Suzanne Congdon LeRoy
Speaker • Author • Human Rights Advocate
Dr. Suzanne Congdon LeRoy has been speaking publicly for more than 20 years, initially as a nurse practitioner and health and human rights advocate, and most recently as a published author. Suzanne has been a nurse practitioner for 34 years with specialty certifications in Women’s Health, Family Practice, and advanced practice HIV/AIDS. She earned a Bachelors, Masters, and Ph.D. in Nursing at the University of Minnesota, and she completed post-graduate and executive education at the University of St. Thomas and Harvard Kennedy School.
Suzanne’s experiences throughout the world have enabled her to speak with expertise and compassion about issues affecting vulnerable populations (maternal/child health, trauma-informed care, HIV/AIDS, at-risk youth, violence prevention, and the importance of education (scholastic, outdoor and experiential, the arts). In her spare time she enjoys hiking, canoeing, the great outdoors; and a lifelong interest in travel, global cultures, art history and architecture.
Author and Human Rights Advocate
On June 27, 1977, the double homicide of Suzanne’s grandmother, Elisabeth Mannering Congdon, and the nurse who valiantly tried to protect her irrevocably changed a family and the entire state of Minnesota. This traumatic experience and the private nightmare Suzanne endured became the basis for finding deep reserves of courage and perseverance.
100% of proceeds, after taxes, from the sale of Nightingale are used to support health and human rights initiatives that benefit women and girls with an emphasis on education (scholastic, outdoor and experiential, the arts); reproductive health; and violence prevention.
In her spare time Suzanne enjoys hiking, canoeing, the great outdoors; and a lifelong interest in travel, global cultures, art history and architecture.
“This powerful memoir tells the story of a young girl whose beloved grandmother provided security in the midst of an otherwise unpredictable and sometimes violent family. Many children in such circumstances would lose hope, but the author transformed her anxiety into passion for making the world a safer place for children and vulnerable adults. The book also provides a rich source of information for those interested in the history of notable Minnesota families. The writing is compelling and worth taking to heart.”
—Harold D. Grotevant, Ph.D., Rudd Family Foundation Chair and Professor of Psychology, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Suzanne Congdon LeRoy pays tribute to the life and extraordinary legacy of her grandmother, Elisabeth Mannering Congdon. As a transformative storyteller Suzanne uses a framework of hope, optimism, and the power of possibility as she describes the ineffable relationship between healing oneself, service to others, and the connection to the spirit and beauty of the earth that made her whole again. She concludes with “four life lessons” after coming through tragedy and loss; described by attendees as moving, inspirational, and heartfelt.
Partial List – Past Presentations/Events
American Red Cross
Cloquet Public Library
Duluth Rotary Club 25
Junior League of Minneapolis
Kiwanis Club of Friendly Duluth
Metropolitan State University School of Nursing
National Council on Family Relations
University of Minnesota School of Nursing
Virginia Public Library
Willmar Public Library
Woman’s Club of Minneapolis
*Private Events: England, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Sweden
“Suzanne Congdon LeRoy is an excellent speaker with a compelling story to tell. We have incredible women in the Woman’s Club and Suzanne is certainly one of them! Her presentation about her amazing grandmother was one of the best.”
– Woman’s Club of Minneapolis, Program Committee
“Dr. Suzanne Congdon LeRoy’s keynote presentation to the packed house at the spring meeting of the Duluth Rotary Club 25 and the Kiwanis Club of Friendly Duluth, was mesmerizing and inspirational. One member noted ‘You could hear a pin drop.’ Her ‘four life lessons’ were particularly well received and the lines to greet her and purchase her book were longer than I can remember for a previous Rotary Club 25 presentation. One audience member summed it up well, ‘This was the best talk that I have heard at a Rotary Club in my 35 years as a member.’ ”
–Dr. Stephen Hadley, Fourth Quarter Program Chair, Duluth Rotary Club 25
“Suzanne Congdon LeRoy’s presentation was one of the best-attended author events we have hosted. Ms. LeRoy held the
audience in rapt attention and answered questions with grace and dignity. Ms. LeRoy’s memoir and presentation are an important addition to the history and legacy of this widely recognizable family…”
—Mark J. King, Adult Services Librarian, Cloquet Public Library
“Wonderful storyteller… It was an honor having Suzanne visit our library.”
—Carol Gunderson, President of the Friends of the Virginia Public Library
“Tremendous speaker exuding warmth, honesty, and courage. Suzanne’s message of hope shines brightly in even the darkest circumstances.”—Kathy Ehlen, Page Turners Book Club
“Suzanne Congdon LeRoy joined KAXE in Grand Rapids, MN and she was such a gracious guest. I loved that I could learn more about the history of her grandmother, Elisabeth Congdon.
Her story has been missing from Minnesota history books and long overdue.”
—Heidi Holtan, Program Director KAXE/KBXE, Northern Community Radio
“Suzanne’s presentation at our library was extremely well received by attendees who benefited from hearing the inspiring and untold story about her grandmother, Elisabeth Congdon. She took the time to individually meet everyone who came to the presentation and engaged the audience with her wonderful storytelling ability. It was an honor to host Suzanne as a speaker.”
—Annice Sevett, Adult Librarian, Willmar Public Library
Audience Comments : “great storyteller,” “inspiring,” “fascinating,” “informative and personable,” “warm personality, feel like I know her,” “excellent presenter,” “uplifting,” “spoke from the heart.”