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Issue 15
issue pic Synette Tom is director of marketing and sales for Space Systems/Loral (SS/L), the leader in high power commercial satellites. Synette is responsible for the marketing and sales of the company's communications satellites and systems in Southeast Asia. Prior to joining SS/L, Synette was with Hughes Space and Communications (now Boeing Satellite Systems) for over 17 years serving in various systems engineering and business development positions involving domestic and international commercial and government customers. Synette has over 20 years experience in the satellite industry.

1) How did you get started in the satellite business?

I started in the satellite business designing digital electronics for satellites at Hughes Space and Communications. My first project was on Intelsat VI. Satellites got more exciting to me when I moved into systems engineering. Systems engineering helped me learn more about satellite applications and the benefits of satellite communications to provide telephony, television, internet, and data services around the world, especially to communities that have little to no access otherwise.

2) How have you been involved in changes brought about in or by this business (innovations, technologies, services)?

Throughout my career, I am thankful to have been surrounded by highly innovative people. These people have been my mentors, teammates, and customers. Together, leading edge solutions in satellite communications were developed to help improve communications services. When MEASAT was considering an Asian broadband network and I lead the business development team on our proposal efforts, I learned a lot more about advanced internet systems and businesses. This was much more than what I learned studying engineering.

3) What do you think was the greatest event/situation/opportunity you experienced?

The greatest opportunity for me is to work with very smart people that are passionate about the satellite industry.

4) What was the greatest obstacle?

I fortunately didn't really have any pinnacle obstacles in my career. When Space Systems/Loral offered me a position to lead marketing and sales in the Southeast Asia region, it was challenging for me to decide to leave Hughes Space and Communications. Hughes had provided me with so many fantastic opportunities. They trained me for over 17 years and I have made many friends and long term business relationships there. I tend to be very loyal so it was a very difficult decision to leave. However, Space Systems/Loral provided me with a terrific opportunity to advance my career. Now I am part of the team at the company that is now the leading supplier of high power commercial communications satellites. I continue to learn and enjoy making new friends in the industry.

5) What do you see happening in the next five years in this industry?

In the next five years, I believe there will be continued demand for capacity in the industry due to HDTV, broadband, mobile, and possibly government services. Secure, broadband communications could possibly be provided to the field using lower cost commercial bent pipe systems.

6) What advice do you have for women interested in entering the industry?

Engineering is an excellent major that can open many doors. Space Systems/Loral offers exciting and interesting high technology careers in the satellite communications industry with excellent salaries. I recognize that this issue is focused on women in space, but it doesn't matter if you are a man or a woman, just be passionate about what you do, love what you do, do the best you can do, and enjoy life.


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Issue No. 15:
Women in Space

Spring 2009

General Editor Introduction

From the Guest Editor

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

UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering, and Technology: Astronomy Blog

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