Recorded on 06/07/2023

From the Cockpit to the C-Suite: Lessons in Critical Decision-Making with Fighter Pilot Kim Campbell

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Recorded on June 7, 2023.

When retired Air Force Colonel Kim Campbell started pilot training in 1999, women made up just 1% of the total number of fighter pilots in the United States. Despite being one of 33 women in the field, Kim went on to serve 24 years in the Air Force and completed more than 100 combat missions protecting troops on the ground in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

On April 6, 2003, Campbell made national headlines when her plane was hit by enemy fire during a combat support mission to Baghdad. She had to make a split-second decision to eject herself from the plane into enemy territory or attempt to fly the severely damaged plane back to safety. Incredibly, she was able to use the emergency backup system and fly 300 miles back to base in Southern Iraq. After surviving the ordeal and recovering her battle-damaged plane, she was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for Heroism.

Campbell’s story offers valuable insights and lessons on high-pressure decision-making and leadership. In her new book, Flying in the Face of Fear: A Fighter Pilot’s Lessons on Leading with Courage, she shares specific strategies and techniques on how to take action and lead with courage, even during situations of extreme stress and risk. Whether you are a leader now or aspire to be one, Campbell’s story provides a powerful blueprint on how to act in critical moments while also inspiring others to greater achievement.


About Kim Campbell

Kim Campbell is a retired Air Force Colonel who served in the Air Force for over 24 years as a fighter pilot and senior military leader. She has flown 1,800 hours in the A-10 Warthog, including more than 100 combat missions protecting troops on the ground in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2003, Kim was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for Heroism after successfully recovering her battle-damaged airplane after an intense close air support mission in Baghdad.

As a senior military leader, Kim has led hundreds of Airmen both at home and abroad in deployed locations and enabled them to succeed in their missions. She has experience leading complex organizations and driving cultural change. Kim knows what it takes to be a successful leader, to inspire and empower high performance teams to achieve success. Kim is passionate about leadership and feels strongly that leaders earn trust by leading with courage and connecting with their team.

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