Michelle "Sonic" Ruehl

Lead Speaker

Michelle “Sonic” Ruehl is a multifaceted individual, juggling roles as a non-profit founder, military combat pilot, educator, writer, and mother of two.

Michelle "Sonic" Ruehl professional headshot

She is currently working in homeland defense at NORAD and United States Northern Command in Colorado. She’s a former Pentagon director of communications and lead author for the 2022 National Military Strategy. Previously, she served as a White House Fellow, working as a speechwriter for the Secretary of Transportation and the Vice President of the United States.

Sonic’s aviation passion extends to her role as a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies and as a Tillman Scholar completing her Ph.D. dissertation. Over a decade of experience in education includes teaching at the U.S. Air Force Academy and educating children in various countries. She also contributes to mental health through equine therapy for veterans with PTSD and leads a non-profit conducting leadership camps for military families.

An Air Force Academy graduate, Michelle’s military journey encompassed flight training, C-130 qualification, teaching, and combat missions, amassing 807 combat hours. She volunteered in various capacities during overseas deployments, including teaching local children and working with NATO partners.

Motivated Community Servant, Combat Veteran, and Inspirational Leader

Sonic brings her passion for people, her experience working at the highest levels of government, and a touch of humor to every engagement. She promises you will leave each Afterburner event with a renewed sense of commitment to your own life’s work.

Michelle Sonic Ruehl - in a flight suit speaking on stage