Dr. Rhea Seddon
About Dr. Rhea Seddon - NASA Astronaut, Medical Doctor, Author and Speaker on Leadership & Teamwork:
A woman of many firsts, Dr. Rhea Seddon was one of only six women in a class of 100 in medical school - and the first woman ever accepted to her General Surgery Residency Program. As one of the first six women accepted into the Astronaut Corps, her marriage to fellow Astronaut Capt. Robert “Hoot” Gibson produced the first astronaut couple - and the two of them produced the first official “astrotots.” She was the eighth woman accepted to the Astronaut Hall of Fame. Besides her space career, Rhea’s life experiences have led her from surgeon to licensed private pilot, to healthcare executive, entrepreneur, business owner, author and now inspirational public speaker.
Dr. Seddon spent 19 years with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In 1978 she was selected as one of the first Astronaut classes to include women. She served as a Mission Specialist on Space Shuttle flights in 1985 and 1991 - and as Payload Commander in charge of all science activities on her final flight in 1993. This brought her total time in space to 30 days.
After leaving NASA in 1997, Dr. Seddon was the Assistant Chief Medical Officer of the Vanderbilt Medical Group in Nashville for 11 years. There she led an initiative to improve patient safety, quality of care, and team effectiveness by the use of an aviation-based model of Crew Resource Management. She then helped to found LifeWings Partners, LLC which teaches this concept to healthcare institutions across the United States.
A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in physiology - Dr. Seddon received her M.D. degree from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis, where she completed her residency in General Surgery.
She was inducted into the Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame in 2005, the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2015 and the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame in 2015. In 2016 she was awarded the National Football Foundation Nashville Chapter’s Fred Russell Distinguished American Award, the Independent Book Publishers Association Ben Franklin Gold Award for Best Autobiography/Memoir Go For Orbit: One of America's First Women Astronauts Finds Her Space and the Athena International Leadership Award (Rutherford County) and a University of Tennessee Centennial Top 100 Alumni Award. She was the co-recipient of the Great American Leadership award - which was presented to her along with her husband Capt. Robert “Hoot” Gibson at Awakening 2017.
Rhea and her husband currently reside near Nashville, TN. They have four children and three grandchildren.
What Dr. Rhea Seddon Talks About:
So many of us fail to take advantage of the myriad opportunities that appear in our lives. Some of us don’t see them – others are afraid to pursue them. Dr. Rhea Seddon went from small town girl to outer space and on to other amazing careers.
Her story will inspire you to realize when opportunity knocks by understanding:
- The power of planning, preparation and being ready
- The wisdom of having a goal…and a back-up plan
- The appearance of an open door
- The search for a new path and why it’s never too late
- The value of the network of people you know
- The challenge of overcoming the fear of moving on
Wherever you go, whatever your life’s work – it is teamwork that will make your dream work. Dr. Seddon speaks about this – after a lifetime of working with, participating in and leading diverse teams of varying sizes, constituents and goals.
Dr. Rhea Seddon will share lessons learned about:
- Molding a group of people into a team
- Defining the team’s goals
- Choosing and developing team players
- Recognizing what motivates your team
- Dealing with “outliers”
- Practicing and learning from failure… and success
Dr. Rhea Seddon didn’t start out to be a leader but the paths she chose required that she become one. Using examples from her multiple careers she will reveal the keys to discover the leader within you.
She will show you the secrets of:
- What to do if you are not a born leader
- How to apply the 3 principles of military leadership
- Why “it’s the people, stupid” and understanding “the led”
- When failure is an option and how to learn from it
- Who your role models can be – the good, the bad and the ugly
The feedback we received from having Dr. Rhea Seddon speak at our Society of Professional Women event has been overwhelmingly positive.
Her presentation has been compared to listening to a friend next to a campfire. It was refreshing that through all of the adversity Rhea faced, she told her story with composure and grace...even in a room of almost 150 people, you could hear a pin drop.
Rhea is a shining example to people everywhere, but most importantly to young women and our future leaders.
Society of Professional Women
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