Nicole Malachowski

First Female Thunderbird Pilot, Former Colonel in the USAF & Founder of Nicole Malachowski & Associates

  • National Women’s Hall of Fame Inductee
  • Amelia Earhart Pioneering Achievement Award
  • Women in Aviation Pioneer Hall of Fame Inductee
  • Commissioner, The President’s Commission on White House Fellowships
  • Received the IAVA Veteran Leadership Award
  • Received the We Are The Mights: ‘Mighty 25’ Award
  • Received the The White House Fellows Foundation and Association IMPACT Award
  • Former Executive Office of the President, The White House
  • Received the Living Legacy Award
  • First Air Force Officer to receive the Admiral Stephen B. Luce Award

When [post:title] is booked for events, they are known to discuss the following speaking topics:

Harnessing Headwinds: Successfully Navigating Change & Adversity
Pushing the Envelope: Being the Best When it Counts
Breaking Barriers: Conquering Self-Doubt and Cultural Paradigms
Conquering Fog and Friction: Leading Through Times of Crisis
The Mach 2 Mindset: Decision-Making in a High-Speed Environment
The Power of Calm: Stay Positive
Mental Health: Living with the Invisible Illness
Peak Performance: Pushing the Envelope
Teamwork & Trust: Build Trust by Being Trustworthy
Failure is the Price of Entry
A Culture of Excellence: Steel Sharpens Steel
Leadership: People Centred NOT Gender Centered Leadership
Navigating Chaos: Swiftly Reacting to the Unexpected
Overcoming Adversity: Going Beyond Resilient

Colonel Nicole Malachoski was medically retired after 21 years in the U.S. Air Force, a stella career which saw her become the first ever female pilot on the Thunderbirds Air Demonstration Squadron. Defying gender stereotypes, Nicole is also a combat veteran having gained 188 combat flying hours. However, after a horrific turn of events, Nicole’s dreams came to an end when she contracted a tick-borne disease which left her unable to walk or talk for 9 months. Making a remarkable recovery, Nicole is now a highly sought-after speaker and uses her fruitful career in many of her talks on female empowerment, how to conquer self-doubt, and pursuing your dreams.

With her first solo flight at age 16, there is no doubt Nicole led a very different life to her female classmates. In High School, Nicole was part of the Air Force Junior ROTC, and was a member of the Civil Air Patrol. It was upon graduating the United States Air Force Academy in 1996 when Nicole’s professional career in the Air Force began. She attended Undergraduate Pilot Training and was selected to fly combat aircraft, making her amongst the first women to fly a modern fighter aircraft. Throughout her incredible career Nicole amassed a total of over 2,300 flying hours on six different aircraft. When in combat, she served as an F-15E Flight Commander, Flight Lead, Evaluator and Instructor Pilot. On the ground during her last assignment, Nicole was responsible for advising Michelle Obama (then First Lady), and Dr Jill Biden on a range of topics relating to service members including veterans homelessness, mental health and employment.

Currently, Nicole is the Founder and CEO of Nicole Malachowski & Associates and is the Commissioner on White House Fellowships for the President of the United States. Nicole had the honour of serving in The White House twice; as a Fellow between 2008 and 2009, and then as the Executive Director of the Joining Forces initiative. With a truly incredible career under her belt, there is no wonder Nicole has such an accolade of awards to her name, including the Living Legacy Award, an inductee in the Women in Aviation Pioneer Hall of Fame, Amelia Earhart Pioneering Achievement Award and is an inductee on the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Upon her diagnosis of a tick-borne disease, Nicole had to fight to regain the strength she once had. Still suffering from the side effects, Nicole is now dedicated to educating others on her condition in a bid to help raise awareness of the disease which left her unable to walk. Nicole’s ability to inspire her audiences to overcome failures is second-to-none, she pushes everyone she meets to be the very best version of themselves. If you are in need of a powerful female motivational speaker who educates her audiences on what it takes to overcome all barriers, look no further than Nicole Malachowski.

