Students in Emerge gathered in the Beard-Eaves-Memorial Collesium for speaker of the month, Auburn alumna Rachel Moss, to give her lecture Thursday evening.
Moss graduated in 1996 with a degree in industrial and systems engineering. Moss later returned to complete her executive MBA, earning her degree in 2011.
Since graduating, Moss has worked many jobs serving in a number of positions. When starting out, Moss accepted a job at Lockheed Martin working on microwave electronics for the F-22 fighter jet.
Moss made her way up to senior leadership within multiple organizations both in the United States and in other countries, including CEO, president and majority owner of a small business that supported the U.S military rotorcraft.
Today, Moss works as a self-employed business consultant out of Huntsville, where she provides expertise to small and medium-sized businesses.
Moss is one of the founding members of 100+ Women Strong, a program at Auburn that’s designed to recruit, retain and reward females in engineering at Auburn University.
The main idea presented to the students during this speaker series was innovation. Moss spoke passionately about this concept as she explained how she believed there was more to innovation than what most people think.
“Typically, when you think of innovation, you think of technology, Moss said. "Innovation means a lot of different things to a lot of different people."
Moss presented several points labeling them as the characteristics of innovation. These points included boldness and courage, curiosity and passion, vulnerability, “fear is a liar” and failure resilience.
To emphasize her first point of boldness and courage, Moss shared a story about a time she jumped out of an airplane highlighting the idea of calculated risks.
“What are the calculated risks?” Moss said. "It’s important in boldness and courage that we weigh risks.”
For the concept of curiosity and passion, Moss talked about the importance of education and continuing to grow as people.
“If we aren’t growing, we become stale," Moss said. "It’s important to constantly learn new things."
Moss struck a chord with her audience when she talked about vulnerability, mentioning how most people perceive the concept as a weakness. Moss said vulnerability is a sign of strength.
“A person who can express who they are is really strong," Moss said.
"Fear is a liar” is a phrase Moss resonated with after seeing it on a T-shirt. Moss retold how once when she was on vacation she went on a shark dive, even though she was afraid of sharks. She said her being afraid of sharks was exactly the reason she did that.
Moss said she wasn’t going to let the fear control her.
The last point Moss discussed was the idea of failure resilience. While eventually, everyone will fail, Moss said it’s what people do with that failure that matters.
“I have failed at relationships, work, school and myself sometimes," Moss said. "It’s easy to want to curl up and wallow."
Moss said you can not wallow and encouraged her audience to get up and keep going.
Moss left the audience with some final words of wisdom, “You guys can lead the innovation, inspire innovation, be innovation.”