CEO of X Prize Foundation & First Female Private Space Explorer
Anousheh Ansari brings more than two decades as a successful serial entrepreneur to Prodea Systems, where she serves as chairman. Anousheh captured headlines around the world as the first female private space explorer. She earned a place in history as the fourth private explorer to visit space, and the first astronaut of Iranian descent. Read More >
Only As Much As We Dream Can We Be
The Future of Space Technology
Dreams and Imagination are the Keys to Success
Into Outer Space
“As a woman, it was a struggle being taken seriously at first. Naturally, once I began meeting with people and they saw what I had to say, things changed. I’m quite a positive person, so I don’t look back at it with any resentment, but I am committed to making a difference by showing that it is possible for women to have an impact in the sciences. However, they later learned to appreciate a woman’s point of view because our attitude towards solutions is quite different from that of a man.” –Anousheh Ansari Read More >
You can see the Ganges from space, plankton blooms – even man-made greenhouses in Spain. However, self-funded astronaut Anousheh Ansari has yet to spot any glass ceilings. After escaping Earth’s atmosphere, try telling Anousheh that there is one more invisible barrier to cross before she completes her mission. Gravity could not hold her back, so how is some old fashioned, imagined boundary supposed to – the answer – it doesn’t.
When Anousheh first blasted into space, she not only had to break free of the Earth, trying to hold her back, she also had to escape the thick atmosphere of her profession’s long-time gender discrimination and bias. In this presentation, Anousheh explores with her audience, the incredible journey that she has taken as an Iranian, female, self-funded astronaut, offering insights on just how she did it, and how to ensure the success of your own journey. Whether you are launching into space, or launching your own start-up, Ansari’s advice and instruction on how to achieve your goals, relates to every profession under the sun.
Anousheh understands the challenges all women face in business, as an entrepreneur, and as an “outsider.” As a teenage immigrant to the U.S., she spoke no English. After a long journey that can only be described as universally inspiring, she not only learned English, but also the language of business, and the dance of gender politics. Today, she is the co-founder and chairwoman of Prodea Systems, co-founder and CEO of Telecom Technologies, and she and her family are also the sponsors of the Ansari X Prize, designed to inspire individuals and individual companies to circumvent the inert, apathetic, government and take on space travel themselves – talk about the entrepreneurial spirit! As a female business owner and founder, she has seen the perceived limitations, and not only transcended them, but left them far, far behind. Read Less ^
“While I maintain that we should celebrate our ability to imagine in order to progress, I think students should focus on becoming as qualified as they can because it builds their capacities in the workplace and that was definitely something I had to prove when dealing with co-workers in what, unfortunately, is still a male-dominated field…so stay in school, open your mind, then follow what interests you with a passion, because hard work pays off. I like to think that my story should advocate this approach, so go after your dreams and, if you must, take chances!” – Anousheh Ansari Read More >
Education is a very personal subject for Anousheh. When she first immigrated to the United States, she spoke no English. She immersed herself in education, leading to fluency, as well as a bachelor's degree in electronics and computer engineering, followed by a master's degree in electrical engineering, and soon, a master's degree in astronomy as well. She brought her passion, motivation, and dreams to the table, and education did the rest. Many speakers talk about how their education helped them to find their place in the world…but how many can say, it helped them leave it? As an advocate and role model for students everywhere, there is literally no one better to explain how far education can take them.
In this presentation, Anousheh illustrates that space may just hold answers to save our planet, thus it is the logical suite for a natural science education, not to mention how effortlessly space inspires students to be more involved and go further with Science, Technology, Engineering & Math studies. Further showing her commitment, Anousheh is also a key member of the advisory board of the Teachers in Space project, and during her stay at the International Space Station, 50 million world-wide followed her blog, inspiring untold, countless students around the world to believe, really believe that education can take them anywhere they dream to go. Read Less ^
Anousheh Ansari is a pioneer in business innovation, integration, invention, ownership, and inspiration. An active proponent of world-changing technologies and social entrepreneurship, Anousheh’s resume is impressive, to say the least. Read More >
Besides her wildly successful company, Prodea Systems, she has received multiple honors including: the World Economic Forum Young Global Leader 2007, the Working Woman’s National Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, George Mason University’s Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, and the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Southwest Region. In addition, while under her leadership, Telecom Technologies earned recognition as one of Inc. magazine’s 500 fastest-growing companies and Deloitte & Touche’s Fast 500 technology companies.
