Nicole Malachowski

An indomitable spirit whose life journey adds such warmth and depth to her powerful message and a fascinating narrative of overcoming trials and tribulations all while being an unwitting trailblazer in aviation, in leadership, in social awareness and in medical care.

– Advanced Technology Demonstration Center, Northrup Grumma

About Keynote Speaker Nicole Malachowski

First woman Thunderbird Pilot, combat veteran, fighter squadron commander, White House Fellow & Advisor, and indomitable spirit. A 21-year veteran of the United States Air Force, Colonel Nicole Malachowski (USAF, Ret.) wanted to fly military jets from the moment she saw them at her first air show when she was five years old. She achieved that goal – and then some. A leader, a combat veteran, the first woman pilot on the Thunderbirds Air Demonstration Squadron, an instructor, a White House Fellow, and an inductee into the Women in Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame, Nicole’s Air Force career exceeded her wildest dreams.

Speech Topics

“HARNESSING HEADWINDS OF CHANGE”

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. A former fighter squadron commander and mission-ready pilot in three operational fighter squadrons and the first woman to fly on the Air Force Thunderbirds, Nicole has the perfect message to inspire audiences to think differently about the headwinds of change they face – organizationally and personally. Drawing on her extraordinary Air Force career, Nicole tailors her talk to suit each audience – offering lessons on leadership, followership, and overcoming adversity. Nicole weaves storytelling with breathtaking video from the cockpit of her jet as the Thunderbirds execute precision turns, rolls, and loops – all just 36” from one another at 400 mph just 300 feet off the ground. A passionate speaker, Nicole’s keynote has an unforgettable message to kick off or close any event. She helps audiences ignite their own indomitable spirit in order to succeed far beyond what they can dream. “Failure isn’t fatal,” she says, “it’s the price of entry if you want to achieve something great.”

“THE POWER OF CHALLENGING ASSUMPTIONS”

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. Yet, it would be wrong to define Nicole by simply labeling her the first woman Thunderbird pilot – and that’s the point. In order to create a culture that challenges assumptions, it’s important to look beyond the obvious – beyond unconscious bias. In Nicole’s case, the Thunderbirds were just two years of an exceptional 21-year Air Force career during which she became a White House Fellow and adviser, served at the Department of Defense, was a mission-ready pilot in three operational squadrons and a fighter squadron commander, and served as a combat pilot. As an Air Force leader, Nicole constantly challenged assumptions by matching people’s values with the job to be done. In this talk, Nicole draws on her distinguished career to offer inspiring lessons for leaders and followers.

PUSHING THE ENVELOPE: BEING THE BEST WHEN IT COUNTS

 What does it take to be the best?  The individuals and teams who achieve at the highest levels have one thing in common: they push the envelope and go to the edge of boundaries. “Pushing the envelope” is an aviation term for taking an aircraft to the maximum limits of its abilities. In the business world, pushing the envelope means knowing yourself – certainly knowing your limits – and all the while using every bit of your ability to maximize your performance and do it to a standard of excellence. As a combat-tested fighter pilot in Iraq and Kosovo and a member of the military’s elite group of aviators (only 1 in 2,000 USAF pilots become Thunderbird pilots), Nicole Malachowski inspires audiences with lessons learned from a distinguished career. She gives people the courage to push the envelope in their own lives.

“IN THE SERVICE OF OTHERS”

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. When a health crisis unexpectedly ended her military career, Nicole viewed this as an opportunity to cultivate a new perspective. She is now making a difference in places she never expected – including healthcare – where she works closely with patients and their medical practitioners to find ways to focus on the whole person and not just the illness being treated. In this presentation, Nicole inspires audiences with her candor, authenticity, and humor, encouraging them to bring humanity back into their own work and make a difference in the lives of those around them.

Speakers Videos

Col. Malachowski  – Career Overview

Harnessing The Headwinds of Change

Pushing The Envelope For Maximum Performance

Pushing The Envelope For Maximum Performance

Books & Media

There are currently no books for this speaker.

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KEYWORDS: Change, Communication, Competition, Corporate Culture, Creativity, Customer Service, Innovation, Leadership, Marketing, Strategy, Trust, Vision, Workforce Issues