Chris Hadfield – Keynote Speaker

Astronaut, Business Leader, Tech Entrepreneur, Bestselling Author

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Specialist Subjects

  • Extreme Leadership
  • Preparing for the Unexpected: How to Manage Through Complexity and Change
  • The Business of Space
  • Stories Behind "The Apollo Murders"
  • STEM
  • A Musical Evening with Chris Hadfield


  • English


Colonel Chris Hadfield is an astronaut, business leader, hi-tech entrepreneur, five-time bestselling author, and global speaker on leadership, change, and managing life. Having commanded the International Space Station and directed companies, he has deep experience with best practices and tactics on guiding teams through extreme circumstances of complexity and change, while also recognizing the importance of sharing the marvels and wonders of science and spaceflight.

Formerly NASA’s Director of Operations in Russia, Hadfield spent more than three decades serving the military, NASA, and the Canadian Space Agency. Throughout his distinguished career, he been a fighter/test pilot, flown three space missions, built two space stations, performed two spacewalks, crewed the Shuttle and Soyuz, and commanded the International Space Station. His many awards include the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Cross (twice), and the Order of Canada.

Today, Hadfield serves as a director and advisor to multiple tech companies, including SpaceX and Virgin Galactic. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Waterloo, chair of the Open Lunar Foundation, and is assisting King Charles III with space business practices for the Sustainable Markets Initiative. Hadfield also co-founded the Space Stream at the Creative Destruction Lab tech incubator, which has created $1.6B of new business equity value in the past five years.

Hadfield’s keynote presentations have been called “an astonishing display of visual storytelling” by Harvard Business Review, and his TED talk, “What I Learned from Going Blind in Space”, has been viewed over 20 million times. He is frequently featured on national and global media outlets, has taught a MasterClass, and is the co-creator and host of the internationally acclaimed BBC series, Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes? as well as co-host of National Geographic’s One Strange Rock documentary series.

Hadfield is the author of five internationally bestselling books: two non-fiction, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth and You Are Here; a children’s book, The Darkest Dark, which has been adapted as an award-winning stage play for young audiences; and two fiction books, The Defector and The Apollo Murders, now under contract to become a television series. A musician, Hadfield has also released an album called Space Sessions: Songs from a Tin Can. It is the first album to be recorded in space and includes the video version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” that has been seen over 50 million times.

Popular Talks by Chris Hadfield

Extreme Leadership

Commanding a spaceship takes superb leadership. The vehicle is complex, the team is international, the crew is on their own, and the stakes are at their highest — huge financial consequences and perpetual life or death situations.

Only one Canadian has ever held that command — Colonel Chris Hadfield. Through his 25 years spent in the Royal Canadian Air Force and 21 years with the Canadian Space Agency and NASA, he has developed and honed leadership theories and practices that have taken him to the very top.

A uniquely experienced leader, Hadfield will help your team lead more effectively. He combines fundamental leadership theories and original insights with examples from his own experiences as a US Navy top test pilot, NASA’s Director of Operations in Russia, NASA Astronaut Chief of Space Station Operations, and as a Commander of the International Space Station.

Preparing for the Unexpected: How to Manage Through Complexity and Change

Being a commander of a spaceship means facing the highest of stakes — human lives, irreplaceable and expensive equipment, and worldwide scrutiny.

Colonel Chris Hadfield commanded the International Space Station for six months off planet, and is experienced in managing people, complexity, and change under extreme circumstances. Surrounded by life-threatening risk, his daily routine was to prepare for and solve worst-case scenarios, from both a team and leadership perspective, while cultivating an optimistic and positive work environment.

Hadfield draws from his experiences and lessons learned during his 21 years in the astronaut corps to share the best strategies and tactics to help individuals, teams, and leaders prepare for and meet the challenges of our rapidly changing world.

Key topics include:
– Learning how to be comfortable with ambiguity and approach it with curiosity and possibility.
– How to best manage stress and lead under pressure.
– How to build resilient teams and encourage collaboration amongst diverse teams.

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