Dear SGAC members,
My term as Chair of SGAC has come to an end and as I prepare to transition into an advisory role, I would like to share with you a few thoughts about how SGAC has changed in the last couple of years and the challenges that lie ahead.
This is also a very emotional time for me as this organisation has been an integral part of my life for 9 years. SGAC has been fundamental to grow my career, providing me with an incredible network, those very useful soft skills and solid understanding of the space sector. In SGAC I have found amazing individuals, people that literally fly the International Space Station or build the next Martian rover or use space technologies for the benefit of humanity and much more. Those people, coming from all over the world, are what make SGAC a unique organisation. To me, they have been colleagues, mentors, mentees, peers, team members, but above all, friends. Because, and you should always remember it, SGAC is about people and the connections you create and nurture today will remain a constant in your career, creating opportunities, jobs, fostering new ideas and maybe even exciting business prospects.
In the past 2 years SGAC has grown tremendously at so many levels. The membership has reached a network of more than 15.000 members and alumni from over 150 countries; we have been able to hire a second full-time employee taking the role of Operations Manager and consequently revamping and adapting the structure of the organisation’s executive bodies; we implemented an extensive Code of Conduct which became a sine qua non for the SGAC membership; for the first time, the organisation started looking ahead in term of finance, preparing the field for an endowment fund and carefully drafting and approving budget for the year to come; we have streamlined the process for scholarships – one of the SGAC columns, not only to allow the recipients to be reimbursed in a timely manner but also to increase the number of scholarships distributed yearly to a record number of 150; we launched awards to recognise alumni and partners constantly supporting the space generation and created an alumni fund; all these in addition to 4 new project groups, establishment of the mentoring program and creation of the jobs board, policy papers. Only in 2019, SGAC held 33 events in 26 countries and this was made possible due to the new guidelines and processes implemented to guide members in organising SGAC events;
Behind all these achievements, there is a team of volunteers (from NPoCs, team members to Executives) who had dedicated and invested an incredible number of hours (probably at the expense of sleeping time though) to SGAC and its members. Your dedication, professionalism and passion made it all possible and I am honoured to have represented you for the past two years at important events such as UNISPACE+50 and on stage at the International Astronautical Congress 2019.
In the last couple of months, the world changed dramatically with COVID-19 spreading and causing a large part of humanity to be confined, to rethink social interactions and working methods. SGAC operations have been affected as well and with many events being postponed. We have started now to rethink as well how SGAC can fulfil its mission during the emergency and in the world that will come after. The next SGAC leadership will have to guide the organisation through challenging times but I strongly believe it is SGAC’s mandate to continue its mission of providing opportunity to network, professional development, fostering new ideas and ultimately being the voice of the young space generation using any means available.
In this regard, I am very pleased to welcome Harriet Brettle as new Co-Chair of SGAC. Harriet, I am sure your enthusiastic leadership will be a strengthening factor to the organisation and to your new colleagues, Arnau, Clementine, Davide and Matteo.
As SGAC changed my life, allowing me to pursue my (space) dreams, I hope it will continue doing so for many more in the years to come. From my now official position of “dinosaur” of SGAC, I look forward to continuing supporting this outstanding organisation and its members.
Former Chair and new SGAC Dinosaur