What I Like to talk About

I am a leadership evangelist -- a public speaker and executive consultant focusing on universal leadership challenges like risk management, critical thinking, and leading change.

My passion is showing how any organization can leverage the core ideas and leadership values from Mission Control whether the goal is to strengthen working level decision making and leadership, actively steward a leadership culture, or deliberately engage executives in strategic decision making and change.

From keynote addresses to workshops, typical topics that leverage Mission Control leadership values include:

  • Safety and Risk management
  • Incident Response
  • Critical thinking
  • Difficult decision making
  • Leading change
  • Cultural and leadership stewardship
  • Transforming high-potential technical-leaders into executives
  • Developing a team of leaders into an aligned, high trust leadership team
  • Evolving to a deliberately stewarded, high performing leadership culture
  • Transforming an insular bureaucracy into a collaborative, transparent leadership team
  • Mission Control values and leadership workshop

My Background

Paul Sean Hill spent 25 years in NASA’s iconic Mission Control, learning and living the values he now evangelizes.  After a career leading human spaceflight operations – from the Mission Control Room to the executive level – he offers a candid and passionate insider’s look at the leadership values and culture that have been critical for their “impossible” wins for decades.  

As the executive who is credited with revolutionizing the leadership environment in Mission Control’s management ranks, he can show leaders how to apply the same core ideas and values to their own challenges and boost team performance in any industry and business.  

Beyond the rocket science and leadership theory, he shows how these deliberate values are the enablers in solving “impossible” problems at all levels.  Through his books (Leadership from the Mission Control Room to the Boardroom and Mission Control Management), leadership workshops, and keynote addresses, anyone can learn how Mission Control does it, and more importantly, how to enable a leadership environment that inherently strengthens team performance in in your own organization.  

Paul has inspired leaders across many industries, including:  Shell, Texas A&M University, Google, Citi Group, J.P. Morgan Chase, The Conference Board of Canada, and Texas Education Service Center Regions 15 and 18.  

As NASA’s Director of Mission Operations from 2007 through 2014, Paul was responsible for all aspects of human spaceflight mission planning, training, and Mission Control.  In this role, Paul led a critical leadership transformation, dramatically reduced costs, and increased capability, all while still conducting highly successful missions in space. 

Before this, he held a number of senior leadership positions including Deputy Manager of the Extravehicular Activity Office, Manager of Shuttle Operations, and Deputy Director of Mission Operations.  Paul served as a Space Shuttle and International Space Station Flight Director leading flight preparation and execution from Mission Control for 24 missions from 1996 through 2005, with his final assignment as the Lead Flight Director for the return-to-flight after the Space Shuttle Columbia accident. Prior to NASA, he was a U.S. Air Force Captain and satellite operations officer.

His professional awards include the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive, two NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals, NASA Distinguished Service Medal, NASA Exceptional Service Medal, Rotary National Award for Space Achievement - Stellar Award, and recognition as an Outstanding Aerospace Engineer by the Aerospace Alumni Academy of Texas A&M University.

Paul is a member of the Texas A&M University Aerospace Engineering Advisory Board and the Texas A&M University - Galveston Board of Visitors.  He is also a member of Marshall Goldsmith’s 100 Coaches.

Paul holds Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Aerospace Engineering from Texas A&M University where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets. He lives in League City, Texas where he and his wife raised two extraordinary, Texas Aggie daughters.


Keynote and Workshop Testimonials

Fantastic presentation.  Great insight into such an extraordinary mission.
James Pettigrew, Director of Operations, Ocean Energy Safety Institute (OESI)

Your presentation was excellent – I was talking about it to various coworkers (and my wife) throughout the rest of the day. Your presentation really drove home the importance of orienting the team (and the organization) around a core set of values, and illustrated how that translates into sound decision making logic… Amazing!
Jason Sibre, Vice President, global financial services firm

You delivered an excellent and thought-provoking talk, and you’re the first of all the speakers I’ve seen to receive a set of perfect evaluations.
John Duncan, Community Training Network

Your words were encouraging and inspiring .
Mary E. Barnes-Tilley, Ph.D, Assistant Academic Dean, Blinn College

Hearing your success story gives me hope that business leaders can be enlightened to a better way of operating.
S. Arlene Dilworth, CPA, CTP, President, Total BackOffice Solutions, Inc.

