Speaker Profile

Ms. Zdenka Willis

Integrated Ocean Observing System, NOAA


Zdenka Saba Willis, a member of Senior Executive Service.  From 2007 to present she has been the Director of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®) Program. U.S. IOOS, led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is a coordinated network of people and technology that work together to generate and disseminate continuous data on our coastal waters, Great Lakes, and oceans. From 2006 to 2007 she was the Director of NOAA’s National Oceanographic Data Center.

She was commissioned an Ensign in the United States Navy in 1981 and retired with the rank of Captain in 2006, serving as a Meteorology and Oceanography officer.  She has promoted interagency cooperation as the Naval Deputy to NOAA; worldwide sea ice analysis and forecasting as Director of the National Ice Center; and as the satellite and operations officer Naval Polar Oceanography Center. Her meteorological background include weather forecasting for Naval aircraft as the Officer in Charge of the Naval Oceanography Command Detachment, Oceana Virginia and for Navy vessels as the Naval Eastern Oceanography Center, Norfolk Virginia. Ms. Willis has a background in the collection of oceanographic data onboard the USNS Harkness and USNS Maury survey vessels and in the electronic navigational charting as Deputy Navigator of the Navy. Her other relevant Naval positions are the director of the Strategic Policy Forum (a Congressional and Executive Branch crisis simulation for Members of Congress, senior Executive branch officials, and military leaders) and adjunct professor in the Strategic Leadership Department at the Industrial College for the Armed Forces.

Ms Willis received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina, a Master’s degree in Meteorology and Oceanography from the Naval Postgraduate School and a Master’s Degree in National Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

All sessions by Ms. Zdenka Willis