A successful company for almost 40 years, GSA maintains long-standing relationships with the speakers we represent. This year we are recognizing a speaker whose longevity has defied the odds; a speaker whose message has been heard time and time again, yet with a distinct and resonating impact every single time. Renowned sex educator, Sue Johanson, or ‘The Sex Lady,’ as she has been referred to so many times over the years, is someone who has dedicated her life to positive change by sharing her messages as a speaker.
In the early 1970’s Johanson opened the first birth control clinic in a North American high school. Seeing the need to educate and clarify in regards to this controversial subject, she began touring schools and speaking to students openly about sex and sexuality.
Johanson rose to fame as host of the Sunday Night Sex Show, which aired on radio for 14 years starting in 1984, then to TV on the W Network, and next as Talk Sex with Sue Johanson on Oprah Winfrey’s Oxygen Channel in the US, and was watched in Israel, Brazil and twenty European countries in five languages. Her show on Oxygen ran for seven seasons and became the network’s most watched program with more than 4 million viewers a night.
We all know sex sells, and while the topic is compelling and we want to learn more, it's really Johanson herself who draws in the students, the fans and the viewers. She has built the most successful campus tour of all time in Canada with thousands of keynotes to hundreds of thousands of students. From classrooms of 15 students in northern Ontario to selling out auditoriums and frosh week events – almost 6000 students showed up at Western University’s frosh week last year – Johanson never fails to leave an impression on her audience. She has received the Campus Speaker of the Year Award from the Canadian Organization of Campus Activities (COCA) more than any other lecturer. Just recently, Johanson was awarded the prestigious Order of Canada, our country’s highest honour for her work educating youth.
She’s a cultural icon, a national treasure, a dear friend, and a hoot to boot! She speaks her mind and stands for what she believes in. She speaks with the desire to truly educate, informing people using judgement-free yet honest answers.
And she’s done it longer and stronger than anyone we know.
Sue Johanson is our inaugural inductee into the GSA Hall of Fame, for her pioneering spirit and for giving a voice to sex education.