Drone360 Magazine and the Women And Drones have revealed the inaugural 2017 Women to Watch in UAS List.
The list is intended to celebrate the success of movers and shakers in the drone world. Some you may recognize (and have been mentioned on the Drone Girl before!), while some are newcomers who are quickly rising to the top of the influencer ranks. Ultimately, nine women from around the world were selected for their work in the drone industry in the first of an annual list designed to highlight exceptional women in drones.
I had the pleasure of serving on the judges panel to select the honorees. We had so many amazing applications and though it was tough to choose, the list we came up with is pretty awe-inspiring.
Here are the honorees, by category:
Business: Holly Kasun (U.S.A.)
Flybrix, co-founded by Kasun, makes drones kits that use LEGO® bricks. She hopes to engage STEM students with drone technology in an accessible, fun way.
Champion: Mary Wohnrade (U.S.A.)
Wohnrade champions the use of UAS technology in civil engineering, and has developed a proprietary workflow to incorporate the two fields. She has a personal enthusiasm for the use of drones, but is also eager to share the technology with others and advance UAS technology for the betterment of society.
Education: Karen Joyce (Australia)
A scientist and university lecturer who specializes in environmental mapping and monitoring, Joyce is also the co-founder of She Flies, which engages women and girls in STEM through drones. The organization offers programs for teachers, parents and grandparents, corporate organizations, and school groups to encourage girls to challenge gender stereotypes in science and technology.
Emerging: Lexie Janson (Poland)
Through her tenacity and her sheer love of flying, Janson has become a high-profile racer and is working to raise the profile of drone racing. In her first steps in the field she battled sexism, but stayed strong to set a positive example for other women in the drone industry.
Entertainment & Culture: Natalie Cheung (U.S.A.)
As the General Manager of Intel Drone Light Shows, Cheung is responsible for making Intel’s drone light shows possible. Her work at Intel has been seen over the skies of Walt Disney World, Coachella and even the Super Bowl.
Global Trailblazer: Catherine Ball (Australia)
Ball is a startup specialist working hard to build bridges, convene the UAS community, and advance innovative solutions in the UAS environment. She is a driver behind The World Drone Congress, the first major drone event to focus on the Asia-Pacific region (and it’s happening right now!), and co-founder of She Flies, which works to bring UAS and STEM learning to girls and women.
Humanitarian: Helena Samsioe (Sweden)
Samsioe and her drone services company, GLOBHE, are leveraging drone capabilities to solve global problems, particularly public health. She is passionate about using innovative technology to improve current health conditions around the world in a way no one thought possible.
Influencer: Gretchen West (U.S.A.)
West works to advocate for drones both through regulatory channels and inside the industry, promoting an understanding of drones’ potential for various types of end-users. She often focuses on drones and security, and works directly with the federal government on policy and technology solutions that will open the drone market for broader commercial use.
Technology: Leah La Salla (U.S.A.)
La Salla’s start-up, Astral AR, is developing drones that can be controlled with the mind (!) with a focus on drones-for-good activities. Her company holds patents on a variety of drone technologies with the hope of advancing the lifesaving capabilities of agencies and teams responding to emergencies.