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Nicole Malachowski

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A 21-year veteran combat pilot of the U.S. Air Force, former advisor for the First Lady and security provider

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About Nicole

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Speaker Nicole Malachowski is an experienced leader with an incredible life story. Her story is one of overcoming hardship and achieving seemingly impossible dreams. With every obstacle she overcame, she grew. Now she shares her hard-earned life lessons as a keynote speaker.

Ever since she first saw an airshow as a child, Nicole dreamt of flying military jets.
Ruthlessly pursuing her dream brought her further than she could have ever imagined.

Speaker Nicole Malachowski became not only a successful pilot, she became the first female Thunderbird pilot and served as a squadron commander. She flew at twice the speed of sound, advised the first lady and proudly provided security for Iraq’s democratic elections in 2005. However, after 2 decades of serving in the US air force, Nicole’s life took an unexpected turn, when an illness forced her to retire from the career she had worked so hard to build.

Ater being diagnosed with a neurological tick-borne illness, speaker Nicole Malachowski literally had to learn to walk and talk for a second time. Yet she has no regrets. Her positive attitude and willingness to redefine herself have brought Nicole through hardship and helped her pursue her audacious dreams – and this attitude is infectious! As she speaks, audience members find themselves empowered to achieve their dreams. Her practical message and approach towards life make her a hugely inspiring speaker!

See keynotes with Nicole Malachowski

    Keynote by Speaker Nicole Malachowski 


    • In flying, headwinds slow you down. At their worst, they cause you to change your plans and impact the effectiveness of weapons in combat. Headwinds demand that pilots be resilient and resourceful, literally on the fly. “Headwinds are the perfect metaphor for the change impacting organizations and individuals today,” says 21-year Air Force veteran Nicole Malachowski.

    Keynote by Speaker Nicole Malachowski 


    • The best organizations and leaders create cultures that engage and harness the diverse ideas, talents, and abilities of every person; one where challenging assumptions and the status quo drives extraordinary success. Nicole Malachowski knows about high-performance cultures and challenging assumptions.
    • As a member of the elite United States Air Force Thunderbirds flying demonstration team, the first woman to do so, Nicole was part of a team that demanded flawless execution under extreme circumstances because lives literally depended on it.

    Keynote by Speaker Nicole Malachowski 


    • Speaker Nicole Malachowski has lived a life of service to others. Her commitment to making a difference was the foundation of a distinguished 21-year Air Force career and it continues to drive her work as an advocate on health care and veterans’ issues. First as a White House Fellow in the General Services Administration and later as the executive director of Joining Forces, a nationwide initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, Nicole rallied around service members, veterans, and their families and supported them through wellness, education, and employment opportunities.
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Keynote topics with Nicole Malachowski