Strategic Advisors

Chad Andersen

Chad Anderson is CEO of Space Angels, the leading source of capital for space startups, where he has invested millions of dollars of private capital into new commercial space ventures. He is also Non-Executive Director of the UK Space Catapult where he supports the national strategy to grow the space sector in the country.

Prior to his current roles, Anderson enjoyed a successful career at JP Morgan Chase where he managed a $50 billion real estate portfolio through the Great Recession. Anderson holds an MBA from the University of Oxford.

Mike Benitez

Mike Benitez is a proven leader with an eclectic range of both experience and expertise in team-building in his 20-plus years of U.S. military service in the Marine Corps and Air Force.  An F-15E Strike Eagle Weapons Systems Officer, he collectively has over 2,500 flight hours–with over 1,000 combat hours in fighter jets and helicopters.

Mike’s experience includes integration and training with over a dozen different nation’s armed services, a track record of developing innovative constructive multi-lateral solutions to significant challenges in high-stakes situations, and the ability to subsequently translate them into actions at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels.

He has been awarded over two dozen commendations and medals for distinction and leadership, including the Distinguished Flying Cross–one of the highest awards for aviation that the U.S. military can bestow.

Mike holds a Master of Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is a graduate of several programs, including the prestigious U.S. Air Force Weapons School and the United Arab Emirates Advanced Tactical Leadership Course.  He also has participated in numerous fellowships, including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the Foreign Policy Initiative, and as a Department of Defense legislative fellow assigned to U.S. Senator Mike Rounds.

Michelle Brooke-Marciniak

Michelle is Co-Founder of SHEEX, Inc., the world’s first performance fabric bedding company with globally patented technology. Inspired by the feel and breathability of athletic performance fabrics, Michelle and Co-Founder/CEO Susan Walvius shook up the bedding world in 2007 by inventing a whole new “Performance Home” category in home textiles.
Their beachhead into the marketplace was performance fabric bed sheets; they have since expanded into an entire SHEEX Sleep System. In 2009, Michelle and Susan introduced SHEEX on stage at the highly touted Fortune’s Most Powerful Business Women Conference as ground-breaking, emerging entrepreneurs.  In 2012, they were recognized by Ernst & Young as “Winning Women”, a prestigious honor celebrating the top female entrepreneurs in America.

Michelle made her entrepreneurial debut having already distinguished herself as one of the most outstanding point guards ever to play women’s basketball, starring at the University of Tennessee under the late-legendary coach Pat Summitt. As an Academic All-American and a fiery leader on the court, Michelle drove Tennessee to the 1995 and 1996 NCAA title games, as well as captained the National Championship team in 1996, and was named the NCAA Tournament Most Valuable Player. In 2012, Tennessee honored her extraordinary basketball career and contributions to UT women’s athletics by inducting her into the Lady Vol Hall of Fame. Post-collegiate career, the former unanimous National High School Player of the Year and 10-year veteran of USA Basketball, spent six years as a professional basketball player, completing her career with the WNBA’s Seattle Storm in 2002.  Michelle stepped into the coaching arena in 2003 as an assistant coach at the University of South Carolina, where she inked back-to-back top 10 nationally ranked recruiting classes.

Given her entrepreneurial skills, Michelle has become a highly sought-after speaker and panelist. She serves on the Board of the Pat Summitt Foundation and voluntarily performed many of the late-Summitt’s speaking engagements while her former coach battled early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type. Michelle serves as an Advisory Board member of Ernst & Young’s Women Athletes Business Network, and is a member of the 2014 Class of Henry Crown Fellows of The Aspen Institute, which seeks to develop the next generation of community-spirited leaders.

Sarah Cruddas

Sarah Cruddas is a British space journalist, TV presenter and children’s author. She has an academic background in astrophysics and is passionate advocate for the commercial space industry. Sarah is the ‘face of space’ on British television and can be seen covering space on Sky News, as well as other national UK channels, including Channel 5, Channel 4 News, BBC News and ITV. She also appears on screen on shows on National Geographic and The Discovery Channel, as well as various BBC shows such as Coast and Horizons Business.

Sarah specializes in space exploration, but has reported on all aspects of science and technology from across the world including from Rwanda, North Korea, Tibet and Eastern Europe. Her reports have featured on BBC Radio’s flagship ‘From Our Own Correspondent’, BBC World Service and across BBC News. As an established writer, Sarah covers space for Discovery, the BBC, New Scientists, The Sunday Times (London), CNN, The Royal Aeronautical Society and a host of other publications.