The triathlon of values, their interaction and results and the process to indelibly imprint them into your organization were all incredibly impactful to us.
Dr. Bob DeGroot, President, Sales Training International

Your presentation to the superintendents and educational leaders was excellent and very relevant to any organization, including school districts. The presentation focused on the importance of establishing a core set of values and trust, and how a change in culture transformed NASA. The story was compelling and inspirational.
John R. Thomas, Executive Director, Region 18 Education Service Center


Reviews of Paul's books, Leadership from the Mission Control Room to the Boardroom and the international edition, Mission Control Leadership


Gripping, engaging and hard to put down.  This incredible team’s leadership journey — and development of precise decision-making in the face of unbelievable pressure — are inspiring. Filled with fascinating insights, every leader will find parallels to their own organization.  A must-have for anyone leading a high-performance team and an invaluable addition to any business library.
Marshall Goldsmith, The author of the #1 New York Times bestseller – Triggers

What can your team learn from top tier leaders at NASA Mission Control? Maybe more than you think. In Leadership from the Mission Control Room to the Boardroom, former NASA Flight Director Paul Hill tells the true story of the game-changing transformation of Mission Control’s senior leadership team. Ride along on a journey of evolution as these executives rediscover the core purpose and values that had never left their organization. Hill’s candor and intensity makes this a fascinating read for every leader!
Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The New One Minute Manager® and Leading at a Higher Level

This is an arresting work. Paul Hill offers a view from the inside track. From there, he takes you to the business world outside of NASA, and shows how the principles and values apply in a far larger arena. No leader or manager can fail to benefit from the lessons captured here.
Michael D. Griffin, NASA Administrator, 2005-09 and Schafer Corporation CEO

A stunning ‘instructional manual’ for business executives and leaders who want to learn from the best team on the planet.  For the first time, a leader of the Mission Operations Directorate of NASA shares the hard-won lessons of this world-famous organization and translates them into key principles and examples designed to hone a superior leadership team grounded in integrity and bedrock organizational values. This book, like its author, is one-of-a kind.
Mary Lynne Dittmar, President, Coalition for Deep Space Exploration and former member, Human Spaceflight Committee, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine

This engaging book tells the story of how NASA’s renowned Mission Control evolved into an extraordinary team that directed many of the world’s greatest technical triumphs. Equally important is Paul Hill’s cautionary tale that sustaining excellence may be more difficult than attaining it.  Leaders from every organization will benefit from these vital lessons.
Walter E. Natemeyer, North American Training and Development

Mission Control is the leadership laboratory for those who accept the challenge and the risk of ultimate responsibility for all actions necessary for crew safety and mission success in manned spaceflight. Paul Hill is a select graduate.
Eugene F. Kranz, Former NASA Flight Director and Director of Mission Operations, 1983 – 1994

If you read one book in 2018, please read this one, especially if you have a leadership position and are tasked with leading change!  You CAN create a great team and still achieve cost efficiency by following the strategies and tactics in the book, believe me, it will be worth your while.  Read more…
Patti Blackstaffe, Strategic Sense

Hill is a thought-leader in how to turn around struggling business cultures. His philosophy mixes morality, values and lots of buy-in.  I’ve read my share of be-a-better-leader books; some are a waste of time, others offer a few good tips you can test back at the office. But this one is spot on.  Read more…
Dan Shearer, Editor, Green Valley News/Sahuarita Sun

This narrative shows not only techniques and methods for improving one’s leadership skills, but the journey of discovery that got Hill to those discoveries.  I have lots of leadership and management books on my shelf – this one will probably be the one that gets pulled down more often than any of them.  Read more…
Paul Dye, Editor-in-chief of KITPLANES magazine, former NASA Flight Director

Impressively well written, exceptionally informative, thoroughly ‘reader friendly’ and an inherently engaging read from cover to cover, Leadership from the Mission Control Room to the Boardroom: A Guide to Unleashing Team Performance is unreservedly recommended as a critically important and essential addition to personal, professional, corporate, governmental, community, and academic library business management collections and supplemental studies lists.  Read more…
Midwest Book Review

Leadership from the Mission Control Room to the Boardroom is a great reference for those in charge of organization culture that impacts team performance. It is a management guide for decision making and maintaining a work culture of excellent and reliable performance that NASA Mission Control is known for. The lessons and tips can be applied in a wide area of settings.  Read more…
Jose Maria Delos Santos, ProjectManagement.com

One-part insider’s view to NASA operations, one-part case study, and one-part syllabus for business leaders looking to grow their team. There are definitely business truths in this book and many take-aways for business leaders.  Read more…
Compass Book Ratings


Houston, Texas


Available Upon Request


Paul was the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Director of Mission Operations at the Johnson Space Center from 2007 through 2014. He was responsible for all aspects of NASA’s manned spaceflight mission planning, flight controller and astronaut training, and Mission Control. Paul is credited with revolutionizing the leadership culture, dramatically reducing costs, and increasing capability, all while still conducting missions in space. Before this, Paul held a number of senior leadership positions including Deputy Manager of the Extravehicular Activity Office, Manager of Shuttle Operations, and Deputy Director of Mission Operations. He also served as a Space Shuttle and International Space Station Flight Director from 1996 through 2005, leading the flight control team in flight preparation and execution from Mission Control. He supported 24 missions as a Flight Director with his final assignment as the Lead Shuttle Flight Director for the return-to-flight on STS-114.

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