NSB Logo

Dr. Dave Williams

Record-breaking Astronaut, Aquanaut & Leadership Expert

A true Canadian hero, astronaut Dr. Dave Williams is down-to-earth with a compelling and unique approach to peak performance, environmental stewardship, leadership, our futures and risk management. A former healthcare CEO, he’s received praise for his leadership in developing a culture where innovation, implementation of best practices, fiscal responsibility and patient-centered care is engrained in the fabric of the organizations he’s worked with.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Defying Limits: Lessons from the Edge of the Universe
In this presentation based off his book of the same name, Dave shares the events that have defined his life. He shows us that whether we’re gravity-defying astronauts or earth-bound terrestrials, we can all live an infinite, fulfilled life by relishing the value and importance of each moment. The greatest fear that we all face is not the fear of dying, but the fear of never having lived. Each of us is greater than we believe. Together, we can exceed our limits to soar farther and higher than we ever imagined.

Education | Exploration Enhanced Curriculum
In today’s social media world, where flat earth, hoax lunar landing, and “Anti-Vax” theories run rampant, the importance of scientific literacy has never been more evident. Building students capacity to critically assess information is more important than ever before. The challenge for educators is doing so in a way that’s engaging for young minds. Dr. Dave Williams believes the answer can be found in enhancing the standardized curriculum with STEAM concepts.

In this presentation, Dr. Williams shares experiences from his career in outer space and underwater to create exciting connections between exploration and STEAM curriculum. This session provides an overview of different techniques and resources educators can use to energize their classroom with a focus on STEAM concepts. These techniques will help educators in their efforts to foster trust in scientific processes.

Audiences will learn:
• How to incorporate exploration science into the classroom to complement curriculum objectives.
• The best ways to access space resource material for educators.
• Techniques for delivering scientific concepts in a manner that excites the imagination of children

Motivation & Peak Performance – Reaching for the Stars
Williams understands what is involved in achieving peak personal performance: endurance, persistence, and the ability to overcome obstacles. He believes success is built on a combination of effective judgment, skill, and knowledge. Williams shows you how to manage emotional energy for yourself and your team.

Healthcare & Technology
Williams uses his clinical research in emergency medicine, early identification of trauma patients at high risk, and his work in Medical Robotics to discuss innovative technologies that assist the development of local and remote patient care.  

Dr. Williams also offers customized presentations on environmental stewardship and more. View a full list of his presentations here.

Platform Plus

Panelist/In Conversation


Order of Ontario
Ontario College of Family Physicians of Canada Award of Excellence

Officer to the Order of Canada

Waterstone Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures
Platinum and Gold Marcom Awards
Passion Capitalist Award

  • So riveting, dynamic and inspiring was his lecture that he received a standing ovation …With a message focused on science, empowerment, and the impact of collaborative efforts, the sense that anything is possible... Without question, he is the most captivating speaker I have ever heard, an observation expressed by many at the conference. His experiences and lessons left many with the inspiration and passion to make a difference in their communities.

    - Executive Director, Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation
  • Dr. Dave Williams opened our annual national conference with a compelling, funny, entertaining and poignant presentation that had our delegates talking in the corridors for days afterwards. His professionalism and incredible photos (that accompany his presentation) both took my breath away. A perfect start to this academic and networking conference of 800 delegates

    - Canadian Pharmacists Association
  • His presentation was spectacular… He accomplished exactly what I had hoped he would: our attendees arrived after four hours of intense technical information, needing a break and rejuvenation. They left Dr. Williams talk excited, ready for the next three hours, and with the sense that the world is a wondrous place that they could make better.

    - Program Chair, SWAC

Summary Profile

With a passion for healthcare and risk management, prior to entering the Canadian Space Agency’s program, Dr. Dave Williams worked as an emergency room doctor and later as director of emergency services at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. Formerly the director for the McMaster Centre for Medical Robotics, where he led a team dedicated to developing innovative technologies to assist the development of local and remote patient care. In July 2011 Williams became President and Chief Executive Officer of Southlake Regional Health Centre. In June 2012 Williams was inducted into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame.

Dave Williams joined an exclusive club when he blasted into space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia, and again on Shuttle Endeavour where he walked out into the great beyond. Having also lived and worked in the world’s only underwater ocean laboratory, he became Canada’s first dual astronaut and aquanaut.

Williams is one of the NASA space program’s most accomplished astronauts, setting records in spacewalking. The veteran of two space shuttle missions has logged more than 687 hours in space, including three spacewalks, the highest number of spacewalks ever performed in a single mission. His work with NASA also continued on the ground when the space agency appointed him as director of the Space and Life Sciences Directorate, making Williams the first non-American to hold a senior management position.

So who knew? @Southlake_News our docs are not only good at medicine, but modelling too @SouthlakeFndn !!!! https://t.co/imsFTdY4gu (2019-11-15 12:30:08)
RT @SFitzpatrick_OH: Welcome to the five Transitional Regional Leads who start today to oversee the ongoing management of LHIN operations a… (2019-11-13 04:15:55)
Really excited to be able to work with our new LHIN Regional Lead Scott McLeod on our healthcare transformation @Southlake_News #onhealth (2019-11-13 04:13:30)