Away from journalism, Sarah works developing communication strategies for start-ups and as a corporate host and presenter for clients ranging from The European Union, to the European Space Agency, Google, Red Bull and Samsung. Sarah is passionate about STEM education and helping to inspire the next generation of space explorers. Her second children’s book, published by Dorling Kindersley, will be released worldwide this summer, with a third book planned for global release in 2019.

Leonard David

Leonard David is a space journalist, reporting on space activities for over 50 years. Mr. David is author of Mars – Our Future on the Red Planet — published by National Geographic in October 2016. He is also co-author with Apollo 11’s Buzz Aldrin of Mission to Mars – My Vision for Space Exploration released in May 2013 and published by the National Geographic Society. A soft cover edition of the book with a new essay was released in May 2015.

Leonard is the first recipient of the American Astronautical Society’s (AAS) “Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History” in the category of journalism, presented in October 2015 in connection with the 8th AAS Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium held in Huntsville, Alabama.

Mr. David is the 2010 winner of the prestigious National Space Club Press Award, presented this honor during the Club’s annual Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner in April 2011 that was held in Washington, D.C.

Ami Dror

Ami Dror is the founder & CEO of LeapLearner, an education company that enables kids to code the world of tomorrow. Ami is also the founder of Zaitoun Ventures, a Startup Factory that leads and executes investments in disruptive startups. Prior to founding Zaitoun Ventures, Ami co-founded XPAND 3D, and led its growth into a global 3D Cinema industry frontrunner.

Additionally, he initiated the work on the first 3D-TV and led the formation of a 3DTV licensing company, jointly owned by Sony, Samsung, XPAND and Panasonic. Ami played an integral role in the development of Amblyz that revolutionized the treatment of childhood amblyopia.

Ami serves as a member of the board of directors of several private companies. He holds a BSC in computer engineering from the Open University in Israel and is the co-founder of CIIF, a Hong Kong based NGO that promotes global innovation. Ami is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and an active member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

Di-Ann Eisnor

Di-Ann Eisnor is director of growth for crowd-sourced navigation and real-time traffic application, Waze, now part of Google. Working across users, governments, international media and local community groups, Eisnor continues to spearhead the company’s global initiatives to make connected cities a reality and to grow Waze into new markets and new products. 

Prior to joining Waze, Eisnor was co-founder and CEO of a collaborative, user-generated, cartographic website that enabled people to map things that are important to them. Eisnor is an active angel investor and speaks widely on mobile, location, connected cities and crowdsourcing. She and rapper Lupe Fiasco co-founded Neighborhood Start Fund, a community-based micro-fund and entrepreneurship center in underserved urban neighborhoods. She serves on the Boards of Meetup Inc. and Grey Area Foundation for the arts. She holds a B.S. in studio art and business administration from New York University. She is a 2014 Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

Laetitia Garriott de Cayeux

Laetitia Garriott de Cayeux is an American entrepreneur and investor with close to 20 years of experience in space technology, investments, and banking during which time she was based in Europe, Asia, and the US where she resides since 2002. She has played a key role in the growth of the commercial space industry, both as an early investor in this fast growing sector, and as co-founder of space technology company Escape Dynamics which successfully completed in 2015 a multi-year R&D program that significantly advanced beamed energy propulsion for space launch.

Garriott continues to be a key advocate and advisor for the development of this breakthrough technology which was added onto NASA’s technology roadmap the same year Escape Dynamics completed their program. Escape Dynamics’ work was featured both in Scientific American as “World Changing Idea” and as #3 of the “Top 10 World’s Most Innovative Space Companies” by Fast Company after SpaceX & Blue Origin, in recognition of the unique potential it holds to enable aircraft like SSTO operations, and radically decrease the cost of access to space into the hundredths of dollars per kg.

Garriott started her career in the late 1990s with Goldman Sachs in their investment banking division, held senior investment positions at leading global investment firms Renaissance Technologies and TPG-Axon (where she was on the founding team which launched in 2004 with $2.8B in AUM), and has had, throughout her career, a strong focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. In 2004, she received Harvard Business School’s Dubilier Prize for her work on technology company Extend Fertility, a pioneer in egg-freezing technology and the first service in the US focused exclusively on women who want to proactively preserve their fertility options. She was recognized in 2010 as “Rising Talent” by the Women’s Forum on the Economy & Society and as “Rising Star” by Institutional Investor. Garriott serves as a Truman National Security Project Fellow, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Economic Club of New York. She also serves as a board member of the National Museum of Mathematics and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and ESSEC, France.

