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The CEO Sessions - Ben Fanning EPISODE 38, 30th March 2021
Dean Acosta, Lockheed Martin Chief Communications Officer - How to Lead in a Crisis
00:00:00 00:40:22

Dean Acosta, Lockheed Martin Chief Communications Officer - How to Lead in a Crisis

Dean Acosta is the Lockheed Martin Chief Communications Officer and Senior Vice President.

Lockheed Martin is a $65B global security and aerospace company with 114,000 employees worldwide. 

Dean Acosta leads a team of 500, oversees global communications strategies and activities, and provides strategic communications counsel to the corporation’s senior executives. 

He’s held senior leadership positions at NASA, Boeing, Honeywell, Phillips 66, and Resideo. 

While at NASA he was press secretary in the aftermath of the space shuttle Columbia tragedy and returned to flight. 

Dean has received an Emmy Award for investigative reporting and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a master’s degree from Seton Hall University.

Dean’s LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/deanacosta/ 


  • The big life lesson Dean learned as a sportscaster.
  • The advice Dean would give his younger self.  
  • How you strike the balance of “tooting your own horn” and being humble.
  • How his mettle was tested during the Columbia Space Shuttle crisis and the Pandemic.
  • Key strategies every leader can use to respond to a crisis.
  • How to have a “steady hand” in a crisis.
  • The single trait Dean would instill in every employee.
  • Success strategies every employee should keep in mind.
  • A twist in Dean’s career that led to his success down the road.
  • The three board games that Dean likes to play with his family.


Advice for someone facing a crisis in their career or business:

  • Involve more people into a conversation, not less.
  • Transparency and authenticity need to be key principles in how you approach your communications.

Tips on avoiding burnout:

  • Make sure you have work/life balance.
  • Family first, then the mission.
  • Stay focused.
  • Be okay with asking for help or asking for a break.
  • Be able to reflect on what’s working for you and what’s not.


“Advocate for yourself and your team.”

“There’s a fine line between arrogance and confidence.”

“Understand your audience.”

“Think about the things that advance the mission of the company.”

“Involve more people in the conversation.”

“When you’re thinking over communicating, you’re usually not.”

“Pause and reflect upon what you’ve learned during the past year".


Good to Great, Jim Collins https://www.amazon.com/Good-Great-Some-Companies-Others-ebook/dp/B0058DRUV6 

The Right Stuff 


Ghost Fleet