Meet one of President Obama’s Black Female Ambassadors

What exactly does a United States' Ambassador look like?  She looks like U.S. Ambassaror-at-Large Suzan Johnson Cook who served as the Third US. Ambassador-At-Large for International Religious Freedom and worked with two sitting United States Presidents including President Bill Clinton, Secretary Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama.  Ambassador Johnson Cook's appointment was put in place in order to support religious freedom and she worked with 199 countries in her portfolio of responsibility.

These days, Ambassador Johnson Cook serves as the CEO of Charisma Speakers International.  "I like to refer to myself as both the C.E.O. and the C.I.O. - Chief Inspirational Officer, in order to be an international influence and inspiration for business, government, secular and spiritual" she states.  CHARISMA SPEAKERS is a Black owned, Female owned Professional Speakers Bureau, celebrating 10 years as a full service, cross cultural, cross continental, communications firm.  Charisma Speakers Bureau includes renowned speakers such as; Elder Bernice King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mayor David Dinkins, only Black Mayor of New York City, Judge Glenda Hatchett, judge and TV personality and many more.

As an adviser to Clinton, Obama on being an advocate for religious freedom around the world Ambassador Cook served as an ordained Pastor for three congregations; transforming communities and fighting the dropout rate among students.  Ambassador Cook also served at Harvard University!

As the first global professional speakers bureau owned by a Black Female, Charisma Speakers specializes in providing motivational keynote speakers, and currently represent more than 20 professional speakers from 18 years of age to over 100 years old.  Charisma Speakers introduces corporate trainers, employee retention and diversity along with serving as a Cross-Country and Cross-Nation provisor of experts and business trade leaders who can do business together.  Charisma Speakers is a full-service, cross-communication of professionals!

Charisma Speakers helps their clients achieve the "Three P's" - Preparation for Powerful Presentations

1. Fine tuning your upcoming speech
2. The Pitch to your Board and 
3. Your delivery to your audience, which provides 90% of effectiveness of your presentation

How did Ambassador Johnson Cook achieve the experience and knowledge to provide these services for her clients?  "I have served as an educator, an entrepreneur and a diplomat" she states.  The speaking industry is a $3 Billion industry and there are a small amount of African Americans that are a part of this industry" Johnson Cook continues.  "As a native New Yorker, I currently reside in both New York and Washington D.C. and strive to continue the legacy that I was born in to."

Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook's was born into entrepreneurship.  Her parents employed over 200 people with their janitorial business during the 60s and 70s.  The company founded by her parents is now celebrating its 55th anniversary and it is now being run by a third generation descendant of her parent's. "My father never missed a payroll!" she remembers. "I was the first secretary of the corporation and when we went to college, we never took out a loan. The company that we worked for while growing up became the seeds that we planted and that harvest was the receipt of our education, debt free!"

"Our parent's raised us and helped to mold their community as well. I always wondered why we had a high turn-over rate among household employees retained by my parents," Ambassador Johnson Cook reflects upon.  "My mother would find out the desires and goals of that housekeeper and would then pay for the education for those employees! We were surrounded by greatness and involved in encouraging those investments to give back to the Black community".  Now, Charisma Speakers is structuring professional speakers to encourage and motivate organizations around the world.

"At Charisma Speakers, our niche is to get a speaker to you within 24-48 hours; providing a speaker who is a good fit and one who will deliver with Kick-Butt Keynotes," exclaimed Ambassador Cook.  Charisma works to provide speakers to colleges, conventions, corporations, countries and conferences.  CEO Johnson Cook has an interest in Women Leaders.  As a result of serving as a lead diplomat for a United States President and currently as a blogger for Huffington Post, her training and experience has been helpful for each of her clients as well as the congregations that was blessed to have her as a shepherd. Ambassador Johnson-Cook describes herself as a faith leader, educator, entrepreneur and motivator.  "If we as a people circulate our dollars in our community, collaborate and hire one another, we can have a strong community base". 

How did you begin working with President Obama?

"Entering as a White House Fellow in 1994, I began working with President Bill Clinton in the administration while pastoring both the Bronx Christian Fellowship Church and Mariners Temple Baptist Church in the Bronx.  The fellowship was a one-year program and once Hillary Clinton was made aware of my faith-based experienced, she zeroed in on me and kept me in the Clinton administration for 6 more years".

Johnson Cook served as Faith Adviser to the President to help look at race relations in America.  "My political and faith-based experience was submitted to Secretary Hillary Clinton who nominated her to be an ambassador. "The Senate needed to confirm me and I was appointed by Bill Clinton" she proclaims.  "Conservatives had to help me get through. It was an amazing experience" she concluded.

"I was in New York at the time of the Presidential election (between Clinton and Obama) and either way, this was an historic event.  To then go on to work for the first African American President, and to work with his family, this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience" beams Ambassador Johnson Cook.  "Every day I was in the country, I passed by the White House to pray for our First Family and to simply smile.  I didn't want him to ever have to worry about this part of his administration.  I was going to do such a great job - representing this administration and carrying the training and lessons retained from all my ancestors!  Too many people had shed too much blood, sweat and tears to get me here, and I was not going to disappoint them!"

What is your proudest point in your career?

"I was a bridge- builder and not a wall-builder.  I bring peace through faith and diplomacy." 

How was that implemented?

"I had to bring people to the table that had never been invited before.  I worked to implement a Women and Religious Freedom round table as well.  I worked to create a world summit for religious freedom; and shared those concepts by returning to West Africa as a diplomat.  I also served as a part of the International Freedom's open conference with Pope Benedict.  Serving as a U.S. Ambassador, the doors of opportunity flew open for me to be in front of world leaders; I count it a privilege and an honor to have been selected and to have served."

As of the time of this interview, Ambassador Johnson Cook has written thirteen books which are now in print and are available for both men and women. Charisma Speakers's is available to support your goals of becoming a speaker and can provide speakers for your upcoming event.  

Charisma Speakers' satisfied clientele includes:

The White House
The United Stated Department of Energy, 
The Pentagon
Congressional Black Caucus
United Nations
National Associations
Sororities &Fraternities
And other media outlets.

As you are preparing your budgets for your 2018 and 2019 events, observances and commencements, consider booking a speaker with CHARISMA.

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16 Jan 2018

By Angie Bee
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