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Distinguished Lecture | Gilleo Lectureship

Launching the Webb Telescope: Managing Global Teams In Turbulent Times

Gregory Robinson33-Year Veteran of NASA, Former Director, James Webb Space Telescope, TIME Magazine 100 Most Influential People of 2022, Columbia University Faculty
Stamps Auditorium, Walgreen Drama CenterMap

A reception will immediately follow in the Stamps lobby.

When Greg Robinson took over the leadership of the James Webb Space Telescope, it was years behind schedule, billions over budget, tarnished by engineering failures and waning stakeholder confidence. The trouble didn’t end there. COVID, hurricanes, and other obstacles soon stood in the way of success. Still, Robinson managed to bring together 20,000 people in 29 countries and 14 U.S. states to not only turn the program around, but nearly double its efficiency. In this inspiring talk, highlighted by breathtaking images from Webb, Robinson shares how trust, communication and effective leadership can bring teams together from across the globe to overcome obstacles and achieve your organization’s moonshot.


Best-known as the turnaround leader of the James Webb Space Telescope (Webb), 33-year NASA veteran Gregory Robinson is credited with transforming a program that was billions over budget and years behind schedule into one of NASA’s greatest achievements of the 21st century. Robinson’s renowned leadership skills and soft-spoken management and communication style have earned him numerous awards and honors, including being named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2022 (alongside Apple CEO Tim Cook and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky) and receiving the TIME100 Impact Award, which credited Robinson’s leadership on Webb as bringing us closer to understanding the universe.

Sponsored by

Electrical and Computer Engineering


Ann Stals

Faculty Host

Ted Norris Gerard A. Mourou Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science