Nicola Winter (*1985) could be the first German woman in space. She is a pilot, speaker, ESA reserve astronaut, aerospace engineer and specialist in leadership and crisis management.

Nicola Winter was a fighter pilot in the German Armed Forces for over a decade, was one of only three women in the air force to pilot the Eurofighter, trained young pilots in the USA for several years and most recently held the rank of Major. In 2017, the Boston Consulting Group and Handelsblatt named Nicola Winter “Thought Leader of the Year”. Her credo: with courage, empathy, discipline, passion and a little bit of luck, we can make it anywhere – even to the moon.

Nicola Winter Lecture topics

Purposeful multitasking and absolute focus on the right and important things – especially as a management team. Flying, space and adventure are Nicola Winter’s passion – and have been since early childhood.

  • New Leadership & Teamship: Leadership by Mach 1.
  • Crisis, risk and stress management
  • Error culture and debriefings – resilience, courage and a focus on risk

Flying, space and adventure are Nicola’s passions – “I want to do pioneering work, the goal could also be the moon or Mars,” says Nicola Winter. And this dream could come true, as Nicola has already passed an open astronaut selection process for the second time and is working towards flying into space. In 2017, she was a finalist in the “The Astronaut” initiative. In 2022, she beat more than 22,500 applicants in the ESA selection process and is now part of the astronaut reserve.

Nicola Winter: The sky is no limit!

Crisis management – Sooner or later, every company finds itself in exceptional situations. It is then important to have proven strategies at hand to master them. These include experienced risk analysis, precise crisis communication, a focus on the essentials and fast decision-making.

After her time in the German Armed Forces, Nicola Winter advised large companies for McKinsey & Co. and experienced several emergencies as a paramedic. She then moved into aerospace project management via the aviation industry.

New leadership: Nowadays, even fighter pilots are led with empathy and respect – a new understanding of leadership is more necessary than ever. Outdated leadership cultures and hierarchies encourage mistakes in everyday working life, which can have serious consequences. Using concrete and tangible practical examples from her time as an officer and pilot in the German Armed Forces, Nicola Winter offers tangible and practicable input for modern leadership of high-performance teams.

Today, Nicola Winter is a renowned speaker, consultant for crisis teams and companies, active in space research and a lecturer in leadership and crisis management. She holds a doctorate in space science and is training to become a rescue helicopter pilot. In her keynotes, Nicola shares with her audience in an entertaining, informative and humorous way that she was actually too small to become a pilot and how she nevertheless found her way into the fighter jet and her greatness as a leader.

Stress resistance of astronauts in emergency situations – transferred to everyday business life.

Nicola Winter gives her talks online, in Germany and worldwide, also in English. She is a sought-after panelist and is also available for workshops as an expert on her topics.

Nicola is married and the mother of a young daughter.