NSB Logo Dr. Roberta Bondar Dr. Roberta Bondar

Dr. Roberta Bondar


Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Canada's First Female Astronaut & Acclaimed Nature Photographer

Dr. Roberta Bondar is unique, not just for being the world’s first neurologist in space or for her pioneering space medicine research. Academically one of the most distinguished astronauts to have flown in space, Dr. Bondar is also the only astronaut to use fine art photography to explore and reveal Earth’s natural environment from the surface.

Keynote Speeches

Resilience: Staying Informed and Diminishing Fear

COVID is affecting all of us— our personal and professional spaces, our lives and how we live them. It is a stress test for more than economics. Relief can seem short-lived, with gathering clouds of fear with rain that might promote seeds of doubt. But, as we know from viewing things from the distance of time and space, there is abundant energy from the light that lives beyond us and within the best of human behavior. Aspirational becomes inspirational. Change delivers opportunity—a deep dive with a good light.

The Art of Seeing and the Art of Being: Creativity Through Clarity of Vision

Curiosity is linked to exploration. It is also about what we might be missing, or what might be important to our safety and health. Without curiosity, creativity would live in exile and we would be limited to our immediate life with no real potential for true growth. We can change how we view the world around us by awakening our senses to explore what lies beyond the human eye or personal experience. Revelation becomes relevance and the more investment in the connection, the more powerful the outcome. Dr. Bondar combines her expert knowledge in her specialty of neuro-ophthalmology (how we see and view the world around us) and professional training in landscape/nature photography with her experience of spaceflight to seek new worlds and ideas.

Considered Risk: Opening Up Possibilities for Change and Growth

Life is a series of moments, any of which can change the course of personal, professional and world histories. Random things can happen and they do, all of the time. Far better to embrace change than to fear it. Far stronger to examine fear and how to overcome it. The danger of spaceflight makes it unnerving for many and for others it is a source of inspiration – that human beings are destined for something greater beyond Earth life. Fear unexamined is risk undetermined. Risk becomes a force for change and all change bears risk, with the balance of risk and change set by personal passions and goals. Dr. Bondar discusses the possibilities and inspiration derived from actively seeking opportunity once risk is considered.

Perspective Shift: Moving Beyond the Familiar to Reach for the Extraordinary

The nucleus of shifting one’s point of view is having an opportunity to see and experience things in a completely different way. Sometimes it takes dismantling the known and other times it is the unknown that thrusts us into a new view of the old. Spaceflight gives us images and ideas plus the potential of emotional and natural connections to our life on planet Earth. Dr. Bondar integrates her perspective from space with her Earth exploration through still and video imagery to stimulate others to think differently.

Patterns of Philanthropy for Life: Contributing to the Fabric of Society

The perspective of Earth as seen from space is a reality check that indeed we live on a planet. It also can open the mind and heart to the interconnectedness of its natural resources, including the most precious of which is life. Great principles of philanthropy include helping others to survive the many challenges facing us on the planet, and to reduce poverty while promoting excellence through education. This is accomplished best through volunteerism and or financial support. Volunteers are a source of inspiration and have the passion and commitment to move society forward. The Roberta Bondar Foundation, a charitable organization, implements programming through a strong volunteer base that seeks a better society by connecting all generations to our natural world through the coupling of art and science.

Touching the Earth... a Lifelong Relationship

Touching the Earth is an amazing visual and spoken testament to the beauty and variety of our planet. Dr. Bondar contrasts her two views of “home”, with photographs from space and her early photography from its surface, accompanied by the words of her journey and reflections on our environment.

Audience reviews:

  • I was very impressed with how Dr. Bondar created the presentation feeding off our program theme. It was obvious she created this presentation for us and inter-weaved her experience into her presentation. Dr. Bondar also spoke with apparently no notes. Her presentation style was disarming, and she connected with the audience. Her handling of the question period was entertaining and inclusive.

    - Association of BC Foresters
  • It was thrilling to be reminded of the global and supra-global context of things - I was put in mind also of the impact of recent images of Titan with their familiar looking landscapes but created by forces and chemistry so totally at odds with ours ("provincially") on Earth. I thank you for re-igniting them for me.

    - Saskatchewan Council of Senior Federation Officials

Speaker Biography

Dr. Bondar draws on her remarkable depth of expertise as an astronaut, physician, scientific researcher, photographer, author, environment interpreter, and team leader to stimulate, motivate, educate, and inspire. She first came to international prominence as the world’s first neurologist in space, as an astronaut on the space shuttle Discovery mission STS 42 in 1992. Globally recognized for her contributions to space medicine, Dr. Bondar continued as head of an international space medicine research team working with NASA for more than a decade, finding new connections between recovering from floating in space and neurological illnesses such as stroke and Parkinson’s disease.

Seeing the world through the lenses of a medical doctor, scientist, photographer, astronaut and author, Dr. Bondar follows in her family’s tradition of excellence in teaching. Trained as a member of NASA’s Earth Observation Team Dr. Bondar expanded her professional photographic expertise. After her space mission, she continued her photographic explorations honing her artistic and technical skills as an honors student in Professional Nature Photography. As a landscape photographer her work is represented by galleries in London, England, Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary and is featured in numerous books and other publications.

As both a consultant and presenter, she has worked with CEOs and business leaders around the world who face the challenges of a business environment that is in continuous change. Her insights on creative problem solving, productivity, organizational culture, process and group dynamics have earned her a reputation as a thought leader and innovator on the cutting edge of leadership and change management.

Dr. Bondar is a true Renaissance woman and a great Canadian icon who exhibits a human curiosity and unending drive to reach, and help others reach higher capabilities. She exudes genuine wholesomeness, selflessness, and an unassuming style that makes even the most scientifically uninitiated among us feel comfortable, inspired and ready to learn more under her guidance.