Col. Martha McSally, USAF (Ret.)
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“The one thing that has made my life turn out differently from what I expected is that I stopped waiting for the perfect moment, the perfect set of conditions, and the perfect answer.” – Martha McSally
Colonel Martha E. McSally is a pioneering combat-proven leader, inspiring speaker, and celebrated author. McSally is a compelling example of overcoming adversity and fear to achieve extraordinary feats. Losing her Dad at the age of 12 and surviving sexual abuse and assault, she persevered to become the first woman in U.S. history to fly a fighter jet in combat and command a fighter squadron in combat. McSally is a leader who passionately believes in empowering those around her by leading by example, setting vision, values, and culture, and providing opportunities to excel and achieve. Along her journey, McSally had to overcome significant obstacles including U.S. federal law prohibiting women from flying combat jets and a bureaucracy deeming her too short to fly. She persevered, continued embodying excellence, and shattered glass ceilings.
In her speeches and moderated conversations, McSally has the ability to take her lessons learned from combat, life, and athletic endeavors and enthusiastically apply them in practical, memorable experiences propelling teams to excellence. Through humor, transparency, and powerful story-telling, she brings the audience into the cockpit, behind the scenes of high-stakes leadership moments in our nation’s history, and captures hearts along the way, all while imparting actionable take-aways that can immediately empower individuals and teams.
During her 26-year military career, McSally deployed six times to the Middle East and Afghanistan, flying 325 combat hours and earning the Bronze Star and six Air Medals. As a commander of her A-10 squadron, she oversaw $500M in assets and $40M in annual resources and was responsible for ensuring her team could deploy anywhere in the world with just 24-hours’ notice. McSally was deployed to Saudi Arabia on 9/11 and became a key leader in planning and executing initial air operations in Afghanistan. With the 20th anniversary of 9/11 approaching, McSally shares invaluable first-hand insight into that fateful time in our nation’s history. As a Colonel, she was hand-picked as a key leader to stand up U.S. Africa Command from scratch, building a complex organization with limited time and resources. She then led oversight of all African continent operations, including counter-terrorism and disaster relief. This experience built on her expertise in strategic planning, process creation/improvement, knowledge management, logistics, and operations.
Colonel McSally is a values-driven trailblazer who demonstrates courage and integrity in her leadership, even when coming at a personal cost. She bravely took on the Pentagon in an 8-year battle to overturn discriminatory policies towards servicewomen deployed to Saudi Arabia—and won.
McSally knows how to build excellent teams founded in camaraderie, trust, and the ability to perform under pressure when the stakes are extremely high. She now takes these lessons from the cockpit and the skies of Afghanistan to equip your team to reach maximum potential as high performing individuals and significantly contributing teams within your organization.
McSally holds a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University’s JFK School of Government, a Masters in Strategic Studies from the Air War College where she graduated #1 in her class out of 261 senior military officers, and is a distinguished graduate from the U.S. Air Force Academy. She is the author of Dare to Fly—Simple Lessons in Never Giving Up, which motivates readers to overcome fear and adversity to achieve their full potential. McSally lives in Tucson, AZ where she enjoys hiking with her rescue Golden Retriever Boomer, running, and paragliding.
Through determination, discipline and an inspiring work ethic, McSally has run over a dozen marathons, won multiple national military triathlon championships, and completed two Ironman triathlons including the grueling Hawaii Ironman world championship where she won the women’s military division and placed 12th in the world in her age group. She also summited many peaks including Mt Kilimanjaro (highest mountain in Africa at 19,340 ft) and Mt Blanc (highest in Western Europe). She is a force of nature ready to inspire your team.
Col. Martha McSally, USAF (Ret.) - Make Me Proud
Col. Martha McSally, USAF (Ret.) on Tapping Into Your Misery Database
Col. Martha McSally, USAF (Ret.) on Breaking Barriers
Col. Martha McSally, USAF (Ret.) on Courage
Col. Martha McSally, USAF (Ret.) on Trusting Your Abilities
Col. Martha McSally, USAF (Ret.) on Finding Your Wingman
Col. Martha McSally, USAF (Ret.)'s Speech Topics
The Remarkable Opportunity in a Post-COVID World - How to Trust Your Wingmen, Do Things Afraid, and be a Change Agent
McSally is a change agent ready to lead audiences through masterful storytelling and actionable take-aways exploring countless lessons in managing change, disruptive strategy, and resilience that propel organizations and individuals to success.
Leading through adversity, creating opportunity, and empowering your team — McSally commands the flight plan for emerging in a post-COVID world more resilient and inspired to build the future you want for yourself and your organization.
In her speeches and moderated conversations, McSally has the ability to take her lessons learned from combat and leadership and enthusiastically applies them in practical, memorable experiences propelling teams to excellence. Through humor, transparency, and masterful story-telling, she brings the audience into the cockpit, behind the scenes of high-stakes leadership moments in our Nation’s history, and captures hearts along the way - all while delivering actionable take-aways that can have immediate impact.
As the first woman in U.S. history to fly a fighter jet in combat and command a fighter squadron in combat, Colonel (ret) McSally has proven she has the right stuff to survive and excel in high-pressure, high-risk, dynamic environments. This pioneering A-10 pilot is also an endurance athlete, mountain climber, and sexual assault survivor who tragically lost her father at 12. In her extraordinary life filled with triumphs, tragedies, successes and setbacks, McSally authentically inspires and more importantly shows us how to be vulnerable, persevere, overcome fear, be resilient, and soar to our full potential.
In this program, Martha candidly shares her awe-inspiring life experiences that will bring you into the cockpit and leave you with the ability to transform your team and organization in a post-COVID world.
Works by Col. Martha McSally, USAF (Ret.)
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Psychotherapist, New York Times bestselling author, Contributing Editor and Columnist at The Atlantic, Consultant to the Aspen Institute
U.S. Ambassador to the UN (2017-2019); Governor of South Carolina (2011-2017)