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WIA's 2020 Leadership Award Winner

Press Release From: Women in Aerospace (WIA)
Posted: Friday, December 11, 2020

Kathryn Lueders, NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C., is recognized for her unprecedented vision and unparalleled leadership that has enabled others to succeed in a new era of space exploration with public-private partnerships.
Kathryn Lueders serves as NASA’s Associate Administrator of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, the first ever female to hold this significant role. She has earned the reputation as being the driving force in the success and growth of the U.S. commercial space sector by advancing U.S. leadership in the generation of new markets and innovation-driven entrepreneurship. 

Ms. Lueders has demonstrated unprecedented vision and unparalleled results-driven leadership in enabling others to succeed while establishing a new era of commercially-owned space exploration. Her leadership as manager of the commercial cargo and crew initiative over the last 12 years set a new bar in demonstrated leadership that is committed to professional growth and dedicated to the advancement of others, in industry and in government. Ms. Lueders exceeded all expectations for achieving results with high-quality outcomes.

With no precedent to draw upon, Ms. Lueders exhibited extraordinary vision, creativity, and drive in leading cross-organizational teams to develop, manage, and execute both NASA’s first two Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) projects to the ISS, as well as lead NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP), the Agency’s flagship program to facilitate the development of an American private industry crew space transportation capability, to much success. Her professional growth has taken her from integration management to program management and now to leading the U.S. Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, and still throughout this incredible journey, Ms. Lueders has devoted countless hours toward cultivating the development of women in aerospace, paving the way for generations to come.

Her leadership capabilities are well recognized at NASA not only for achieving success in the various programs she led, but also by challenging NASA’s existing practices and status quo policies by introducing an entirely new way of enhancing team cohesion, streamlining human resources efficiencies, and improving morale. She also led the effort to raise awareness for and encouragement of innovation and inclusion strategies to improve employee development and selection among her leadership team.

As a role model and mentor for women by advising them on career growth, recommending them for highly visible development opportunities, and by sharing her personal journey, Ms. Lueders continues to do her part in advancing others, reflecting on the importance of diversity within the program and her leadership team, which boasts a record high 53% women and minorities. Ms. Lueders is a true space pioneer who has advanced the innovation and collaboration in the aerospace field through an intentional emphasis on effective leadership. She has championed the advancement of space access and established inclusive policies to build trust and cooperation amongst nations and build bridges between private companies and public organizations. 

Women in Aerospace could not be more pleased to acknowledge Ms. Kathryn Lueders as the 
2020 Leadership Award recipient.

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