A little about my professional experience...
I am an experienced advisor and leader in organizational transformation, technology, innovation & entrepreneurship, and the future of work. In the public sector I have concentrated on research and development, open innovation, prizes and challenges, open government, public private partnerships, grants & contracts management, and technology policy.
Currently, I am the Program Executive for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR/STTR) at NASA. The NASA SBIR and STTR programs fund small businesses approximately $200M annually for research, development, and demonstration of innovative technologies that fulfill NASA needs and have significant potential for successful commercialization. The SBIR/STTR program selects over 550 technology and innovation projects annually, investing in more than 300 small businesses and entrepreneurs in the United States space industry. In this role I oversee approximately 45 full-time employees and thousands of part-time employees and invest in technology proof of concept, prototype and commercialization projects on topics including robotics, autonomy, AI, propulsion, communications and navigation, materials, advanced and additive manufacturing, in-space assembly, resource utilization, life support systems, scientific sensors, detectors and instruments, energy, UAVs, urban air mobility, and more. In this role I conceptualized and led an ambitious multi-stakeholder strategic re-alignment process which modernized of the program’s mission, vision, strategic goals and objectives, organizational structure, investment vehicles, business processes and support information technology. I also developed numerous new partnerships to advance the program’s commercialization outcomes and increase the diversity of companies funded through the program.
Unrelated to my NASA duties, I recently concluded a digitalHKS research fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School. My research with digitalHKS has focused on humanizing the future of work and visualizing the impact of technology on jobs to empower organizations, employees, and individuals to create a more positive future.
I also serve on the executive committee of the Van Alen Institute (VAI), providing board leadership during a transition time for the VAI, a 125-year-old non-profit that believes design can transform cities, landscapes, and regions to improve people’s lives. VAI collaborates with communities, scholars, policymakers, and professionals on local and global initiatives that rigorously investigate the most pressing social, cultural, and ecological challenges of tomorrow. Building on more than a century of experience, VAI develop cross disciplinary research, provocative public programs and inventive design competitions.
I am a volunteer mentor with the Brooke Owens Fellowship, working to support the next generation of women aerospace leaders, the co-chair for the Partnership for Public Service’s Federal Innovation Council, seeking to address persistent barriers to innovation in the federal government, and the inaugural Secretary of the Board of Advisors for the National Science Policy Network, seeking to expand the pipeline of scientists who have interest and skills in science policy and advocacy.
Previously, I worked as the Assistant Director for Open Innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where I was responsible for scaling the use of open innovation approaches like prizes, crowdsourcing, and citizen science across the Federal Government. Among other accomplishments, in this role I co-founded GSA’s citizenscience.gov program and oversaw a cumulative doubling of the use of incentive prizes government-wide (from 350 total prizes conducted from 2010-2014 to 700 total prizes from 2010-2016). In 2016 I was honored as a Sammies Finalist for my work on open innovation at both OSTP and NASA. I also co-chaired the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Interagency Working Group on making from 2016-2018.
Prior to my time at the White House, I was the Prizes and Challenges Program Executive in the Office of the Chief Technologist at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC. In this leadership and strategy role, I coordinated the use of challenge-driven open innovation methods, such as prize competitions, citizen science, challenges, and crowdsourcing, at NASA. I also led NASA’s formulation efforts for its Grand Challenges: bold, but achievable science, technology, and innovation goals that are specific enough to convey what success looks like and broad enough to capture our imagination while unifying public and private constituencies around a clear “call to action”. NASA’s Asteroid Grand Challenge to “find all asteroid threats to human populations and know what to do about them” was announced in June 2013.
Before NASA, I consulted several Federal Government agencies on open government issues such as the Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Housing and Urban Development as the Associate Director for Strategic Engagement and Communications at Phase One Consulting Group. Also during this time period I co-founded Design Thinking DC and the Summer of Design and was a DC Gator Club board member.
My first job out of MIT was at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as the senior program analyst for $400 million in annual transportation security grant programs. I was honored as a TSA-wide Unsung Hero for my work on modernizing the grants programs.
I speak often at events and have also authored several publications and book chapters on many topics including innovation policy, organizations transformation, future of work, grand challenges, scaling innovation within the public sector, open innovation, security policy, harnessing public-private partnerships to optimize public service delivery, and the evolution of e-democracy.
A little about my education...
I graduated from the University of Florida with my bachelors degree in aerospace engineering and from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with my masters degree in Technology Policy. My graduate thesis focused on public private partnerships, a topic that has continued to be a passion to this day. You can check out my thesis here: http://dspace.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/1721.1/40299/191092130.pdf?sequence=1
A little about my hobbies...
When I'm not working or contributing to those organizations you can find me running/ training, traveling the world, singing in competitive karaoke, cheering on gator football, and cooking good food and drinking good wine.
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