Monique’s Story

Ask Monique Fortenberry how to survive hardship with dignity, and she’ll tell you from personal experience how to translate dire straits into smart work and creative problem solving. Ask her at karaoke night and she’ll sing it to you–but be careful, she may get you leading the audience as back up. As a senior executive and career public servant with nearly 20 years of service–advancing deftly through leadership roles–Monique’s professional story as a lawyer and leader builds directly on the tenacity and spirit she cultivates from challenge.

>> On Reaching an Audience

Monique steers an audience to peace through perspective, and to possibility through persistence. She accomplishes this by telling the stories of her own hard-fought life battles, in the gentle, removed, matter-of-fact way she relates to them. There is emotion here, in her history. With it, she feels out the emotion in the crowd and in their issues at hand–whether it’s law students struggling or business owners building–and delivers a mesmerizing combination of soft heart and tough solutions. She touches the audience as a result, sending people home inspired about the obstacles in their own lives, contemplating new ways of accessing them for the experience they offer rather than feeling owned or stopped by them.

>> Invite Monique to Speak to your organization

From longevity and creativity come change, growth and excellence. Monique offers keynotes and panel contributions, and especially enjoys speaking to emerging leaders, lawyers, and students, and the organizations that help them excel. Contact her here to invite her to your event.


Monique’s Career Bio

Monique Fortenberry is a member of the Federal government’s Senior Executive Service. She currently helps to lead operations at an independent consumer protection agency, with a focus on employee engagement, leadership development, and organizational culture. Prior to joining her current agency, she served as Deputy General Counsel of the U.S. Small Business Administration, and worked closely with the General Counsel and a team of senior executives to lead and manage SBA’s 150-person law office, ensuring delivery of high-quality, comprehensive legal services to SBA’s employees and business units in headquarters and ninety-two field and branch offices. She oversaw field legal operations and staff and led and advised key departmental and cross-agency initiatives, committees, and boards.

Monique held several other positions at SBA, including Associate General Counsel for General Law, Chief Counsel for Disaster Assistance, and Acting District Director of SBA’s Los Angeles District Office. As Acting Director, Monique led the delivery of SBA programs in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties, worked with a network of SBA-funded resource partners to provide business counseling services to entrepreneurs, and delivered keynote addresses and presentations about SBA’s lending, contracting, and business development programs to in person groups of 10 to 1000 and on local and syndicated radio.

Monique spent time in private practice as an employment lawyer and served as Law Clerk to the Honorable Frederick D. Dorsey, D.C. Superior Court. She graduated from Northwestern University and Georgetown University Law Center and has served on the board of directors of the Greater Washington Area Chapter (GWAC), National Bar Association, Women Lawyers Division, the Washington Bar Association, and the DC Bar Lawyer Assistance Program. She enjoys mentoring law students, young lawyers, and emerging leaders, spending time with her nephew, and using her thumb as a microphone.

In 2013, Monique completed an internship with the noble and generous Seth Godin and a team of 17 amazing world-changers who designed and built a prototype for Krypton Community College, a new approach to online learning.  To learn about the project, visit:  In 2012, she received GWAC’s Rising Star, Government Sector Award and was invited to deliver a keynote address. Her inspiring remarks are available at:

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