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Spotlight Series: Daria ‘Dasha’ Filichkina, COO, AstroAgency

Dasha Filichkina

ARTICLE SUMMARY

Dasha, COO at AstroAgency, shares her journey from a break after working in an orbital launch company to leading operations at the world's first strategic space marketing firm. With a background in marketing and a unique knowledge of the space industry, she emphasizes the diverse roles available, challenges in a male-dominated sector, and the importance of self-awareness for women aspiring in technology.

Dasha is Chief Operations Officer at AstroAgency.

She oversees all internal processes to support more than 50 private space companies and several government agencies globally with strategic communications and space sector guidance. Before joining AstroAgency, Ukrainian entrepreneur Dasha held various roles in the space sector, including Business Development Manager and Delivery Manager for a UK orbital launch company.

How did you land your current role? Was it planned? 

I had been working for an orbital launch vehicle developer – a rocket company – before taking a break to give birth to my son. When the time came to return to work, I realised that my knowledge of the commercial space sector, particularly in the UK and Europe, was something still fairly unique for people with my marketing skillset. The opportunity to join AstroAgency, the world’s first full service strategic space marketing company that’s completely dedicated to the space industry, was a great fit. I knew two of the C-Level team and was offered the chance to lead all operations for the company and haven’t looked back!

What are the key roles in your field of work, and why did you choose your current expertise? 

I think we’re quite unusual in the industry that we’re in, because we’re a collection of creative communicators with experience in working for space firms. We have technical knowledge across the value chain (from satellite manufacture and launch to downstream space data analytics) and we’re supported by a technical team for the development of more complex messaging. There is a perception that in space everyone must be scientists or engineers, but we’re doing our best to show that no matter what your skillset is, there’s a place for you in the fast-growing space industry.

Did you (or do you) have a role model in tech or business in general?

I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart and so leading operations for a start-up space company is ideal for me. There are many business leaders that I’ve looked up to, but I haven’t anchored myself to a single role model. Instead, I find myself deeply inspired by the collective process of innovation and execution across the industry. It’s the way ideas are transformed from mere concepts into tangible, impactful realities that truly captivates me. This transformation process, I believe, is one of the most challenging yet rewarding aspects of business. I am particularly inspired by leaders and teams who navigate this path with clarity, agility, and a commitment to their vision.

What are you most proud of in your career, so far? 

I recently received the Sir Arthur Clarke Award for an individual in the space sector from the British Interplanetary Society, a 90 year old organisation. The award was previously won by astronauts and public figures like Sir Patrick Moore and Dallas Campbell, as well as leading technical experts who have achieved incredible things in the space industry. It was an incredible moment for me and I’m told the fifty judges were inspired by my ability to lead the team, support the company that serves the space sector while escaping the invasion in Ukraine with my mum, son and little dog, driving across Europe to Scotland not knowing if I’d see my husband or father again. The truth is, work was the one normal thing I had left, and the job kept me positive and focused during that difficult few months of settling and resettling. We’re still not home almost two years later of course. But that award and what it represented after working in the sector for so long was special.

What does an average work day look like for you? 

When you work for a young company that supports such a wide range of international space companies (and governmental agencies) doing the most innovative things, you’re kept on your toes! The only thing I know each day is that I’ll be busy!

Are there any specific skills or traits that you notice companies look for when you’re searching for roles in your field?

It really depends if the person looking for a role is supporting a technical department, as there are of course many roles for engineers and scientists in space, or a business dept; business development, sales, marketing, recruitment. There’s also great opportunities in space around sustainability, EDI, law and other important areas that are needed for the commercial space sector to grow.

Has anyone ever tried to stop you from learning and developing in your professional life, or have you found the tech sector supportive? 

Although the industry remains male dominated, AstroAgency is a female majority company. I think I’m fortunate to have always worked in the UK sector as there is a great deal of diversity there. In Scotland, it’s not unusual to attend a space event and see all-female panels. I’m surrounded by fantastic female leaders here at AstroAgency and we work with some amazing women; Hina Khan at Space Scotland, Karen Wilson and Sharon Pryde at Scottish Enterprise, Kristina Tamane at the University of Edinburgh, the incredible all-female marketing team at Spire Space Services, Emeline Bardoux at Euroconsult, Professor Suzie Imber on our advisory board, Portia Bircher at the UK Space Agency, the list goes on and on.

I occasionally present to young women and girls to tell them about my experiences in space and I was fortunate to be invited to give a talk on stage during School’s Day at New Scientist Live this year. I also mentor young women in the industry, so it’s very important of me to help women where they do find blockers.

Have you ever faced insecurities and anxieties during your career, and how did you overcome them?

As a young mother responsible for the growth and daily operations of a unique start up in the space sector with no technical qualifications as such, there are moments I think. But I know that I have a strong team behind me, people I can turn to and the experience of working in launch for years, from my early twenties. When I have challenges, the first person I do is reach out to my business partner, Daniel, who I’ve worked with for seven years at two different companies, so having that reciprocal sounding board is part of the reason we’ve been able to grow to 60 clients in less than four years.

Entering the world of work can be daunting. Do you have any words of advice for anyone feeling overwhelmed? 

Don’t be scared to speak to people. Watch videos, research, find inspiration. And reach out to those who are doing the things you’ll be doing, we always think we are bothering people when we ask for a few minutes or their time for advice, but in reality, most people enjoy being asked to provide support. We were all in the same shoes once and it’s good to look back and share experiences with someone who needs it.

What advice would you give other women wanting to reach their career goals in technology? 

If you want to work in a particular industry, then you already belong there. Embrace your imposter syndrome – its normal and healthy, roll up your sleeves and show the world why you deserve to have the career you want. You can do anything you put your mind to, don’t doubt yourself, but develop self-awareness. Developing self-awareness is a continuous journey that can empower you to navigate the industry with confidence and resilience. Share your challenges with people you can trust, whether they work with you or not, and always be ready to spot new opportunities as they can come when least expected.

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