SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell has led the aerospace company since it was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk. Shotwell graduated as a mechanical engineer from Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering in 1986. Shotwell has worked at SpaceX for over 20 years and is one of the most successful women in the world.
On May 24, Shotwell was invited to participate in Stanford University's speaker series called 'View From The Top,' where students have the opportunity to interview prominent leaders from different industries. The school uploaded the video this past week on YouTube, linked below.
Since SpaceX's early days, Shotwell is responsible for day-to-day operations and played a vital role in company growth. Under her leadership, SpaceX has grown from a rocket that almost did not make it to orbit to developing the world’s most technologically advanced orbital-class Falcon 9 rockets, which have lifted off and landed 123 times –a first in the history of space travel. SpaceX returned human spaceflight capabilities to the United States when it conducted the first crewed flight to the International Space Station with its Crew Dragon spacecraft in May 2020 and has launched a total of seven crewed missions to date.
During the 'View From The Top' interview, Shotwell talked about how she almost didn't work for SpaceX and how glad she feels about accepting Elon Musk's offer to join the company because it turned out to be one of the best decisions in her life. She shares multiple interesting anecdotes of the company's early days when SpaceX’s launched its first Falcon 1 rockets and other behind-the-scenes details of the company's history, including the time a rocket exploded on Elon Musk's birthday, the first time SpaceX landed an orbital-class Falcon 9 rocket, and the company's overall reusability goals with Starship. She also gave great advice to the students about the importance of giving feedback to improve work performance. Watch the full interview in the video linked below.
VIDEO: Stanford University 'View From The Top' with Gwynne Shotwell
Featured Image Source: Stanford Graduate School of Business via YouTube