“Exploration is in our DNA,” said retired astronaut Mark Kelly in a 2015 interview. It’s certainly in his, having flown on five space shuttle flights, commanding two of them. Kelly will share some of his experiences in space as co-keynote speaker at the 2019 NBOA Annual Meeting.
Who: Gabby Giffords, former Congresswoman, and Mark Kelly, retired astronaut and retired U.S. Navy Captain
What: Keynote Address
When: Monday, March 4, 8:15-10 a.m.
Learn more and register for 2019 NBOA Annual Meeting.
“The value of going to space is complex. You learn about the place you’re going to, be it the moon or Mars. And it’s also about what you have to learn to do these things.” The research that goes into spaceflight often leads to better products on Earth, he explained. For example, to understand how spacecraft could reenter the atmosphere, NASA had to develop the field of computational fluid dynamics, which now helps produce better cars, pipes and even surfboards — anything that has air or fluid flowing in or around it. The benefit to society is part of what makes the risk of being an astronaut worthwhile to him.
Kelly’s scariest moments and the largest challenge of his life didn’t come in space, however. It came eight years ago, in January 2011, when his wife, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, was shot in the head at point-blank range while speaking at a “Congress on Your Corner” event. Giffords’ recovery was extraordinary, and both she and Kelly have not stopped fighting for ways to improve life here on Earth.
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Giffords will also speak at the meeting. Before serving in Congress, Giffords was the youngest woman elected to Arizona’s state senate as well as CEO of an auto services chain that was sold to Goodyear Tire. Today she advocates for gun control, endorsing candidates on both sides of the aisle who support it. “It is very exciting to have Kelly and Giffords join us and share their amazing story of service, commitment and courage,” said NBOA President and CEO Jeff Shields. “In addition, they are active crusaders on the topic of gun safety, and I think it will help bring this issue into sharp focus for attendees, as they grapple with the very real issues of managing risk at their schools and providing safe learning communities for students, families, faculty and staff.”
“Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly embody the best ideals that our independent schools try to shape in today’s students: service, perseverance, courage, compassion and a thirst for lifelong learning,” added Jennifer Osland Hillen, NBOA’s vice president of professional development and business affairs. “As American leaders, they epitomize a commitment to disrupting convention with bold choices, doing what is right and succeeding as members of a team working for the greater good.”
Giffords and Kelly have authored two books together, the first about the grit required to navigate Giffords’ recovery and the second about the founding of their advocacy organization, once called Americans for Responsible Solutions and now called Giffords. Kelly has continued to participate in space research, invested in an organization that explores space frontiers, and written three children’s books, including Mousetronaut, which led the New York Times bestseller list.
The couple will speak about teamwork and determination at the 2019 NBOA Annual Meeting. Past speaking engagements have “provided an important reminder of why we serve, what matters most and how the decisions we make as leaders directly impact the lives of those we were appointed to serve,” according to one audience member. Learn more about the keynote address and register.
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