who is the CEO of Brocias Digital, for making this happen, for having the vision, for establishing the series, for having the vision, and then the execution capabilities to make it happen, with, around the world, and of course, our sponsors, who are important parts of this conference with us to make it accessible to so many people around the world, and for bringing to all of us this world-class virtual event, and the reminder for you that this journey continues next week with Process Mining Live, March 23rd through 25th, we’re going to be back with you for a deep dive on this technology that’s growing fast, creating more and more value in organizations, we’re going to cover the theory, we’re going to cover the practice, mostly because practice, process mining live is going to be a conference about practitioners, from practitioners to practitioners, on the good, the bad, and the ugly, of Process Mining today, and how can we leverage the most value out of that technology. So, I look for, make sure you register so that you have access, and then I look forward to seeing you back there again with great insights, and great questions, and participations from you for those of you who want to engage further on iBPM, we have LinkedIn post, you can look under, my name is Joseph Peris, going to that LinkedIn post, if you have something good to say about the sponsors, about Brian, about Vijay, about the speakers, use that to voice your, your opinion, you have something bad to say, you can say that as well, we’re always learning, and we also, if you have questions, ask questions there, and we will have several of the speakers check on that posting for your questions, and they will provide answers to your questions. But wherever you are in the world today, I hope you have a good rest of your day, a good rest of your week, and I hope to see most of you back next week at Process Mining Live. Thank you and goodbye for now.
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Shelli Brunswick iBPM Live Interview