Wagnon was the daughter of Macbeth and Nancy Wagnon. She graduated from Mountain Brook High School and earned a bachelor's degree with a major in political science at Birmingham-Southern College in 1983. As a student she worked alongside Ann McMillan on George McMillan's 1982 campaign for Governor of Alabama.
After graduating, Wagnon worked as a legislative information specialist for the Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives for four years. She left that job to become program coordinator for the CORO Foundation's "Women in Leadership" campaign. In 1990 she was hired as director of development for the Library Theatre in Washington D.C.
Wagnon has been deeply involved in promoting arts, education and culture. She worked part-time coordinating accessibility for the City Stages music festival. She also volunteered as a reading tutor with Better Basics.
- Garrison, Greg (May 22, 2015) "Bonner Wagnon made her mark in politics, art scene and non-profit work." The Birmingham News