She has more than 20 years of experience in the satellite communications industry including extensive experience in rapid response solutions for the US Government, both Military and Civilian agencies. Ms. Sears is an industry spokesperson for how commercial satellites can be utilized by the military to solve mission-critical needs and she has worked over the past several years to advance the commercial / DoD partnership.
Previously, she helped launch Government services business units at both G2 Satellite Solutions and Verestar. Ms. Sears has also held sales and product development positions with Intelsat and Comsat World Systems. Ms. Sears has a Masters in Business Administration from George Washington University and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Richmond.
Ms. Sears is currently serving on the SATCON Advisory Board and is on the Board of Directors for Women in Aerospace.
Podcast with Kay Sears: http://theleadersspot.com/archives/270
1) How did you get started in the satellite business?
Right out of college I went to work for the Commerce Department auditing weather satellite systems for NOAA. I found satellite technology and the benefits it was bringing very compelling. I looked for ways to expand in the satellite area and joined COMSAT, moving from weather satellites into communication satellites.
2) How have you been involved in changes brought about in or by this business (innovations, technologies, services)?
Two important technological changes that mark my career include the move from analog to digital television and the introduction of IP over satellite. Both of these technologies created new demand for satellites and lead to new services and ground equipment. Satellite became a household word and cost effective TV platform were born around the world. This year Intelsat will launch an IP Router In Space (IRIS) on the IS-14 satellite, demonstrating that we continue to evolve IP capabilities that will improve services and create new applications.
3) What do you think was the greatest event/situation/opportunity you experienced?
The opportunity to lead Intelsat General is the highlight of my career so far and has been incredibly rewarding and challenging. To be part of Intelsat is, in itself, a rewarding opportunity. But to lead a subsidiary that focuses on providing secure solutions to the Government and associated commercial companies is a privilege. I can say I look forward to going to work every day.
4) What was the greatest obstacle?
The greatest obstacle was and is the work/life balance. It is difficult to strike a good balance and hold it in place for any length of time. Work comes in ebbs and flows and so does life and when those flow together it can be challenging. The key is having a great team that can get the job done and support each other.
5) What do you see happening in the next five years in this industry?
I see a continuation of IP-based solutions, perhaps leveraging the router in space concept. Everything will need to be mobile and the challenge will be to deliver increasing data rates to smaller, mobile devices. Space is getting crowded and so hopefully the industry will come up with new spectrum to expand into or technologies that make better use of the precious spectrum we have today. And I think security, both on the satellite and on the ground, will become more important.
6) What advice do you have for women interested in entering the industry?
Understanding satellite technology to some extent is important in this industry even if you are in a non-technical field. It is still a male-dominated industry so know your skill set and leverage it!
Women in Space
Audrey Allison, Dir., Frequency Management Services, Boeing Shared Services Group
Anita Antenucci, Managing Dir. Houlihan Lokey's Aerospace-Defense-Government
Dr. Wanda M. Austin Pres. & CEO, The Aerospace Corporation
Julie Bannerman, Gen.Counsel, Space Systems/Loral, Inc.
Sharri Berg, Senior V.P., News Operations, Fox News
Leslie Blaker, DataPath, Inc.
Yvonne Brill, Consultant, Satellite Tech. & Space Propulsion Systems
Michelle Bryan, Senior V.P., Human Resources, Intelsat
Dr. Angie Bukley, Ph.D., Electrical Engineering
Catherine Chang, General Counsel & Asst. Company Secretary, AsiaSat
Sabrina Cubbon, Gen. Manager, Marketing, AsiaSat
Yvette Dominguez, Manager, Payload Design Engineering Section, Space Systems/Loral, Inc.
Chris Ehrenbard, Dir., Broadcast Distribution, CBS
Mary Ann Elliot, Chairman of the Board, Arrowhead Global Solutions, Inc.
Celeste Ford, Founder & CEO, Stellar Solutions, Inc.
Mary Frost, former CEO, GlobeCast America
Eilene Galloway, NASA Pioneer
Carmen González-Sanfeliu, V.P., Latin America & Caribbean, Intelsat
Dawn Harms, V.P., Marketing & Sales, Space Systems/Loral, Inc.
Ellen Hoff, Pres., W.L. Pritchard & Co., L.C.
Polly Rash Hollis, Satellite Industry Professional
Britt Horncastle, Satellite Consultant
Susan Irwin, Pres., Irwin Communications, Inc.
Barbara Jaffe, Senior V.P., Advanced Technology and Operations, HBO
Christine King, Deputy V.P., Technical Services & Engineering, Lockheed Martin
Betsy Kulick, Newsletter Editor & Corporate Secretary, Mobile Satellite Users Association
Penelope Longbottom, Founder & Pres., Longbottom Communications
Joanne Maguire, Exec. V.P., Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company
Andrea Maléter, Technical Dir., Futron Corporation
Joan T. Mancuso, Founder & Executive, Broadband International LLC
Dolores Martos, V.P., Sales for Latin America & Caribbean, SES Americom - SES New Skies
Brig. Gen. Susan K. Mashiko, Vice Commander, Space & Missile Systems Center, L.A. Air Force Base
Eileen McGowan, Corporate Strategy & Planning, Intelsat
Olwen Morgan, Development Engineer
Bridget Neville, V.P. & Gen. Manager, Satellite Engineering & Operations, Sirius XM Radio
Christine Paape, V.P., Space Explorers, Inc.
Rhonda Parson, Manager, Occasional-Use Sales & Traffic Division, EchoStar Satellite Services
Maj. Gen. Ellen M. Pawlikowski, Deputy Dir., National Reconnaissance Office
Jane Petro, Kennedy Space Center Deputy Director
Dr. Nongluck Phinainitisart, D.Eng., Pres., Thaicom PLC
Mary Quagliotti, Retired Major General, Army
Radhika Ramachandran, Ph.D., Counsellor (SPACE) & Technical Liaison Officer
Veena Rawat, Pres., Communications Research Centre, Canada
Joslyn Read, V.P., Regulatory Affairs, SES Americom - SES New Skies
Walda Roseman, Founder & CEO, CompassRose International, Inc.
Farah Suhanah Ahmad Sarji, General Counsel, MEASAT
Jacqueline Schenkel, Founder, Schenkel & Associates, LLC
Kay Sears, Pres., Intelsat General
Gwynne Shotwell, Pres., SpaceX
Marcia Smith, Pres., Space Technology Policy Group, LLC
Pascale Sourisse, Gen. Manager, Land & Joint Systems Division, Thales
Andy Steinem, CEO, Dahl-Morrow International
Nicole P. Stott, Astronaut, NASA
Bambi Taskarelli, Voice/Data Engineer, NBCU
Leslie Taylor, Strategic Planning Division Office of Spectrum Management, NTIA, U.S. Dept. of Commerce
Synette Tom, Marketing Dir., Sales, Space Systems/Loral, Inc.
Marjorie Rhodes Townsend, Satellite Communications Consultant
Diane Tryneski, Senior V.P., Broadcast & Studio Operations, HBO
Diane VanBeber, V.P., Investor Relations, Corporate & Marketing Communications, Intelsat
Barbara Warren, Systems Analyst, International Telecommunication Union
Zhang Yan, Gen. Manager, CITICSat and Chief Rep., Asiasat