Career Communications Group corporate communications specialist Imani Carter hosted NASA’s Stephanie Brown-Houston on Thursday, the last webinar of the nine-week series before its final production at the Women of Color STEM Conference in Detroit, Michigan October 23rd – 25th. Brown-Houston, an education program specialist at NASA Glenn Research Center, will receive the 2014 Corporate Promotion of Education Award.
Nominees for this award have proven success of STEM programs at the nominee’s organization with an impact on cluster schools, colleges, and universities. A corporate program manager demonstrates exemplary commitment to enhancing opportunities for minorities in technology careers through education.
Over her career at NASA, Houston has held various leadership roles in technical and program management. Currently, she works to improve opportunities in a competitive program for science museums and planetariums, and provides grants that support NASA-themed STEM informal education.
NASA is an agency that has been a leader in many areas, observed Tyrone Taborn, Women of Color in STEM Webinar series interviewer and founder of the annual Women of Color STEM Conference. “NASA put the first man on the moon, what’s the shape of the perfect leader?”
Sending man to the moon, rocketry, and space vehicles takes a lot of leadership, agreed Houston, who dreamed of someday working as a mathematical scientist at NASA. She also said it’s important to strive for improvement, take risks and that failure is an option.
“If NASA had given up at the first try of getting a Space Shuttle into orbit, they would never have made it,” Houston said.
Leadership takes time, patience, experience, ability to influence others, effective communication, and being able to take criticism, she added. Her work at NASA contributes to motivating next generation STEM leaders.
Houston gave an emphatic yes to training for managing multi-generational teams. “We do not think alike,” she said. Some of us older ones think we know it all and do not want to listen to the younger generation. We can’t keep putting old school information on the table and expect a younger generation to buy in. You’re never too old to learn, there’s always something you can learn.”
At the upcoming Women of Color STEM Conference, which will draw participants from four generations in the workforce – veterans, Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, and Millennials – Houston said she looks forward to network, gain insight from more successful leaders and share her experiences with the younger generation.
The Women of Color STEM Conference app is available here.