Lori Garver, a former NASA Deputy Administrator, co-founder of the Brooke Owens Fellowship program (BOF), and now CEO of Earthrise Alliance, is acknowledged for her tremendous contributions to the aerospace industry over her 30+ year career.
Ms. Garver is credited with laying the foundational groundwork for perhaps the most momentous achievement in the space industry of the past decade through the successful creation of the NASA Commercial Crew program. As former NASA Deputy Administrator, Ms. Garver championed support within the administration for the program by advocating that NASA shift away from the Soyuz to a public-private partnership model of commercial space transport. Ms. Garver spent several years as Deputy relentlessly promoting Congressional funding for its development. This year, her efforts have paid off in the form of SpaceX’s fulfillment of the objective: ending the U.S. reliance on Russian launch systems for the transport of American astronauts to the International Space Station.
Inspired by the legacy of her friend, the late Dawn Brooke Owens, Ms. Garver co-founded the Brooke Owens Fellowship program (BOF) in 2016 to break down gender barriers in the aerospace industry. The program, in its 4th year, recognizes high-performing women and gender minorities in the industry with competitive, paid internships and senior mentorship. With over 150 recipients of the fellowship since its founding, there is no denying the impact it has had in improving gender diversity in the industry, earning awards such as SpaceNews’ 2019 “Unsung Hero of the Year” Award for Excellence & Innovation, and the American Astronautical Society (AAS)’s 2017 Patti Grace Smith Award for the program’s commitment to the development of young professionals in the space industry. While Ms. Garver serves as an executive mentor within the program, her tireless personal investment in the Fellows and example as a role model to every “Brookie”, has earned her the affectionate informal title among the Fellows of “Space Mom.” In her founding role, Ms. Garver has proved that she is not only an effective role model but also a mentor to hundreds of well-deserving women and minorities reaching for their career dreams in space.
As both the aerospace industry and the world shifts, Ms. Garver turned her professional focus to the space industry’s role in fighting climate change by becoming CEO of Earthrise Alliance. Earthrise Alliance is a philanthropic initiative leveraging space imagery and satellite data to activate educators, policymakers, media, and the public to take action for climate sustainability. As Garver stated in her keynote address at the AIAA SciTech Forum in January 2020, “...we have left the world in a crisis. We need to step up to manage that crisis. If we don’t do that over the next 10 years, we won’t have a chance.”
As a longtime leader in the industry, Ms. Garver understood the gender disparity that continues to exist, speaking out about the need for role models. With BOF taking off, the program is taking form to expand its mission to ensure diversity and inclusion beyond gender. Ms. Garver even made the decision to step down from her executive leadership role in the program, to make room for women of color and let the program expand in racial inclusion. Ms. Garver’s willingness and commitment to step up when it is needed, as well as step aside and use her platform to elevate others, is an incredible pair of traits that exemplify her conscious efforts to keep growing professionally.
Women in Aerospace could not be more pleased to acknowledge Ms. Lori Garver as the
2020 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.