January 31, 2024, Mountain View, CA -- The SETI Institute announced the addition of Elizebeth Varghese and Erik Charlton to its Board of Trustees following their election on January 19, 2024. Industry leaders acknowledge Varghese for her expertise in business strategy, board direction, and executive leadership advisory. At the same time, Charlton brings a wealth of experience from his 25-year career in company leadership and team management in product and marketing domains. The SETI Institute's board actively steers its strategic direction and financial stability and oversees various committees dedicated to governance, fundraising, brand management, and technology IP. Varghese and Charlton will commence their board roles with a one-year tenure, after which they can serve indefinitely renewable three-year terms.
“Elizebeth and Erik bring outstanding new backgrounds, skills and experience to the SETI Institute’s existing board of world-class leaders in technology, academia, investment and entrepreneurship,” said CEO, Bill Diamond, “They enhance and strengthen our board at a critical time where we are expanding education and research programs and developing a more global presence.”
Elizebeth Varghese is a distinguished figure in emerging technologies, known for her work in artificial intelligence, blockchain, and robotics. She holds leadership positions in prominent organizations such as the Columbia Business School Women's Circle and plays a pivotal role as Co-Chair of the Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Technology committee. Varghese has earned acclaim as a "Space Philosopher," blending her technological insights with crucial considerations for economic, diplomatic, and ethical standards in space exploration. Her professional portfolio includes serving as the lead Partner/Principal for Deloitte's Space Economy Acceleration Practice and spearheading Workforce Strategies for Finance and Technology Talent. Varghese's academic credentials are equally impressive, with MBAs from Columbia Business School and the London Business School, a master’s degree from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, and a Bachelor's in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Mumbai. She resides in New York City with her family and their pet, Chutney.
Erik Charlton's journey began in Dallas, Texas, where his curiosity led him to pursue a diverse educational path, including bachelor's degrees in engineering and psychology from Stanford University, a master’s in management as a Sloan Fellow from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and an MS from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He is an active member of the B612 and Rocket Mavericks communities and holds an L3 certification in High Power Rocketry. Several significant roles mark Charlton's professional life, including being a foundational team member at Nest Labs and holding leadership positions at Logitech and Noon Home. Early mentorships with influential figures like Nigel Carr, David Kelly, and Kenji Ekuwan shape his unique approach to work.
“I’m very pleased to welcome Elizebeth and Erik to the board of trustees. Their unique skills and perspectives are a great addition to an already exceptional team as we celebrate our 40th anniversary and chart our course for the future,” said Dan Lankford, Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
The SETI Institute, established in 1984, is a renowned non-profit entity dedicated to exploring and understanding life and intelligence in the universe. It collaborates closely with industry, academic, and government partners, including NASA and the National Science Foundation, to conduct multidisciplinary research.
The SETI Institute's board will next meet in April 2024.