She has also served on the boards of not-for-profit organizations such as Make-a-Wish Foundation of North Texas and Collin County Children’s Advocacy Center. She currently works to enable social entrepreneurs to bring about radical change globally, with organizations such as ASHOKA, which supports social entrepreneurship around the world, including the Middle East and Central Asia. She is also a partner of the Meadowood Social Venture Fund and a board member of the PARSA Community Foundation, which promotes strategic philanthropy and social entrepreneurship among the global Iranian community, with a special interest towards Persian women.
In this presentation, Anousheh not only shares her vast knowledge of business innovation, invention, and investment, she brings to the audience a perspective that is as rare as she. Will the Ort cloud and Kuiper belt be the next big direct manufacturers? Will the Philae probe which landed on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimeko, be the next revolutionary widget? We really don’t know, but neither did Sir Richard Branson, and he seems to be doing quite well in the economic space race. This keynote, which is entirely customized for any service or industry, is not just about how to breathe as a business in space…it’s about elevated, inspired thinking and ideas that create the space you need to advance and overcome your obstacles, inability to launch, and most importantly, your awareness of an incredibly advanced way to approach personal and professional fulfillment. Read Less ^
"The conference attracted 300 participants from diverse backgrounds, including local university students and even regional entrepreneurs. Participants responded that the conference was relevant to their interests and needs and would be useful to them in their current roles. I know for sure Anousheh was everybody’s favorite speaker. The impact she has left on our audience is like no other. She has inspired us all to reach for the stars! We thank her for taking time out of her busy schedule to share her expertise and make the Women in Business Conference a success. We appreciate her continued support. We fully recognize that we would not receive such positive feedback from conference participants without the excellent presentations and stimulating discussions provided by talented individuals, like Anousheh."
"Flight Jacket Night was a terrific success on Saturday. Anousheh did an incredible job and I think our audience would have stayed all night if they could. Fortunately, we were able to get Anousheh out the door not too long after the program ended—she had a lot of admirers! While tickets were free to the general public, they had to be reserved in advance. After we ran an ad in The Washington Post, the 500 available tickets were sold out immediately, and we had over 700 requests. We had about 300 people in attendance at the lecture (since the tickets are free, we often have no-shows). The lecture was very well received. The question-and-answer portion lasted a full hour and many people asked if the video would be posted on our website. We do plan to post a video of the lecture (not including Anousheh’s video) sometime in the next week. Thanks again for all your help with this. You helped make this a terrific event."
"The outpour of gratitude from those who were in the audience has been absolutely tremendous. Here is a direct quote from one of the emails that I received this morning: 'She was awesome. Her story was so inspiring and her photos from space were amazing. I’ve seen several NASA astronauts and space explorers at Virginia Tech. She was the absolute best! I felt that I was in the presence of a truly extraordinary human being.' We would like to thank her for sharing her vision and inspiring message with us. She touched many lives in our community, and I am hoping that some of the young students that were in the audience will walk in her footsteps in the future. Her friends at Virginia Tech will remember last night’s event fondly for many years to come. Again, thanks!"
"Your commentary was insightful and timely, and the combination of your keen senses of timing, wit and humor were extraordinary. We have gotten significant positive feedback from our Conclave attendees and an overwhelming response to commitments to be kept over the course of the year. We are confident that the success of the Conclave is, in large part, due to your presence and your overall support of our endeavor."
"It went really well... She was very nice and the kids enjoyed it... I got to go out and eat dinner with her on Sunday and it was nice to hear personal stories about the book process... She also gave us some great suggestions for ideas we can use with our programs!"