Bonnie J. Rough
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Public Speaking


“Bonnie Rough's talk helped kick off our Fall program with a sold-out event for a roomful of enthusiastic parents and educators. Her warm, thoughtful advice and good humor helped our audience shed their inhibitions and think in new ways about teaching sex, consent, and gender equality. It was a pleasure to host!.” - Edward Wolcher, Curator of Lectures, Town Hall Seattle

Talks that spark ideas

A vibrant, inspiring, and generous presenter who connects authentically with her audiences, Bonnie J. Rough has spoken to groups across the United States and overseas on topics ranging from culture and science to parenting, education, and the writer’s life. Her audiences vary in size and type from thousands of enthusiastic learners at professional conferences to heartwarming handfuls of book lovers gathered in living rooms. Getting right to the crux of those powerful matters that bring deep meaning to our family and civic lives such as sexuality, gender equality, and reproductive and family life, her empathetic, skillful handling of sensitive subjects earns her audience feedback such as “dynamic and funny,” “honest and open,” “clear and focused,” “eloquent and intimate,” “very moving,” and “helpful and encouraging.” Seasoned with authority and leavened with passion, her approachable delivery promises to ignite curiosity, stimulate creativity, and satisfy audiences with fresh, substantial takeaways. Her crowds often linger, sparked to exchange ideas and share the stories that flow from truly transformational experiences.


Speaking topics

Every talk is tailored to a specific audience, taking into consideration the key characteristics that make your gathering unique.

As new cultural movements throw fresh light on gender inequality in American life, parents and educators wonder: How can we raise children with healthy, positive, shame-free and egalitarian attitudes about bodies, gender, sex, and love? In her captivating, funny, and fascinatingly well-researched talks, award-winning American author Bonnie J. Rough describes how her immersion in Dutch culture as a new mother transformed her approach to teaching her children about life in our human bodies, giving her a modern message and practical, down-to-earth steps that families and communities everywhere can begin using right away. With a magnetic combination of engaging cross-cultural reporting and real-life parenting experience, Rough brings the birds and the bees fully into the 21st century and reveals a practical forward path for the growing wave of parents and professionals determined to support children’s sexual development—and overall wellbeing—from birth onward at home, in schools, and across our evolving culture.

When customized for a parent audience, this talk focuses on fresh, pragmatic at-home approaches to some of life’s most important lessons or the whys and hows of supporting comprehensive sex ed in our children’s schools.

For educators, this presentation centers on how schools can successfully bring classroom messages and curricula up to date or how to inspire the broader school community to embrace the benefits of bringing school sex ed into alignment with national standards.

For students, Bonnie taps into social justice concerns and delivers a supportive message to bolster students’ own advocacy efforts, whether they seek to bring world-class sex ed into their school or simply to better support one another in a world blooming with sexual and gender diversity.

General and Professional Audiences
For blended audiences, Bonnie tailors a combined approach.

Book Clubs and More
She also offers parent workshops, educational consulting, meeting facilitation, and book-club visits.

Workshops, trainings, and consulting: Bonnie is a trained facilitator; her workshops and professional consulting are uniquely outcomes-based.

Dynamic, funny, excellent presentation. An extraordinary writer, very hard act to follow.” - WOTS conference attendee

Praise for speaking

"Amazing! Thank you for the eloquent and moving presentation."
-Member, NSGC Annual Education Conference

“Bonnie Rough is a fantastic storyteller. Her honesty and insight are invaluable.”
-Genetic Counselor/Atttendee, NSGC Annual Education Conference

"I really enjoyed our gathering and the low-key yet skillful way Bonnie facilitated." 
-Elsa, Seattle Parent Workshop participant

"Spectacular! This is the writer I want to be, most polished presenter I’ve ever seen." 
-Write on the Sound Conference attendee

"Helpful, humorous, sensitive, encouraging. Best presentation of the conference."
-Write on the Sound Conference attendee

"Her energy, commitment, charisma, knowledge and experience, and warm, gentle nurturing were just top notch."
-C.R., MFA student, Ashland University

"Thanks so much for taking time to speak to our students today! These folks plan to go on to work in research and policy so it is critical that they recognize that their actions will impact real people and families—not just stories they hear or read. Personal revelations are the things that truly impact students!"
-Debra Lochner Doyle, University of Washington School of Public Health

Selected Past Speaking Engagements

Science, Culture, and Literature
Town Hall Seattle
National Society of Genetic Counselors
Edimer Pharmaceuticals
National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias
Motherhood and Words
The Loft Literary Center
Hugo House
Ladywell’s Vitality Spa & Sauna
Public libraries of Minnesota

Writing Conferences
Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP)
NonfictioNow Conference
Write on the River writing conference
Write on the Sound writing conference

University of Washington School of Public Health
University of Washington School of Medicine
University of California Santa Cruz
Texas Tech University
University of Iowa
Ball State University
Whitman College
Hamline University
Ashland University

...and many more, plus book clubs!


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