Natalie Panek is an intelligent, insightful, energetic speaker who infuses powerful storytelling with a down-to-earth personality. She brings an unrivaled passion for ideas that inspires audiences to embrace the learning process: demand the most of themselves, commit to a goal, and develop intellectual fortitude. Natalie is on a mission to inspire the next generation of female game-changers to dive head-on into challenge and pursue careers in engineering and technology.


She shares a powerful narrative infused with valuable takeaways. Natalie has had some extraordinary experiences that have shaped her dreams of becoming an astronaut, including her grit and perseverance at applying and being rejected not once, not twice but 4 times by NASA…before she earned her internship at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center and Ames Research Center, where she worked on a mission to Mars.


At age 20, she was the first female driver of the University of Calgary’s inaugural solar-powered vehicle which raced up from Texas to Calgary. With degrees in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Natalie has also co-authored papers on Microgravity Combustion and On-orbit Satellite Servicing. Her love of space and aviation led her to obtain a private pilot’s license to fly a single-engine aircraft. The Financial Post described Natalie as “a vocal advocate for women in technology”.


She is a technology contributor for The Next Women Business Magazine and was featured on the editorial site Women You Should Know as a STEM Rock Star who is revolutionizing how we think about women in tech. Natalie is also both a mentor and program adviser for Cybermentor, through the University of Calgary.





Tying into our theme of Shared Perspectives, Clear Vision, Natalie will be sharing her knowledge and experience in the areas of utilizing shared perspectives, collaboration and innovation to achieve success. 


Building for Mars & Beyond


Whether it’s building space robots that need to perform in the extreme environment of space or building a Mars rover that will be operating on another planet, Natalie’s engineering experiences teach what to do if there is no existing road map for your ideas, or even for the execution of those ideas. Having a vision, the design process, decision making, teamwork, and mentorship are each navigational waypoints for helping get new ideas off the ground – for transforming an idea into reality. In this presentation, Natalie shows you the importance of each, and how to implement them within your organization.