A success strategist, international influencer, Diplomat and faith leader, former church planter, Hon. Suzan Johnson Cook was the first female and African-American to hold the position of U.S. Ambassador for International Religious Freedom. Nominated by Secretary Hillary Clinton, and appointed by President Barack Obama, she was the principal advisor to the President of the United States and Secretary of State, for International Religious Freedom having all 199 countries in her portfolio, and integrating religious freedom into the foreign policy and national security discussions. She represented the United States in 25 countries and more than 100 diplomatic engagements, bringing faith leaders and women to the Religious Freedom table. Additionally, she has been the faith advisor to two U.S. Presidents, three cabinet secretaries, as well as political and celebrity leaders. She served as President Bill Clinton’s only faith advisor on the historic “President’s Initiative on Race”. Ambassador Johnson Cook held the position of Chaplain to the New York City Police Department for twenty-one years, the first woman to serve in that role.
She was on the front lines of 9/11, as well as the front lines of bridging relations between the NYPD and New York’s diverse communities. She was also the first and only female President of the historic Hampton U Ministers Conference, in its 102 year history, the largest gathering of African American clergy in the world. She served as pastor for three NYC congregations, including the famous standing room only “Lunch hour of Power”, mid week services and seminars for the business community, which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year.
Ambassador Johnson Cook’s passion is to enhance the role that women play as leaders, both domestically and internationally. Her Pro-Voice /Pro Voz Movement is in direct response to seeing first-hand the lack of access, and the lack of women of color at corporate, political and diplomatic tables worldwide. Sheryl Sandberg says “Lean in”. Ambassador Sujay says, “we’ve got to “get in”. Domestically, her movement helps Black, Latina and Asian women become both a political and economic force, through connections, celebrations and conversations, and mentoring them into key leadership positions. Owner of Charisma Speakers, a full cross cultural communications firm and Professional speakers bureau, she provides keynote speakers, training and global experts around the world, for corporations, colleges/ universities, conventions and conferences. She has given more than 3,000 speeches, and recently expanded her work to the Diplomatic Corps.
A civil, gender and human rights activist, she officiated the Funeral services for her mentor and Godmother, civil-rights icon, Coretta Scott King. She has addressed the United Nations, the UN General Assembly, and UN Geneva. A frequent contributor to CNN, MSNBC and major media, she also writes a column for Huffington Post, and has authored 13 books. Ambassador Johnson Cook is highly regarded as one who bridges party, racial and gender divides. She is a members of the Links, Inc and an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.