of Greater Santa Barbara


Gretchen McClain: Engineer, Executive, Entrepreneur and Former NASA Leader to Speak at 2017 Scholarship Luncheon


“Inspiring the Next Generation of Girls in STEM” theme honors core component of
Girls Inc. programming and advocacy


Gretchen W. McClain, former Deputy Associate Administrator for NASA Space Flight and Chief Director of the International Space Station, will be the honored speaker at the Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara One Hundred Committee Scholarship Luncheon, to be held Thursday, April 27 at the Bella Vista Estate in Summerland, CA. Proceeds from the luncheon will help provide financial assistance for area girls to participate in Girls Inc. programming at the Goleta Valley and Santa Barbara Centers.

The event theme – Inspiring the Next Generation of Girls in STEM – honors one of the core aspects of Girls Inc. programming, which encourages girls to pursue their curiosities and their educational and career interests in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, where women are still under-represented. In her nine years at NASA, Ms. McClain played a pivotal leadership role in the successful development and launch of the International Space Station Program. For her service, she received the NASA Distinguished Service medal.

“When you have the opportunity to live a dream of a lifetime, it’s my role to help inspire and influence others to follow their passions. I strongly believe that having a solid foundation of math and science is what will open the many doors in front of you and provide you the critical tools to find solutions,” says Gretchen McClain. “This is what empowered me as a young woman and provided me the strength to accomplish feats I never thought possible.”

Ms. McClain is also a business and technology entrepreneur, serving in numerous senior executive positions in both the government and industry starting from a systems engineer. As the Founding President and CEO of Xylem, an S&P 500 company and global water technology company, she oversaw the successful creation and spin-off of the company from ITT Corporation. At ITT, she served as President of ITT Fluid Motion and Control, a diversified leading manufacturing company of highly engineered technology and equipment. Prior to ITT, McClain held a number of executive positions at Honeywell Aerospace (formerly AlliedSignal), including Chief Technology Officer of Aerospace Engines and Systems.

She earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from University of Utah, and in 2015 received that institution’s Founders Award. Ms. McClain was also inducted into the Utah Technology Council Hall of Fame and is the first woman to receive this honor.

“Gretchen McClain is a game-changer, actively involved in advocating for, and shaping the debate within, the technology, water and environmental spheres and women in STEM,” said Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara CEO Barbara Ben-Horin. “We are fortunate to have a dynamic technology leader of her caliber to speak in support of Girls Inc. and our critical programs and advocacy efforts to increase opportunities for girls and women in STEM fields.”

Ms. McClain currently serves as a Board of Director for three publicly traded companies, and serves as an Advisor to EPIC Ventures, an early stage venture firm. Through her consulting practice, GWMcClain Advisory Services, McClain provides leadership coaching and business services to CEOs and executives, frequently working with start-up businesses and private equity firms. She is also a member of United Technologies Corporation Innovation Advisory Council and the America’s Water Steering committee at the Columbia Water Center, part of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.

Individual tickets for Inspiring the Next Generation of Girls in STEM are $225 each and may be reserved by calling 805-963-4757. Sponsorship opportunities for the event are still available.

For additional event information visit girlsincsb.org and follow us on social media @girlsincsb.