Friday, 15 November 2019 10:38

NASA expert to keynote at StartCon 2019: woman and man in moonshot plan


Dr Christyl Johnson of NASA will unveil plans to connect with the global community to put the first woman and next man on the moon by 2024, as well as establishing a sustained presence on the moon at last.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre Deputy Director for Technology and Research Investments, Dr Christyl Johnson will deliver a keynote speech at StartCon, Australia’s leading technology, startup, corporate innovation and growth conference on Friday 22nd November.

We're told that Dr Johnson is "working on the most ambitious moonshot yet. As Deputy Director for Technology and Research at NASA’s Goddard Space Centre, she is one of the world’s foremost experts on space travel and innovation and is responsible for shaping missions of the future".

At StartCon, Dr Johnson "will be unveiling NASA’s plans to connect with the global community to provide innovation and put the first woman and next man on the surface of the moon by 2024.

"The mission will go above and beyond previous moon landing missions, with the goal of establishing a sustained presence on the moon. At StartCon, Dr Johnson will discuss NASA’s approach to innovation and the practical applications of moving outside of traditional frameworks to solve real problems that bring transformative change".

Dr Johnson said: “With the global community working together towards putting the first woman and next man on the moon by 2024, innovation is critical. So many times an idea for a solution is developed with a single purpose in mind, but when you step outside of your framework and consider possible applications in other markets, you may be just the missing key for transformation for that market. At StartCon, I will share how NASA has used its technologies to help transform markets and spur the next generation of innovators to improve the quality of life for all.”

Dr Johnson is responsible for shaping the missions of the future in astrophysics, earth science, heliophysics and planetary science, and developing a technology portfolio of investments to make sure that those technologies are ready in time for the future innovative missions.

She is also a passionate advocate for sustaining women in STEM and has created and led NASA’s Global Sustaining Women in STEM Roundtable for the past 3 years.

Open to all Australians, Dr Johnson will speak at Startcon at Royal Randwick Racecourse on Friday 22nd November 2019.

StartCon brings together the world’s best experts to provide actionable insights into how to start and grow world class technology driven businesses. Whether you are an entrepreneur, corporate innovator, working at a startup or are thinking about starting a business - if there is one event you must attend this year - it’s StartCon.

Dr Johnson will join over 55 global leaders in technology including Australia’s 29th Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and experts from eBay, Lyft, Airbnb, Airwallex, Uber, The Iconic, and more, during the two day event, with 4000+ attendees, 160 exhibitors and hundreds of startups in attendance.

Lana Vickridge-Smith, CEO of StartCon says, “Dr Johnson is instrumental in leading technological innovation to propel human space travel, and her key mission is to land the first woman and next man on the moon. The actionable insights, creative thinking and approach to innovation she will share at StartCon is unmissable.”

StartCon organised for some media interviews with Dr Johnson, but the interviews were unavoidably delayed and can hopefully happen next week before her keynote speech.

On a separate note, I was able to interview Lana Vickridge-Smith yesterday to get the latest updates, which included info on new speakers, including Dr Johnson, with an emphasis at the end of our short interview on the fact that StartCon has more workshops and streams of content than ever before - the article continues below, please read on!

With the entire conference filmed, and each attendee set to get access to each speaker's presentation, each workshop and more, StartCon really is the conference that can be experienced in many different ways after being there in person to follow the initial tracks of your choice, which adds tremendously to the value that StartCon delivers to us all, and I'm personally happy to support the event and its aims and goals. 

Joining Dr Johnson at StartCon 2019 on November 22-23 will be:

International Speakers:

  • Malcolm Turnbull, 29th Prime Minister of Australia
  • John McAfee,
  • Jenny Arden, Director of Design @ Lyft, formerly AirBnb
  • Joe Fahed, Global Products Operations Manager @ Uber
  • Tony Aug, CTO & VP, Technology & Strategy, Digital @ Arrow
  • Petra Hofer, Technology Leadership Advisor, fmr eBay Director of Technology
  • Dan Lok, Founder, Influencer @
  • Eric Siu, Owner and CEO @ Single Grain
  • Alberto Antinucci, Digital Innovation Strategist & China Expert @ Antinucci Consulting
  • Katie Burke, Chief People Officer @ Hubspot
  • Amy Peck, Senior Director of Enterprise Content @ Vive Studios
  • and more!

Local Speakers include:

  • Fred Schebesta, CEO & Co-founder @ Finder
  • Ashik Ahmed, CEO, CTO & Co-founder @ Deputy
  • Vivek Bharadwaj, Marketing Science @ THE ICONIC
  • Dr Jemma Green, Executive Chairman & Co-founder @ Power Ledger
  • Chris Smith, Founder & Director @ BIG Esports
  • Craig Rees, VP & Head of Engineering @ AirWallex
  • Taryn Williams, CEO & Founder @
  • James Spencely, VC Investor & Mentor @
  • Greg Cross, Serial Entrepreneur @ Soul Machines
  • Alex Moss, CEO & Head Designer @ Canaria
  • Daniel Wearne, Head of Design @ Up Banking
  • Alex McCauley, CEO @ StartupAus
  • Sarah Tang, VP, Enterprise @
  • Helen Souness, CEO @ RMIT Online
  • Randall Noble, COO @ Hive Gaming
  • Dr Michelle Perugini, CEO & Co-founder @ Presagen
  • Simon Banks, Managing Director & SVP @ HyperWallet
  • Ali Anderson, Manager of Outreach Programs @ Australian Institute for Machine Learning

StartCon 2019 features multiple tracks for startups, marketing and growth professionals, designers, engineers, tech experts and corporate innovators and is jam-packed with:

  • Expert workshops
  • Tech expo
  • Hackathon
  • Masterclasses
  • FinTech stage
  • Disruption stage
  • Artificial intelligence stage
  • VIP lounge
  • Multiple networking events
  • Table Tennis Corporate Cup
  • Live gaming
  • Kids coding camp
  • Startup alley that includes some of the most innovative businesses across Asia

More information and tickets at StartCon 2019 here


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.



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