Page 7 - BEQ Magazine Iss 23 FINAL v3
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                                       stronaut Jessica Watkins made   to speak with an executive who is one of only three
                                       headlines in April following the   signatory authorities that can execute procurement
                                                                       policies and procedures on behalf of the United States
                              A announcement that she would be         Federal Government.
                            the first Black woman to serve a long-duration   Karla Smith Jackson is Assistant Administrator
                            mission on the International Space Station.   for Procurement, Senior Procurement Executive,
                                                                       and Deputy Chief Acquisition Officer for NASA. She
                            This news is certainly an example of growing   shared with BEQ Pride how NASA’s Equity Action Plan
                            equity in space exploration, but the National   (released in April 2022) is helping the organization
                            Aeronautics and Space Administration’s     rethink and reshape the landscape of the adminis-
                                                                       tration’s contracts and partnerships by enabling “the
                            (NASA) commitment to access and oppor-
                                                                       agency to track progress toward improved, equity,
                            tunity extends well beyond this high-profile   inclusion, and accessibility both internally and exter-
                            example.                                   nally….”

                               So much happens beyond the flight deck at NASA  REACHING LGBTQ+ TALENT
                            to make its earth and space research and expeditions   Along with women, minority, and veteran-focused
                            possible. NASA partners with an incredibly large   businesses and research institutions, the LGBTQ+
                            number of professionals, companies, and institu-  community is one of the underrepresented and
                            tions in the delivery of products and services from   underserved communities that Jackson is committed
                            space-systems equipment and R&D to facilities and   to connecting with, but she shared with BEQ Pride
                            logistics to custodial and food services. This range   that making inroads with this community has pre-
                            of procured services amounts to 80% of NASA’s $25   sented unique challenges, particularly the seeming
                            billion budget, and BEQ Pride had the opportunity
                                                                       invisibility of LGBTQ+ talent:

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