Astronaut, Pilot, Physician, Inventor, and Everest Climber
Dr. Scott Parazynski is a highly decorated physician, astronaut, and tech CEO, recently inducted into the US Astronaut Hall of Fame. He is a widely sought after keynote speaker on innovation, risk management, mentorship and leadership under extreme adversity.
Scott has lived and traveled all over the world, spending many of his grade school years in places such as Senegal, Lebanon, Iran and Greece. A graduate of Stanford University and Medical School, he went on to train at Harvard and in Denver for a career in emergency medicine and trauma.
In 1992 he was selected to join NASA’s Astronaut Corps and eventually flew 5 Space Shuttle missions and conducted 7 spacewalks. Mission highlights include a global ozone mapping flight; leading the first joint US-Russian spacewalk while docked to the Russian space station Mir; serving as Senator John Glenn’s crewmate and “personal physician”; and assembly of the Canadian-built space station robotic arm.
In October 2007, Scott led the spacewalking team on STS-120, during which he performed 4 extravehicular activities (EVAs). The final EVA is regarded by many as one of the most challenging and dangerous ever performed. The tremendous coordinated effort in orbit and on the ground by Mission Control has been likened to the Space Shuttle and Space Station era’s “Apollo 13 moment.”
In addition to being a diver and accomplished mountaineer, Scott is also a commercial, instrument, multiengine and seaplane-rated pilot. On May 20, 2009, he became the first – and, so far, only – astronaut to stand on top of the world. As a life-long explorer, he and colleague Sam Cossman recently set the first bootprints adjacent the world’s youngest lava lake, inside the crater of Massaya Volcano in Nicaragua.
He is a prolific inventor/product developer, and serves on the Boards of several companies. He recently founded Apogee Interests to commercialize his extensive innovation portfolio, including medical devices, consumer products and gear developed for extreme environments. He is Founder and CEO of Fluidity Technologies, focused on the development of revolutionary input devices powered by machine learning to intuitively move through physical and virtual space.
Scott has delivered hundreds of major keynotes to audiences all over the world, on topics ranging from innovation, leadership in extreme environments, risk management, mentorship and perseverance. He’s also inspired students, from pre-K to post-doctoral fellows, and given Grand Rounds at some of the world’s most prestigious medical schools and hospitals.
Managing Risk vs. "Taking Risk"
Scott has zoomed down luge tracks at breakneck speeds, flown high performance supersonic aircraft, walked in space at considerable peril, summited Mount Everest after rupturing a lumbar disc on his first attempt, performed a scientific dive in the world's highest lake and faced myriad other technical challenges in the planet's most extreme environments—but he is no daredevil. He prepares for work in these challenging realms by exhaustive study, training, previsualization (of success as well as overcoming obstacles) and having a backup to the backup plan. Knowing how complex systems work and how they might fail is one of many skills in his toolkit, and his lessons learned are imminently relatable to all industries. An approachable storyteller, he warmly shares his experiences in a way that leaves audiences knowing they can translate them into their own lives.
The Opportunity and The Obligation to Innovate
The Requisite Innovator's Mindset: Open-mindedness and the relentless hunt for problems that need to be fixed. For a company to be truly disruptive and grow, it must create an environment wherein every employee is not only allowed to contribute to the advancement of the mission, they feel a deep-seated Obligation to Innovate. That's the kind of environment and work ethic Scott has spent a lifetime advancing: from developing tools and techniques to recover from the Space Shuttle Columbia accident to developing innovative medical devices and enhancing safety on the slopes of the world's highest mountains, he draws on his background working in extreme environments as a catalyst for innovation in daily life. He can transfer this mindset to your workforce with powerful examples from aerospace, medicine, mountaineering and everyday life with engaging, relatable stories and good humor!
The Road Less Traveled: Finding Your Way Towards Really Making a Difference
Dr. Parazynski has spoken all over the world about the rigors, risks and rewards of exploration in extreme environments, deriving important lessons in teamwork, risk management and leadership under the most demanding circumstances, on or off the planet. He derives lessons from an international upbringing in war-torn Beirut and Tehran, from those who inspired him to pursue his passions, and from "the view from the top of the planet," which he attained via rocket as well as on foot... As he says, "Life's greatest lessons come from outside the classroom"—based on the people we meet, the experiences we pursue, and having an openness to new challenges. Through perseverance, rigorous preparation and a willingness to fail every once and awhile, enormous rewards often ensue... He shares his path through life with stunning imagery, good humor and relatable anecdotes. Your employees will see their own pathways towards making a difference!
Murphy's Law on the Final Frontier: you'd better be prepared!
Dr. Parazynski has spoken all over the world about the rigors, risks and rewards of exploration in extreme environments, deriving important lessons in teamwork, risk management and leadership under the most demanding circumstances, on or off the planet. He derives lessons from a wide range of spaceflight missions and mountaineering expeditions where in-depth preparation saved the day, and often much more. A focused approach to preparation for critical tasks leads to success, even if via unforseen "detours."
Leadership Under Extreme Adversity, on and off the Planet
Scott has brought diverse teams together, challenging enormous odds on, well above and underneath the earth's surface. Drawing on his lessons learned from the harsh vacuum of space, the route to the summit of Everest, and within tense operating rooms and board rooms, he relates attributes of situationally appropriate leadership and company culture that have yielded enormous successes over many years. Punctuated by great storytelling, breathtaking imagery and a self deprecating good humor, his style is relatable and inspirational to all audiences!
Innovation and the Silver Lining of the Pandemic
All Scott Parazynski Books
The Sky Below: A True Story of Summits, Space, and SpeedPurchase Book
"Your experiences as a NASA astronaut and adventurer gave our business audience a fresh perspective on the "No Guts, No Glory" conference theme and helped set the positive tone for the rest of the event. Our goal was to provide participants with new strategies and avenues for success in a changing economy, and your talk helped us achieve the right collective mindset to start things off."
- Outsell, Inc. | CEO
"Please find enclosed a letter from our students which I think encapsulates how we all felt about your visit. ... perhaps one of the most inspiring hours we have ever had."
- Leckford Place School, Oxford, UK | Head of School
"A real-life adventurer, Scott Parazynski M.D. took the audience on a journey to the top of the Earth and beyond through his stories and magnificent photographs. On a night for Special Olympics Texas to take a look through time and marvel at 40 years of memories, Scott Parazynski demonstrated that he too shares the belief that no dream is too big and anything is possible."
- Texas Special Olympics | President and CEO