Friday Keynote Speaker

Friday, October 11
Brunch and Keynote Speaker

Ginger Kerrick, Chief Strategy Officer, Barrios Technology
Leadership Lessons from Mission Control

For more than 50 years, NASA’s Mission Control has been pulling off miracles on a regular basis. In our closing conference session, Ginger Kerrick will give you an insider’s look at the values and culture behind NASA’s ability to innovate and keep America’s astronauts safe.

With vivid stories from her own years at the helm of Mission Control as the first Latina flight director and a 30-year veteran of the Johnson Space Center, Kerrick offers lessons from her own evolution as a leader. She will celebrate the toughness and vigilance of her teams and discuss the wave of revitalization in the ranks of NASA leadership responsible for the successes of the past few decades — from the International Space Station to the SpaceX Crew Dragon and NASA’s return to the Moon with the Artemis program. You will learn how to leverage the Mission Control model in your life and work to chart a course for growth, resilience, and excellence.

Growing up in El Paso, Ginger Kerrick wanted to be an astronaut. She overcame one hurdle after another to eventually get hired at NASA as an engineer and was finally invited to interview for the astronaut program, but a kidney stone condition meant a lifetime disqualification. She was crushed, but once she accepted what was beyond her control to change, she became unstoppable. She applied and was accepted to NASA’s elite cadre of Flight Directors at the helm of Mission Control and was the first Latina and the sixth woman in the agency’s history to do so. Ten years later, she moved into NASA senior leadership, supporting work on the International Space Station and NASA’s Artemis program, serving in roles as Deputy Director of the Exploration Integration and Science Directorate and Johnson Space Center Assistant Center Director for Vision and Strategy.

Today, Kerrick is Chief Strategy Officer of Barrios Technology where she continues to partner with NASA and commercial industry on the rapidly developing space exploration economy. A vocal advocate for the importance of STEM careers and education, Kerrick has served as a part-time professor for the STEM MBA program at Texas Tech University’s Rawls College of Business, and she speaks frequently to both business leaders and students in STEM programs across the country. In 2016, Kerrick was one of five women named to the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame, and in 2019 she was sworn in as a member of the Texas Tech Board of Regents.

Ginger Kerrick was profiled in the Universal Pictures documentary The Wonderful: Stories from the International Space Station (2021) and in the books A Galaxy of Her Own: Amazing Stories of Women in Space (2017) and Making Space for Women: Stories from Trailblazing Women of NASA’s Johnson Space Center (2021). She also plays a role in the documentary Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo (2017) and in the short film Peanuts in Space: Secrets of Apollo 10 (2019) with Ron Howard and Jeff Goldblum