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Vanessa Wyche & Frances West

Vanessa Wyche - USA | Deputy Director, Johnson Space Center, NASA

Vanessa E. Wyche is Deputy Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC), an organization of 10,000 civil service and contractor employees in Houston and White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico. She is based in Houston, Texas, USA. She assists with leadership of a broad range of human spaceflight activities, including NASA’s astronauts, Mission Control, development and operation of human spacecraft in low-Earth orbit, as well as plans for human missions to the Moon and Mars. Vanessa previously served as the Director of Exploration Integration and Science, providing executive guidance to enable human and robotic exploration of deep space. She was also acting Deputy Director of JSC from September 2017-February 2018.

A native of South Carolina, Vanessa earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Master of Science in Bioengineering from Clemson University. Before joining JSC in 1989, she worked for the Food and Drug Administration in Washington, D.C. During her NASA career, she has held other distinguished positions, including Assistant Director of JSC and flight manager for several missions of the retired Space Shuttle Program. A strong supporter of innovation and inclusion (I&I) at JSC, Vanessa serves as a member of JSC’s I&I Council. She advocates for mentoring and is a passionate promoter of science, technology, engineering and math.

Vanessa serves on multiple boards, including Vice Chair of Space Center Houston and advisory board member for Houston Exponential, SpaceCom and the NASA College Scholarship Foundation. She has received numerous honors from NASA, including two Outstanding Leadership Medals, two Achievement Medals, and is a 2014 Women at NASA awardee. She has been recognized as a national “2016 Women Worth Watching” honoree by Profiles in Diversity Journal, a 2017 “Inspiring Woman from South Carolina” by Coastal Carolina University, and was inducted into the Thomas Green Clemson Academy of Engineers and Scientists at Clemson University in 2019.

Frances West - IWF Massachusetts | Founder, Author, Public Speaker, Corporate/Startup Strategy Advisor, Faculty Instructor, Board Member, Francis West Co.

Frances West is an internationally recognized thought leader, speaker, strategy adviser and women-in-technology trailblazer known for her work in innovation, technology and business transformation. She is the author of “Authentic Inclusion™ Drives Disruptive Innovation” and the founder of FrancesWestCo, a global strategy advisory company focused on operationalizing inclusion as a business and technology imperative.

Frances’ insightful knowledge and “human-first” approach come from her personal journey as a first-generation, non-English-speaking immigrant and her career as a technology executive, which includes being IBM’s first Chief Accessibility Officer. Frances’ expertise has been highly sought after by governments, businesses, nonprofits and startups. She was invited to be the sole IT expert witness to testify before the U.S. Senate on the need to pass the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. She was recently appointed as an instructor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Massachusetts in recognition of her work in accessibility, research and digital inclusion. She was born in Taiwan and educated in Hong Kong and the United States.


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Vanessa Wyche & Frances West
Vanessa Wyche & Frances West
International Women's Forum