Anecdotally, she and her husband – the first 2nd generation US astronaut, Richard Garriott (son of Apollo astronaut Owen Garriott) – are the only private owners of an object sitting on a celestial body other than Earth, and she is also the granddaughter of French scientist André de Cayeux de Sénarpont (dit “Cailleux”) who pioneered the field of planetary geology in 1948, and after whom the “Cailleux” crater on the Moon is named.

Joe Landon

Joe Landon is Chief Financial Officer of Planetary Resources where he manages the company’s finances and plays a key role in execution of the company’s strategy. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Space Angels Network, the world’s largest angel investor network focused on space companies. He previously led Spaceflight Program Development at Space Adventures, Ltd. and worked as an engineer at Boeing Satellite Systems.

Joe holds a bachelor’s degree in Engineering-Physics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, a master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Joe is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Space Technologies and a Trustee of the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle.  In 2016 he was named one of Seattle’s ‘40 Under 40’ by the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Michael Lopez-Alegria

CAPT Michael Lopez-Alegria, USN (Ret.) Michael Lopez-Alegria has over thirty-five years of aviation and space experience with the U.S. Navy and NASA in a variety of roles including Naval Aviator, engineering test pilot and program manager, NASA astronaut, and International Space Station commander. He is a four-time astronaut, having flown on Space Shuttle missions STS- 73, STS-92, and STS- 113, and serving as Commander of ISS Expedition 14 (flying to and from the ISS aboard Soyuz TMA-9). He holds NASA records for most Extravehicular Activities (EVA) or “space walks” (10) and cumulative EVA time (67 hours 40 minutes).

Lopez-Alegria is the former President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, where he was a spokesman, thought leader and advocate with the U.S. Congress and pertinent Executive Agencies for favorable public policy on behalf of the commercial spaceflight industry.

He is now an independent consultant to traditional and commercial space companies, and serves on several advisory boards and committees of public and private organizations, including the Human Exploration and Operations Committee of the NASA Advisory Council and the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee to the FAA. Lopez-Alegria is the President of the Association of Space Explorers USA, a professional and educational organization of current and former astronauts. He is based in Washington, DC.

Paul Madera

Paul Madera is a Co-founder and Managing Director at Meritech Capital Partners, a $3.1 billion venture capital fund. He currently invests in private technology companies in the SaaS, storage, e-commerce, financial, and medical device sectors.

Over the years he has led Meritech’s investments into several noteworthy tech companies to include Facebook, Mulesoft, Glaukos, IntraLase, Riverbed Technology, and Salesforce. He has been consistently listed in the top tier of Forbes “Midas List” of successful venture capital investors since 2010. Prior to Meritech, Paul was Managing Director of Private Equity at Montgomery Securities/Banc of America where he and his group advised technology startups in raising capital.

Before entering the private sector, he served in the United States Air Force as an F-16 Pilot based in South Korea, Spain, and Utah.

Bella Miranda

Bella Miranda is an Executive Consultant, Executive Strategic Planning Coach and Life Coach to a wide array of influential people in Fortune 100 Companies, CEO’s, Entertainment and Professional sports industries. She is a captivating public speaker and author of her upcoming self-help book based on her training philosophies and success.

Bella holds a certification in Micro Expression from the Emotional Intelligence Academy and is a Robbins-Madanes Coach. She is also trained in Body Language Surveillance and is in the process of acquiring her certification in Positive Psychology.

In 2018, she will complete a certification in Innovation & Strategy from the Harvard Division of Continuing Education and another in Applying Psychology in the Workplace from the Cambridge Institution of Continuing Education. That same year, she will also complete Cosmonaut Training to help provide an insight to the future of space travel.  Bella is passionate about the human exploration of outer space through spaceflight.

As an affiliate of the National Speakers Association, Bella has participated in the Virgin Unite Leadership Gatherings and is a member of the Disruptors Group. She is also an Association of Spaceflight Professionals (ASP) sponsor and sits on the Patrons Board for Commercial Spaceflight Federation.

Bella engages in numerous charitable and philanthropic endeavors and charity events to stop animal poaching. Whatever time that remains in her busy schedule is devoted to nonprofit organizations focusing on families affected by cancer, helping children, environmental advocacy, planet protection and the Mars Movement.

Ronnie Nader Bello

Ronnie was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador on July 10, 1967.  At the age of 13, he started studying nuclear physics on his own and within three years he won first prize in the physics category of the first national scholastic contest, capturing first prize again the following year. In 1984, he began studying astrophysics, graduating first in his high school class of 1986.  In 1987, he started pioneering research in artificial intelligence in Ecuador.  He graduated with an MS in systems engineering MCL in 1994 from the Universidad Catolica Santiago de Guayaquil, where he was the director of the campus computer lab until 1995, the same year he started his specialization in Cybernetics in the PCP Project. Also in 1995, he began research in Astrobiology.

