From Teach For America to Design Lead at IDEO to VP of Business Operations and Strategy at Astranis. I'm Miki Heller.Featured
Hi everyone! I'm Miki Heller, and I'm the VP of Business Operations and Strategy at Astranis. We're building low-cost internet satellites to get the developing world online. I studied aerospace engineering at Cal Poly. Afterward, I joined Teach For America (TFA) as a middle school math teacher. I learned from the experience that I loved education, but wanted to approach it from outside the classroom, so I went on to Harvard for a joint degree in business and public policy. Then I went back to TFA as a Director of Strategy, launching a new program focusing on after school programs. After that, I founded a non-profit to mentor students in the college application process. These diverse experiences led me to become a business designer at IDEO. I knew nothing about design going into the job, but I knew how to spot an opportunity and not waste something valuable. After more than 10 years of focusing on business and strategy, I had the chance to get back to my aerospace roots and build out the business side of Astranis. At the time, we were a tiny company operating out of an apartment loft. Since then, we’ve grown the team to 70 people, moved into a 13,000 square foot manufacturing facility in San Francisco, launched our first demo satellite, and are currently working on building our first commercial satellite, which will bring internet to Alaska, where about a third of people in the state don’t have access to reliable internet. In my role, I oversee our recruiting/hiring, people operations, supply chain and vendor management, finance, legal, facilities, IT — everything that supports the engineering work it takes to build satellites! Also, I just had a baby! He is four weeks old and adorable, and I am currently on maternity leave. Ask me anything about business design and operations, taking maternity leave as a VP of a startup, non-linear career paths, or something else!