Making the grade as one of NASA’s ‘Highly Qualified Astronaut Candidates’ isn’t a prerequisite for leadership in Aegon, but Dr. Mindy Howard reckons the experience might come in handy.
Our new Sustainability Strategy Manager always dreamed of becoming an astronaut, but is equally passionate about the more earthly pursuits of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility.
In her orbit
Mindy, who joined Aegon in May, has published various space-related research papers and created a business called 'Inner Space Training' which is a training to psychologically prepare commercial astronauts for space flight.
"I try to help people achieve their peak performance, by helping them stay focused on their mission, and how their experience in space can be used to inspire and improve the lives of others here on Earth," explains Mindy.
"Perhaps many of these peak performance techniques can also be used here in Aegon with respect to sustainability."
Mindy is currently a flight member with Astronauts for Hire, a non-profit which recruits and trains scientists and engineers for spaceflight, and has completed a suborbital training program.
"Experiencing high G-forces is intense and gave me a good insight into the difficulties astronauts experience," she says.
"It might not immediately seem obvious, but there is a connection between space, care for the environment and promoting sustainable corporate practice."
"When many astronauts have gone into space, they get what's called 'the overview effect', The overview effect is a cognitive shift in awareness of astronauts during spaceflight, often experienced while viewing Earth from space.
"When astronauts come home, they frequently become ambassadors of the environment, or want to help to build a better world. That's the sort of inspiration I would love to see here among our employees in Aegon. As we reach out into the communities we operate in, I hope Aegon can achieve the overview effect."