Born in 1969 in Sigmaringen, Baden-Württemberg, Tanja Gönner trained as a legal auxiliary (executive grade) in the judicial service. She then studied law at the Eberhard-Karls University, Tübingen. After passing the first and second state examinations, she was articled to the Ravensburg district court. In 1996 she joined a law firm and in 1999, having been admitted to the German bar, she became a partner, specialising in insolvency law (until 2004).
Tanja Gönner embarked on her political career in 1986 in the Junge Union, the youth wing of the CDU and has been a member of the CDU since 1987, and among other things served on the federal executive board from 2000 until 2012. From 2002 until 2004 she was a member of the German Bundestag. In 2004 Tanja Gönner became Minister of Social Affairs of the state of Baden-Württemberg. In 2005, she took over at the helm of the Environment Ministry, where she remained until the beginning of 2010. From February 2010 until May 2011, Tanja Gönner was Minister for the Environment, Nature Protection and Transport of the state of Baden-Württemberg and from 2011 to 2012 she was a member of the state parliament of Baden-Württemberg. Tanja Gönner was appointed Chair of the Management Board of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in July 2012.
Tanja Gönner represents GIZ in the Board of Directors of sequa gGmbH and in several trade associations, for example in the steering committee of the Federation of Employers’ Association in Hesse. She is involved in a large number of honorary activities, for example she is a member of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, of the Advisory Board of the Federal Academy for Security Policy, of the National Platform for Education for Sustainable Development, of the Advisory Committee of the Arnold Bergstraesser Institute at the Albert-Ludwig-University of Freiburg as well as member of the supervisory board of the Liebenau Foundation.