Sonja Mayer

Head of Business Development | Orbital Oracle Technologies GmbH
Nominated in the Category: Innovation

Short description of the company

OroraTech is an early-stage start-up located in the heart of Munich and is eager to become the first global wildfire detection and monitoring service from space. We are a team of 23 people tackling one important problem – and that’s wildfires! Wildfires are still a huge worldwide challenge: the detection process is still often way too slow. In larger areas, such as forests in Russia or Canada, it can take several hours up to an entire day until wildfires are noticed.

Fuelled by rising global temperatures, wildfires have become frequent, catastrophic, expensive, and difficult to contain. In Europe, the wildfire season has been prolonged to over five months with fires escalating very quickly. Preventing wildfires is nearly impossible since the causes are unpredictable. Local authorities and firefighters require a precise and fast warning system to combat the fires as early as possible.

We at OroraTech have found a solution to this ever-growing problem: Our cutting-edge technology dramatically shortens and automates the wildfire detection process. We offer a wildfire detection service based on global infrared imaging. How is this possible? OroraTech has developed a patented nanosatellite – the size of a shoebox – equipped with a patent-pending infrared sensor. We are building these nanosatellites ourselves and bringing, not only 1, but 100 of them up into the so-called low-earth-orbit. With this constellation of nanosatellites, we can track every point on earth, every 30 minutes with a very high resolution and offer fast alerts to first responders around the globe.

How does digitization shape your/her career?

Digitization shaped my career from the very beginning: When I grew up as a working-class child, it was through the internet that I’ve gained access to any useful information concerning study opportunities and scholarship programs. That’s how I’ve got inspired to study and fulfill my career dreams. For many people, digitization, digitalization, and digital transformation often appear to be nothing more than just buzz words. I’m passionate about turning these buzz words into tangible MVPs and specific implementation concepts.

Before joining OroraTech, I worked as a Management Consultant at Capgemini Invent, helping clients master the digital transformation across organizations. Therefore, my main strengths lie in the field of change management and coaching. As Head of Business Development at OroraTech I’m still contributing these personal strengths by understanding, networking, communicating and mediating between our technology experts and clients from the old economy. It is my main goal to find ways to empower humanity through our innovative technology and help international clients envisioning the change our innovation can bring them. Drawn from my experience, digital transformations do not only require the ultimate technology but even more important, they call for a mindset change.

What makes you/her a digital female leader?

‘Digital’: During my daily work, digitization and innovation are key: not just our ways of working are supported by digital and agile methods and tools, but so are our product and service themselves.

‘Female’: As I’m the only female FTE within the company, I would love to have more women on the team. However, it is still quite challenging to find women who feel confident to work in a traditionally male-dominated industry such as the NewSpace sector. My main message is: You don’t need to be a hardcore-techie or understand every line of code to participate in digitization. It only demands curiosity, a willingness to lifelong learning and an unconditional drive to bring in own ideas and individual strengths within this process.

‘Leader’: Even though I’m proud of the digital and technical expertise that I’ve acquired so far, it’s not the knowledge or any hard skill that makes me a leader. I’m leading by communicating our futuristic company vision of a globally automated wildfire system daily being confident that we - as a team - can turn this idea into a real-world success story. I always empower my team to work by an innovation culture of failure which is essential for testing ideas that may not seem very likely at first but are still feasible. Failure is necessary to create the unlikely - if you don't try something unlikely, you will never do it.

What does leadership mean to you/her?

For me, leaders are people with the capacity to translate a vision into reality and to communicate this vision not just by words but rather by action and example.

Contact me on:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/sonja-mayer/
https://www.xing.com/profile/Sonja_Mayer19/
https://www.facebook.com/sonja.mayer
https://www.instagram.com/sonjavictoriamuc/

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