AIAA Leadership Symposium: Thought Leadership for the Institute in the 21st Century

In This Section

Leadership Symposium
4–6 May 2021

Leadership is the backbone of our organization. This is your opportunity to learn how to become the type of leader that will ensure the Institute’s continued success for years to come! Each day includes two-hour sessions featuring speakers who are experts in their field. Discover how to increase collaboration across divisions and committees, share Institute best practices, network with fellow industry professionals, and more!

Register Now


Day 1: Working as One Institute
4 May 1600–1800 hrs EST

Welcoming Remarks

peter-montgomery-nasaPeter Montgomery, Chair, AIAA Talent and Leadership Development Committee; Director of Commercialization, Test & Operations Support Contract, Kennedy Space Center, Jacobs


Keynote Presentation: Institute Strategic Direction
Basil-Hassan-RoundedBasil Hassan, AIAA President; Director and Deputy Chief Research Officer, Sandia National Laboratories

Dan-DumbacherDan Dumbacher, AIAA Executive Director



Breakout Sessions
Attendees will be randomly assigned to two breakout sessions from the list below.

  • Session 1: The Importance of Diversity in the Three R’s: Recruitment, Retention, and Representation to Improve Diversity
    Cedric-Mann-Photo-02172021Cedric Mann, Senior Consulting Engineer Systems Architect, Northrop Grumman Corporation
    In coordination with Claudine Phaire and Karen Thomas, AIAA Diversity and Inclusion Working Group

    This discussion will highlight critical steps an organization can take to attract, cultivate and maximize diverse talent.


  • Session 2: Transformation of AIAA Events – Lesson Learned from 2020 ASCEND 
    Rob-Meyerson-roundedRob Meyerson, ASCEND Executive Producer; Founder and CEO, Delalune Space
    In coordination with Nathan Boll, ASCEND Program Executive

    ASCEND is AIAA’s new platform for accelerating the development of an off-world future. Join Rob Meyerson as he shares experiences and lessons learned from the inaugural year.

  • Session 3: Advocating with One Voice
    Lynn-WilliamsLynn Williams, Director, Acquisition Policy, The Boeing Company
    In coordination with Tim Dominick and Steve Sidorek, AIAA Public Policy Committee

    Learn about the important role advocacy plays in the development of public policy in the aerospace industry and ways that members and the Institute can proactively work with legislators to help achieve shared objectives.

  • Session 4: Engaging Aerospace YPs
    Tyler-Miles-PhotoTyler Miles, Systems Engineer, Lockheed Martin Space

    Clark,-Patrick_2019_01_HeadshotPatrick Clark, Senior Conceptual Design Engineer, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Advanced Development Programs
    In coordination with Tejas Puranik and Michael Lagana, AIAA Young Professionals Group

    Discuss lessons learned and best practices for engaging young professionals (YPs) in AIAA activities within a large industry corporation. Attention will be also given to comparing and contrasting a grassroots/bottoms up approach vs leadership-driven/top-down approach to engaging YPs.

Closing Remarks
Basil-Hassan-RoundedBasil Hassan, AIAA President; Director and Deputy Chief Research Officer, Sandia National Laboratories

Dan-DumbacherDan Dumbacher, AIAA Executive Director



Day 1 Wrap-Up Discussion
peter-montgomery-nasaPeter Montgomery, Chair, AIAA Talent and Leadership Development Committee; Director of Commercialization, Test & Operations Support Contract, Kennedy Space Center, Jacobs



Day 2: Increasing Complexity of Leadership
5 May 1600–1800 hrs EST

Welcoming Remarks
peter-montgomery-nasaPeter Montgomery, Chair, AIAA Talent and Leadership Development Committee; Director of Commercialization, Test & Operations Support Contract, Kennedy Space Center, Jacobs



Keynote Presentation: Systems and Interdisciplinary Engineering - Building on the Foundation of Technical Disciplines
Karen-Willcox-roundedKaren Willcox, AIAA Board of Trustees; Director, Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, University of Texas at Austin

Dan-DumbacherDan Dumbacher, AIAA Executive Director



Breakout Sessions
Attendees will be randomly assigned to two breakout sessions from the list below.

  • Session 1: Leading During Adversity
    William-Parsons-roundedWilliam Parsons, Associate Program Manager, Test & Operations Support Contract, Kennedy Space Center, Jacobs

    This session will look at leadership lessons learned during the Return to Flight, after the Columbia tragedy, and recovery after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina at two NASA centers, Stennis Space Center and Michoud Assembly Facility.

  • Session 2: Cybersecurity for Aerospace Leadership
    O.-Sami-Saydjari-PhotoSami Saydjari, Founder and CEO, Cyber Defense Agency
    In coordination with Steve Lee, AIAA Cybersecurity Working Group

    How bad can bad get for cyberattacks? Isn't this just stuff the IT nerds should just handle for me? Within the past two decades, cybersecurity has gone from an esoteric topic for computer scientists to an existential risk deserving the attention of top leadership. The goal isn’t to turn every director, general, or chief executive officer into a cybersecurity engineer, but they must at least attain a level of knowledge allowing them to ask the right questions, make the best investment choices, and intelligently participate in the hard decisions as operational attack scenarios unfold. Learn about what you need to know and what to teach your bosses.

