Eileen Hawley is communications director and press secretary for the Office of the Governer of Kansas. She previously was the “Voice of NASA’s Mission Control” and the face of NASA’s response to the loss of Shuttle Columbia during her 15 years leading communications efforts at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas.
At NASA, she was a key advisor to senior leadership during times of crisis including the loss of the Shuttle Columbia in 2003, the theft of Moon rocks, a fatal workplace violence incident and media interest in high profile programs and personnel. She developed and implemented communication strategies to respond to those situations and maintain NASA’s image.
She worked in the famous Mission Control Center in Houston for more than 40 Space Shuttle and Space Station Missions, including John Glenn’s historic return to space in 1998. As the director of External Relations at JSC, she led an office that encompassed communications and public affairs, media relations, education outreach, government relations, volunteer activities and protocol and VIP guest relations.
She has been recognized with numerous awards including being named an Honorary Kansan in 1999, an Emmy from the Midwestern Regional Emmy Awards, Ohio Chapter, for coverage of the John Glenn Space Shuttle mission, and in 2008 received NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal recognizing her role in enhancing NASA’s communications efforts.
She holds a Bachelor’s degree in media studies from the University of Houston, Clear Lake and a Master’s degree in Strategic Communications and Leadership from Seton Hall University. In addition to lecturing in the William Allen White School of Journalism, Eileen is the director of communicators and investor relations at the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Kansas All Hazards Incident Management Team.