Closing the Equity Gap Through Education, Entrepreneurship and Employment

Nancy Conrad

Founder & Chair, Conrad Foundation



A highly accomplished teacher, author, publisher, entrepreneur, and public speaker, Nancy Conrad is perhaps best known globally for her tireless leadership and ardent advocacy for transformative education.


Nancy attributes her steadfast commitment to education advancement to her life experiences ranging from a high school teaching position in Denver, Colorado, to developing educational products based on the legacy of America’s space explorers. Nancy Conrad created the Conrad Foundation in 2008 to energize and engage students in science and technology through unique entrepreneurial opportunities. The organization’s flagship program, the Spirit of Innovation Challenge, is a global competition challenging students to combine education, innovation and entrepreneurship to create products that address real-world challenges and global sustainability. By enabling young minds to connect education, innovation and entrepreneurship, the Foundation helps provide a bold platform for enriching the innovative workforce of the future.


Nancy began her career as a high school English teacher and then segued her classroom experience to work in the publishing industry. She was Associate Publisher for International Business Woman magazine, a publication providing business information from a woman’s perspective. Noted interviews include Betty Ford, Kay Koplovitz, Mary Kay and Caroline Rose Hunt. She also served as a contributing writer for “100 Years of the Automobile” and “100 Years of Moving Pictures.”


She delved into the world of space, beginning as a speechwriter for her late husband Pete. Nancy later co-authored his inspirational biography, Rocketman, published by Penguin. Other noted space writings include interviewing Apollo 11 astronauts for “One Giant Leap for Mankind”, a publication chosen by NASA as the official book for the 25th anniversary of the first lunar landing. She also co-founded Pepper Pike Graphix, an educational comic book publishing company that produced such pieces as “Moon Shot the Flight of Apollo 12,” which was used by actor/director/producer Tom Hanks as a source of research for the HBO series “From Earth to the Moon.”


In 1996, Nancy worked hand-in-hand with Pete to create four companies dedicated to providing ways to make space travel more accessible to all individuals. These companies included Universal Space Network, Universal Spacelines, Universal Spaceware and Rocket Development Company. After developing strategic business plans for each company, she spearheaded many business development initiatives for Universal SpaceNetwork and ultimately became the company’s Director of Communications.


Nancy also founded Universal Space Works, an astronaut licensing company representing 20 astronauts who worked in NASA programs ranging from Mercury to the Space Shuttle. The company has worked with major manufacturers to create educational products based on the legacy of mankind’s exploration of space.


In recognition of her continuous contribution to the healthcare quality and patient safety movement globally, she has been appointed as an Editorial Advisory Board Member of the Journal of Patient Safety, a global peer reviewed medical journal serving with leaders from the World Health Organization, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic and Harvard Affiliated hospitals.


Nancy Conrad inspires caregivers by telling the extraordinary life story of Pete Conrad, one of our nations true heroes of the space program and innovators whose life ended with the preventable healthcare systems failure. She has been featured in the Discovery Channel documentary Surfing the Healthcare Tsunami: Bring Your Best Board. She told the Pete Conrad story in Discovery and network documentaries being produced by TMIT, a global leader in healthcare performance leadership and innovation. She is on the Patient Engagement Board of the Global Patient Safety Team built on the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST) that successfully reduced airline mortalities by 83%. She has been an inspirational speaker at global summits along with former President Bill Clinton.


She is deeply engaged in the top business circles, serving on the President’s Circle of the National Academies, Explorer’s Club and the Cosmos Club. Ms. Conrad has been a featured speaker at national and international conferences. Her presentations include TED, the Legatum Institute at MIT, the Patient Safety, Science & Technology Summit, and, the Global Competiveness Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


She also presented at the Global Diversity Leadership Conference at Harvard University and the National Modeling and Simulation Coalition conference. As a leader in transformative education, she has testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology detailing how the Conrad Foundation exemplifies the use of partnership and mentorship to improve STEM education. She is currently the education partner for the SonUS Solar Sail Sun Jammer project as well Inspiration Mars project. Ms. Conrad also serves on the Advisory Board of the B612 Foundation. She is a founding partner of the Global Patient Safety team advisory Board.


Professional affiliations include former Director, California Air and Space Museum, NASA Ames Research Center; former Member of the Board of Directors, Universal Spacelines; Distinguished Women, Northwood University; Social Enterprise Governing Board, Columbia University.


In the realm of STEM education, Nancy is deeply engaged with numerous organizations committed to advancing the development of STEM education programs and initiatives. Her commitments include serving as a co-chair of the US News STEMS Solutions 2012. Other notable organizations Ms Conrad is affiliated with include STEM Education Coalition, STEMconnector, the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, and the Presidential Scholars.


She is a recipient of the Thomas Jefferson High School 2011 Tommy Award for her significant contributions to STEM education. In 2012, U.S. News and STEMconnector named Ms Conrad as one of 100 Top Women Leaders in STEM and inducted her into the 100 Top Women Leaders in STEM Hall of Fame.

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