Managing Change: An Essential Skill for Every Leader


Tuesday, April 23, 2019, 12:00pm to 1:00pm


Harvard Kennedy School, Littauer 382 (Kahn Classroom)

Ellen OchoaManaging change is one of the foremost challenges to leaders of organizations large and small, across every sector. Drawing on her experience as director of a major NASA field center, veteran astronaut Dr. Ellen Ochoa will describe the essential skills necessary to prepare employees for change, strategically implement new policies and procedures, and sustain the health of an organization after implementation is complete.


Dr. Ellen Ochoa was the 11th director of Johnson Space Center from 2013-2018. She will be joined in conversation by moderator Myrish Antonio, director of Fellowship and Leadership Development programs at the Center for Public Leadership.




This event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided.


Ellen Ochoa is an outside director and speaker, following her 30-year career at NASA as a senior government executive, astronaut and engineer. She was the Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center from 2013 to 2018, leading the human space flight enterprise for the nation. She became the first Hispanic woman to go to space when she served on a nine-day mission aboard the shuttle Discovery in 1993. She has flown in space four times, logging nearly 1,000 hours, leading onboard scientific activities, operating the robotic arm, and serving as flight engineer during the launch, rendezvous, and entry phases of the mission. She has shared her experiences in more than 300 presentations to a variety of audiences. She is honored to have six schools named after her, several books written about her for the K-8 grades and has been profiled in textbooks and on websites geared toward encouraging females and minorities to pursue technical fields.

Dr. Ochoa provides executive guidance to a variety of organizations. She is the Vice Chair of the National Science Board and chairs the Nomination Evaluation Committee of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. She is on the boards of Service Corporation International, Mutual of America and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Previously, she served on the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas board (after chairing the Houston branch board), the Stanford University Board of Trustees and the Manned Space Flight Education Foundation, Inc.

Dr. Ochoa is the recipient of many awards including NASA's highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Presidential Distinguished Rank of the Senior Executive Service, and three honorary doctorates. She is in the Astronaut Hall of Fame, the California Hall of Fame and the International Air & Space Hall of Fame and is honored to have six school named after her.

Prior to her astronaut and management career, Dr. Ochoa was a research engineer and holds three patents for optical systems. She earned a Ph.D. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford, and a B.S. in Physics from San Diego State University. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), and the Optical Society of America (OSA).