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Kelly Hennig, COO of STOKE Space Technologies

‘’It's not necessarily knowing when to let things go, but knowing when it's okay to lose.’’
-Kelly Hennig

Kelly Hennig, Chief Operating Officer of Stoke Space, one of the fastest growing aerospace companies developing reusable rockets to provide the satellite industry with low-cost, on-demand access to and from any orbit. Stoke’s investors include NFX, MaC Ventures, YC, Seven Seven Six Ventures, and several others. Prior to Stoke Space, she was an Engineering Executive at Raytheon Technologies for two years and the Chief Engineer at Advanced Concepts & Technology for Northrop Grumman for eighteen years and has also been the Electronics Division Chair at the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA). Kelly has an MS in Electrical Engineering/Electromagnetics/Optics from the University of Michigan and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Rutgers University.

Key Takeaways:

1. Work-Life Balance is Possible - Even at a Successful Startup. To inspire a positive workplace culture that values work-life balance, Kelly suggests reframing it from being solely a women's issue to an overall family issue, and encourages influential men to model this behavior by leaving work for childcare duties. Personal experiences and actions can significantly influence employee expectations of work-life balance.

2. Success Requires a Strong Team. Kelly emphasizes that success requires a strong team, and gaining their buy-in is crucial for achieving high performance. While being focused and driven is important, without team engagement and investment in the mission, success may not be possible.

3. Know when to Let Go. Knowing when it's okay to lose is a crucial skill for long-term success, even for high-performing leaders. Kelly stresses the importance of recognizing when to let things go and pivot towards a larger goal, rather than focusing on winning every battle. This mindset can lead to greater success in the long run.

Topics Covered:

Kelly Hennig, COO of Stoke Space 0:00

Building reusable rockets to promote sustainability and accessibility in space travel 0:39 How Stoke Space Started 2:57

Future of reusable rockets 4:55

Behind Stoke Space rapid growth 5:57

Stoke Space Culture 7:35

How Stoke Space moving so fast 8:26

Learning from failure and mistakes 9:34

Valuing work-life balance 10:36

Why Kelly left previous big companies: 14:41

Valuable lessons & experiences from her previous companies 17:19

Kelly’s main priorities 20:24

Workflow management: 21:53

Kelly’s career advice 24:02

Creating a positive influence and effectively bringing people along in the journey 25:30 Stock Space vision 26:59

Favorite book for personal or career life 29:24

Kelly’s advice as a COO 31:00

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