I had the true pleasure of hearing Suzanne Nora Johnson address my leadership class taught by former Mayor Riordan. She spoke of leadership, courage, and what has allowed her to succeed in business and philanthropic initiatives. I especially enjoyed hearing about her personal philosophies and which thinkers she takes to heart.
Johnson started her career as a lawyer and has worked in a variety of fields, including finance in the private and public sectors. In 2006, Forbes named her in its list of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the world.
Most notably, Johnson worked as Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs as Head of Global Marketing, from which she retired in 2007 to work on solving international problems. She now is Chairman of The Global Council on Financial Risk and on the boards of many large institutions including Pfizer, the Broad Foundation, and the Carnegie Institute.
Johnson grew up in Chicago and had a large family with many first cousins. She went to USC and from there applied to law school. She clerked for a judge in the South to broaden her perspective and went on to practice law in New York for a couple years. She knew her goal longer term was to eventually work at the World Bank, so she applied to three investment banks to gain experience. That's what brought her to Goldman Sachs, where she eventually led the team to restructure emerging market debt.
Compare and Contrast
Johnson structured her talk by contrasting similar and often confused concepts.