Meet Stella Guillen, VP of International Business Development at Spaceflight.
Q: What do you do at Spaceflight?
A: My job is to find customers, suppliers and strategic partnerships around the world so that we can develop opportunities to grow our business. I visit satellite operators, satellite manufacturers, launch service providers, space agencies and governments, promoting Spaceflight and ways of making space more accessible to everyone. Before joining Spaceflight, I worked in different areas of the industry on the product and services side. My last position was at SpaceX where I worked for almost 6 years addressing the European and Latin America markets. The experience of creating a market for a new U.S. company – SpaceX – has given me tremendous insight as to what the possibilities are for Spaceflight around the world.
Q: What interests you about space?
A: I remember the first time I walked into the Intelsat building in Washington, D.C. 20+ years ago. I didn’t know much about satellites or space but I was very impressed by a bunch of mockup satellites hanging from the ceiling of the main lobby. I heard this lady giving an introduction about the company and I knew instantly that I wanted to be part of all of that. I wanted to make it easier for the world to be connected. I wanted to learn how satellites were built and launched. I became fascinated with the industry. Since then I have worked for Intelsat, SES and other satellite operators and service providers, with each experience building upon the last.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?
A: Besides spending time with my husband and two kids (girls, 12 and 9) and friends, I love to run! My other passions are theater, dance and music.
Q: Star Wars, Star Trek or The Martian?
A: Hard question, but I would say The Martian. While it’s still science-fiction, it’s a more realistic view of the huge struggle that manned spaceflight still is. If we are going to realize the dream of being an interplanetary species, we need to double down on this mission. I just love the idea of space travel, and exploring different planets. I believe that is inspirational for young generations. No wars, just exploration!
Q: If you were to mentor someone who wanted to do what you do, what advice would you give them?
A: You can always find great training courses on sales/negotiations techniques, public speaking, strategic planning etc., but you need to first ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I have a genuine passion for people? I believe that in order to succeed as a business development person you need to enjoy interacting and persuading people. It is important to have empathy, because if you can see others’ perspectives, you will develop trust and thus build long lasting relationships that will always result in sales.
- Do I love what my company is trying to do? You need to love what you do to be able to convey authentic positive emotions in order to persuade people and get things done.
- Do I embrace change and do I like to challenge the status quo? Creativity comes when you ask questions and curiosity takes over you. That, plus a proactive attitude will help you come up with new or better solutions for customers/business partners and colleagues.
- How confident am I? Confidence comes from knowledge: knowledge of the product/service you are offering, knowledge of the industry and its trends, knowledge of your competition, knowledge of your customer, knowledge of the world, politics, economics and cultures.
- Do I know someone I can watch and learn from? Find someone who has had the experience opening businesses, markets, building strategic partnerships, making great sales, etc. Someone you can bounce ideas off. A mentor can help you provide a path and help build confidence.
Q: Would you be interested in going to space someday?
A: Yes! Definitely –– but I want to come back! I basically have a suitcase ready at all times. I love to explore the world so the thought of exploring space and other planets just multiplies my excitement!
Q: What is one thing that most people at Spaceflight don’t know about you?
A: I danced classical ballet professionally for many years – it’s the reason for my “ducky” walk.