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Saturday, Jun 15, 2024

2023 Diversity, Equity + Inclusion Honoree: CEO OF THE YEAR (GROWING COMPANY)

Co-Founder & CEO
Slingshot Aerospace

Melanie Stricklan spent 21 years in the United States Air Force (USAF), where she amassed a range of accolades for commanding experimental spacecraft missions and leading the development of space control technologies for the Department of Defense. Following her USAF retirement, she co-founded Slingshot Aerospace in 2017 to create a safer environment for commercial, civil and defense space organizations.

Recognizing her leadership in the industry, Stricklan was selected by Vice President Kamala Harris to join the National Space Council’s Users Advisory Group. She was also approved by U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to join the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee.

In a traditionally male-dominated space industry, Stricklan embodies the idea that diversity starts at the top. At Slingshot, 50% of the executive team represent diverse groups. With a keen focus on ensuring diversity at Slingshot Aerospace and within the industry at large, Stricklan embraced the opportunity to be one of the select few inaugural companies in the space industry to sign the first-of-its-kind Space Workforce 2030 Pledge.

The Pledge is designed to advance diversity across the collective space workforce and it was announced publicly at the 2022 Space Symposium, the premier event of the space industry. As a signatory of the pledge, Slingshot publicly commits to reporting data on diversity annually, to regularly sharing best practices, and to working with universities to identify and increase the number of diverse and underrepresented students graduating who are ready to join the space industry.


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