In This Episode:
- Dana shares her one message for the world
- The different career opportunities in STEM many people have not considered
- The story behind how Dana entered the world of electrical engineering
- Insight into Dana’s work on the first classified spaceship mission
- Dana shares the story of when she went to work for a startup aircraft manufacturer, where she designed and built an aircraft from scratch
- Diving deep into personal memories of the transformation she encountered about being released from a career after thirty years
- The realization that she had completely given herself over to her career
- The importance of not defining your whole self-worth by your career
- Dana shares the status of women in aerospace and aviation at the leadership level
- A sneak peek into her book that will be released soon
Dana Kirchmar has 35 years’ experience in the aerospace/aviation and telecom industries in both domestic and global companies, from entrepreneurial start-ups to Fortune 100 corporations. Career highlights include participating on the launch team in mission control for the first classified space shuttle launch, calling “go/no go” for her specific system, flying to .97Mach in a corporate business jet during an autopilot flight test, and being on the headphones with test pilot for the first flight of a brand new aircraft that she helped to design.
30 years into a successful STEM career, Dana found herself unemployed and lost – questioning everything that she had believed about herself and not having the slightest idea who she was without her job to define her. She realized that it was time to take a look at how she had gotten to this place and what she had given up while focusing on climbing the career ladder in a male-dominated and not particularly female-friendly occupation. Dana is now channeling the lessons that she learned to enable young women to not only have wildly successful STEM careers but to not lose sight of their passions and to live the lives that they dream of.
Ms. Kirchmar serves on the Board of Directors of the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, noted as one of the top 10 aviation and space museums in the U.S and top 20 globally, as well as the Board of Directors of the Captain Jeppesen Foundation, the primary focus of which is providing flight scholarships to aspiring aviators. Additionally, Ms. Kirchmar serves on the Colorado State University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Industry Advisory Board and is active in supporting multiple organizations facilitating the progress of girls and women in STEM/STEAM education and careers.
“My career defined everything about me, and I do not want other young women to have that same thing happen to them thirty years into their career.” -Dana Kirchmar