Ronnie completed the TERC astrobiology teaching certification course in 2004.  In 2006, he started the development of the ‘Ecuador al Espacio’ Project, (Project ESAA) a privately funded astronautics initiative, aimed to start the Ecuadorian Civilian Space Program, the first civilian, non-governmental space program in history aimed to explore and help the development of the suborbital space, with the main emphasis in taking scientific experiments made by educational institutions at no cost for them, in order to help raise interest in science and to awake consciousness of the benefits for Ecuador in exploiting the suborbital and GEO resource.

In 2007, the project was recognized by the General Command of the Ecuadorian Air Force (FAE) as the first Ecuadorian initiative in astronautics in the history of the country and he was the first Ecuadorian astronaut candidate.

On June 8 2007, Ronnie Nader became the first official Ecuadorian astronaut in history when he completed the ASA/T (Advanced Suborbital Astronaut /Trained) training program designed on the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Moscow, Russia.

Sunil Nagaraj

Sunil Nagaraj is Managing Partner of Ubiquity Ventures where he invests in seed-stage startups in the areas of smart hardware and machine intelligence applications.  Prior to Ubiquity, Sunil spent 6 years as a VC with Bessemer Venture Partners where he was part of investments in Auth0, Defense.Net (acquired by F5 Networks), Rocket Lab, Spire, Tile, Twitch (acquired by Amazon), and Zapier.  He was previously founder/CEO of VC-backed online dating startup Triangulate.  He has also worked at Bain & Company, Cisco, and Microsoft.

Sunil holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He is current Co-Chair of the NextGen Partners (the largest VC networking organization in the Bay Area) as well as the NextGen Board of the Computer History Museum.  He also serves on the board of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (the largest general astronomy education society in the world), the Harvard Business School California Research Center, and the Volunteer Council of the SETI Institute.

Eunice Olsen

Eunice Olsen (39) is the founder and Executive Producer of the International Emmy
Nominated series WomenTalk TV, and is no stranger to Singapore, regional
audiences and media channels. After winning Miss Singapore Universe 2000, she
began a career in television as the co-host of “Wheel of Fortune” in 2002, and went
on to host numerous talk shows and acted in various television dramas. In 2005,
Eunice was appointed a Nominated Member of Parliament in Singapore, making her the youngest ever at age 27. In March 2006, she received an Honoree for The
Outstanding Young Persons of Singapore Award. In the same year, she was
conferred the Singapore Youth Award. Olsen was also the proud recipient of the
ASEAN Youth Award in 2008 and was nominated as a Young Global Leader in 2009
to represent Singapore in the World Economic Forum. She is bi-lingual in English
and Mandarin and is taking classes to improve her Mandarin to business level.
She has over the course of her career worked with international brands like
Motorola, Blackberry, GSK, Omega, SKII and Redken, and is currently the face of
Lancome in Singapore.

Eunice has acted in various feature films, most recently, 3.50 – the first ever co-
production between Singapore and Cambodia of which she acted and produced.
Her strength for telling stories led her to start Eunice Olsen Media with the aim of
creating impactful and mindful content that advocates for global issues, and
influences behavior, with a strong focus on the empowerment of women and girls.
The flagship program WomenTalk TV, which was founded in 2013, is an online video interview series dedicated to women’s empowerment and was nominated for an International Emmy Award in 2014. In 2016, Womentalk won 7 awards from U.S. based independent film festivals including an Official Selection at the Raindance Film Festival, UK’s largest film festival. She also recently received an award of Excellence for the Humanitarian Award in the Best Shorts Film Festival. Olsen also founded Tripvid, a short form online travel program that features local authentic experiences within destinations, and empowers smaller businesses at the same time by creating awareness of their services.

Her wide reach over the hearts and minds of her fans extends beyond the scope of
entertainment, to social activism. Eunice is actively involved with non-profit and
philanthropic causes, namely, the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Singapore and Habitat for Humanity. Olsen has multiple ongoing humanitarian projects in
Cambodia ranging from Project Precious, a menstrual hygiene management
education program, to building sanitation for schools and evicted communities.
Ongoing are her advocacy talks on Human Trafficking. She has a passion for the
unsung ‘sheroines’ of the world.

Eunice has been playing the piano since she was three and enjoys playing for her
family and friends whenever she can. She believes it’s the little things we do
together that makes the bigger difference.