  • Session 3: Leading a Multidiscipline Team in the Successful Redeployment of an Entire Program with a Focus oN People First
    Monica-Calcott-PhotoMonica Calcott, PGS Division, Strategic Execution, Northrop Grumman Space Systems

    Learn how to successfully lead a multidiscipline team (engineering, HR, PMO, business management, etc.) with a focused objective of redeploying an entire program team of 250 people to other parts of Northrop Grumman – truly a successful "team effort."

  • Session 4: Tech Advances in the Digital Transformation Era 
    Wallis-Laughrey-2020-headshot-approvedWallis Laughrey, Vice President and Chief Transformation Officer, Raytheon Intelligence & Space

    We’re in a world where rapid design and development of new solutions is required to stay ahead of emerging and rapidly changing threats. Key to our success is our ability to transform our approach to doing business in this digital transformation era, taking advantage of technology advances like digital engineering.

Closing Remarks
Karen-Willcox-roundedKaren Willcox, AIAA Board of Trustees; Director, Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, University of Texas at Austin

Dan-DumbacherDan Dumbacher, AIAA Executive Director



Day 2 Wrap-Up Discussion
peter-montgomery-nasaPeter Montgomery, Chair, AIAA Talent and Leadership Development Committee; Director of Commercialization, Test & Operations Support Contract, Kennedy Space Center, Jacobs



Day 3: Leadership Best Practices
6 May 1600–1800 hrs EST

Welcoming Remarks
peter-montgomery-nasaPeter Montgomery, Chair, AIAA Talent and Leadership Development Committee; Director of Commercialization, Test & Operations Support Contract, Kennedy Space Center, Jacobs


Keynote Presentation: Sharing of Best Practices to Encourage Collaboration and Cooperation to Achieve Success
kate_stambaugh_headshotKate Stambaugh, AIAA Talent and Leadership Development Committee; Senior Principal Systems Engineer, Space Sector, Northrop Grumman


Merrie-Scott-RoundedMerrie Scott, Vice President, Community and Partnership Engagement, AIAA



Breakout Sessions
Attendees will be randomly assigned to two breakout sessions from the list below.

  • Session 1: You’re Invited to the Diversity and Inclusion Party: Let’s Dance!
    Claudine-Phaire-PhotoClaudine Phaire, Incoming Chair, AIAA Diversity & Inclusion Working Group; Principal Systems Engineer, Lockheed Martin
    In coordination with Karen Thomas, AIAA Diversity and Inclusion Working Group

  • Session 2: Moving the Aerospace Community Forward Through Outcome-Driven Leadership
    Scott-Kordella-PhotoScott Kordella, Senior Advisor for Space Programs, The MITRE Corporation

    Lesley-WeitzLesley Weitz, Principal Systems Engineer, The MITRE Corporation
    In coordination with Mike Gazarik and Vickie Singer, AIAA Corporate Membership Strategic Advisory Committee

    This session will propose a top-down, outcome-driven approach for the AIAA community to tackle big, interdisciplinary challenges that span a range of stakeholders across AIAA’s membership in government, industry, and academia. AIAA leaders can use outcomes to purposefully drive activities such as plenaries and panel discussions at forums, workshops, policy papers, standards, and publications. The speakers will illustrate the outcome-driven approach using a real-world example addressing information-sharing and cybersecurity challenges in space.

  • Session 3: Digital Transformation
    annika-rollockAnnika Rollock, University of Colorado, Boulder; WOAA Professional Development Subcommittee Lead



    Austin-Braun-photoAustin Braun, Social Media Strategist, College of Engineering & Applied Science, University of Colorado Boulder
    In coordination with Ioana Dietsch and Rebecca Gray, AIAA Marketing and Communications

    Over the past year, companies, organizations and brands alike faced a new challenge: adapt to a rapidly digitized world or be left behind. This session will discuss the comprehensive strategies for effectively utilizing digital and social communications, lessons from digital events, and the tools you can utilize to keep your audience and stakeholders — whether employees, organizers, or students — engaged.

  • Session 4: Setting a Vision, Strategy, & Facilitating Discussions for Implementation
    peter-montgomery-nasaPeter Montgomery, Chair, AIAA Talent and Leadership Development Committee; Director of Commercialization, Test & Operations Support Contract, Kennedy Space Center, Jacobs

    This session will highlight the key steps an organization can take to set a vision, develop a strategy for achieving their goals, and facilitate the key discussions necessary for alignment of the organization behind this direction. Best practices from decades of active participation and leadership in AIAA and a career in the aerospace industry will be shared.

Closing Remarks
kate_stambaugh_headshotKate Stambaugh, AIAA Talent and Leadership Development Committee; Senior Principal Systems Engineer, Space Sector, Northrop Grumman



Merrie-Scott-RoundedMerrie Scott, Vice President, Community and Partnership Engagement, AIAA



Day 3 Wrap-Up Discussion
peter-montgomery-nasaPeter Montgomery, Chair, AIAA Talent and Leadership Development Committee; Director of Commercialization, Test & Operations Support Contract, Kennedy Space Center, Jacobs