Official Testimonials

Nicole Malachowski is regularly booked to engage audiences at events, read their latest feedback below:

“This is the second time I have used Nicole. She is powerful. She connected so eloquently to the ‘business’ and made all her themes resonate and apply pragmatically. The audience was buzzing – and really enjoyed her. They are requesting another go around on her patient level view as well as her advocacy role. I am incredibly inspired by Nicole – and in awe of her achievements.”

CCFord Healthcare

“In this age of virtual events, Nicole’s energy and focus kept our participants engaged and prompted an enthusiastic chat conversation among our participants who were effusive in their praise of her. Her message is up-building, life-giving and brings value for anyone who is struggling to keep their head up in challenging times, looking for inspiration in the journey.”


“OMG – I could go on and on all day about how AMAZING Nicole is and was during her presentation!!! She is absolutely the best hands down. Each year it’s my personal challenge to raise the bar, and I have no doubt that we did that this year with Nicole onboard. I have received so many emails, text messages, and instant messages about how fantastic Nicole was (still coming in as I’m typing this email).”

Morton Salt

“You are a spectacular speaker and I have never been to a meeting with our entire team mesmerized by anyone like they were with you. Your story is unbelievable and you are able to deliver it in such a natural and powerful way that had me in awe for days after. I haven’t been so motivated or inspired by anyone in a long time.”

 Director & Marketing Activation, Best Western Hotels & Resorts

“Nicole was exceptionally well received. She—truly—did a magnificent job. Connected with the audience, inspiring, thought-provoking, funny, real, open. Our colleagues couldn’t stop talking about it. Was the highlight of our event.”

UnitedHealth Group

“We had the true privilege of having Nicole speak at GROW 2022, our annual franchise conference, and she was truly an inspiration to all.
Her message aligned so clearly with our company values and mission.
She was humble, charismatic and engaging, and did a remarkable job connecting with the audience.
A true hero, and very compelling and entertaining keynote speaker.
Would definitely engage again!”

Melissa, Senior Vice President Operations at Scooter's Coffee

“Nicole is truly the most inspirational speakers we have ever had at our company. She has so many messages of resilience, resurgence and hope.
Thank you Nicole for being amazing!”

Jill, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer US Operations at Nexteer Automotive

“For years, I’ve been a dicerning volunteer member of the East Bay Women’s Conference (EBWC) Program Committee. Nicole delivered on our 2020 conference theme- WOW (Wonder of Women)! She had a room of almost 600 women on their feet for a standing ovation. While she may not be flying now, her superhero cape is still flying on her! Even though she was the only fighter pilot in the room, everyone in the audience could relate to her and her inspiring story. She is both ordinary and extraordinary!”

Allison, CPC, Dynamic Speaker

“I had to pause for a moment to give a huge thanks to Nicole Malachowski who honored us with her presence and story for our NCTUE annual conference. She told her story of the many personal and cultural challenges that she has faced in her life and career. She was able to underscore this motivation with the exciting, dramatic, and heroic stories of being an F15 pilot as well as being the first women to fly for the elite Air Force Thunderbird Arial Demonstration squadron. Nicole left our entire audience in AWE and for the remainder of the conference she was a reference point for conversations and motivation in how we could develop plans to overcome challenges of our own. If you ever have the opportunity to see or hear Nicole speak it is a must see event that will not disappoint!! Thank you so much Nicole for your service, your leadership, and your motivation that you left us all with.”

Brian, AT&T Director of Credit Policy and Strategy

“Nicole was our guest keynote at our 2019 TechED event. The audience was riveted to her life’s Journey. She exemplified determination and empathy in her talk – harnessing headwinds. Well done Nicole!”

Liza, Chief Information Officer at County of Marin

To enquire about Nicole Malachowski for your event or corporate function, simply contact us via or call a booking agent on 0203 9158 282.