James Orsulak

James Orsulak oversees sales, business development, marketing, and commercial partnerships at Planetary Resources, the asteroid mining company. He is responsible for selling the company’s primary product line, which includes rocket propellant, water for life support functions, and construction materials sourced from asteroids for delivery to customers in the Earth-Moon system and beyond. Prior to joining Planetary Resources, he spent a decade developing large scale fueling infrastructure projects in the energy industry. He was responsible for sales and business development at Clean Energy, which provides fossil and renewable fuels for heavy-duty trucking applications, the rail industry, mining vehicles, space launch, and industrial uses. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a minor in Art from Southern Methodist University and an Agronomy and Precision Agriculture certification from Purdue University.

Jane Poynter

Jane Poynter is co-founder and CEO of World View Enterprises Inc., which is pioneering advanced high-altitude balloon platforms for applications that include remote sensing, weather, communications, research and space tourism. She was formerly Chairman, co-founder and President of Paragon Space Development Corporation, specializing in life support and thermal control in extreme environments. She has a patent for self-sustaining habitats that flew on the International Space Station, producing the first animals to every complete multiple lifecycles in space.

Ms. Poynter was also a member of the Biosphere 2 design team and a member of the original crew who lived inside the sealed, self-sustaining habitat for two years.  She is the author of The Human Experiment: Two Years and Twenty Minutes Inside Biosphere 2, and Champions for Change: Athletes Making A World of Difference authored with support from the United Nations.

Navyn Salem

In 2007, Navyn Salem set out to help end the crisis of malnutrition for over 250 million children around the world by starting a factory in Tanzania, her father’s home country, that would produce Plumpy’Nut®, a ready-to-use therapeutic food that treats severe acute malnutrition in young children. To further expand the reach of Plumpy’Nut and other evidence-based nutrition solutions, she founded Edesia, a U.S. non-profit food aid manufacturer, in 2009. From Edesia’s North Kingstown, RI facility, a full range of peanut-based, ready-to-use foods supply UNICEF, the World Food Programme, USAID/USDA, and other humanitarian aid agencies working in emergency and conflict zones. Since production began in March 2010, Edesia has helped nearly 5 million malnourished children in 50 countries, including in Somalia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Pakistan, and Syria. 

In 2012, Navyn was named New England Business Woman of the Year by Bryant University, received the Roger E. Joseph Prize from Hebrew Union College for being an outstanding humanitarian, and was awarded an honorary doctorate in social sciences from Boston College, her Alma Mater. In 2013, Navyn received an honorary degree in business administration from Bryant University and became a Trustee of Boston College. In 2017, she received an honorary doctorate from Providence College. She EndFragmentis a member of the Chicago Council’s Global Agricultural Development Initiative Advisory Group, as well as a 2014 Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

Nova Spivack

Nova Spivack is Founder & CEO of Magical Technologies, LLC (www.magiclcorp.com), a science and technology venture studio based in Los Angeles.  He works via Magical as an active “venture producer”–combining his experience as a serial entrepreneur, angel investor and VC to help form, fund and incubate breakthrough companies.  He is a venture Partner in Rewired.ai ($100M AI and robotics venture studio), and an adviser to EES Ventures, a seed stage science and technology venture studio.  He has had several IPOs and exits, and has helped to build companies acquired by Facebook, Apple, and others.  Nova is ranked as a Top LA Power Player in Technology, and among the Top 20 Futurists worldwide.  An author of dozens of patents and an expert on AI and big data analytics, Spivack also invented and patented the key technologies and applications for consumer-scale augmented reality in 2009.  Nova flew to the edge of space in 1999 with the Russian Air Force.  He is a patron of the Commercial SpaceFlight Federation, an investor in Space Adventures, and the Chairman of the Arch Mission Foundation, a non-profit foundation working to build archives in space and on the moon.  Spivack has advised government agencies, presidential campaigns, global corporations, top consumer brands, venture funds, and fast growing tech startups.

Frank White

Frank White is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and a Rhodes Scholar. He earned his M.Phil. in Politics from Oxford University.

Frank is the author or coauthor of 10 books on topics ranging from space exploration to climate change. His book, The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, is now in its third edition, and is considered by many to be a seminal work in the field of space exploration and development. A film called “Overview,” based largely on his work, has had more than 7 million plays on Vimeo.

Frank is also a co-founder of the Overview Institute, a leading organization dedicated to analyzing the Overview Effect and disseminating its findings.

Frank worked for Harvard University for 17 years and now teaches at Harvard Extension School, Harvard Summer School, and in Boston University’s Metropolitan College.