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Launching into New Perspectives: A Cosmic Finale to Our 2023 Speaker Series - 'Women in the New Space Economy'

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The Women in the New Space Economy event on December 6 marked the close of the 2023 speaker series, and it could not have been a better cap to the year! An eager audience and an enthused panel comprising women of an exceptional professional and intellectual caliber made for an insightful and engaging dialogue. Our esteemed moderator, Claire Sneed, was the perfect choice to guide our panel, being the Women, Peace, and Security Project Lead and Gender Advisor at NORAD & U.S. Northern Command through the women-led development consulting firm, Q2 Impact.

Our panelists featured Brigadier General Traci L. Kueker-Murphy, the deputy director of strategy, plans, and policy for U.S. Space Command; Brigadier General Linell A. Letendre, the dean of the faculty at the U.S. Air Force Academy; and Dawn Conley, the senior executive director of Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation. In her role, Conley leads a team fostering collaboration within Colorado's aerospace and defense industry, bringing together industry, academia, startups, government, and venture capital to create a dynamic and interconnected community. Claire led our panelists through a variety of important topics, including maintaining peace and American primacy in the Space domain, the underrepresentation of women in Space professions and STEM educational programs globally, and how the United States might better engage with our international partners to increase women participation in the Space economy.

Perhaps the most crucial questions Claire posed were her first and last. The initial inquiry, directed to Gen. Kueker Murphy, focused on the significance of diversity in maintaining peace in the Space domain. The General emphasized the evident need for full workforce access, derived from providing opportunities for 100 percent of the population to engage in economic activities. She further expanded on the concept, highlighting that diversity extends beyond gender. In the Space economy, a variety of ideas and perspectives are essential to expanding both military and, more importantly, commercial and exploratory activities.

The final question, open to all three panelists, revolved around a key theme of the  2023 Space Symposium—building the future of the Space workforce. Claire inquired about encouraging pathways for the future space workforce and whether Colorado Springs could be considered an attractive hub for an inclusive Space workforce. General Letendre delivered an inspiring and edifying response. Recognizing Colorado Springs as the only city in the country with a state college, a four-year public university, a four-year private university, and a major service academy, she envisioned the city's potential to create an unparalleled synergy for developing a collaborative Space workforce encompassing civil, military, and commercial elements.

The panelists provided an exceptional conclusion to our 2023 speaker series, with General Letendre leaving us with an important reminder as we venture into 2024 and beyond: the fate of our city is in our hands, but we possess every ingredient needed for success. We look forward to your continued participation in more exciting programs like this in the new year!

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Friday, 01 March 2024