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Bonnie St. John - 1st African-American ever to win medals in Winter Olympic competition.

Renata Chlumska  - Adventure athlete who became the first Swedish and Czech woman to climb Mount Everest and in 2005 did a circumnavigate of the lower 48 States of the United States by her own power.

An African-American from a family of modest means, Bonnie became an amputee at age five. Against tremendous odds, she used imagination and determination to push past the limitations of disability and win a silver and two bronze medals in downhill skiing in the 1984 Paralympics in Innsbruck, Austria. As the first African-American to win Olympic or Paralympic medals in skiing, she has been honoured at the White House during the annual Black History Month Celebration.

More than an Olympic skier, Bonnie's other accomplishments include an honours degree from Harvard, a Rhodes scholarship, multiple awards for her innovations as an IBM sales rep, and a position on the White House National Economic Council. President Obama named her to represent the US in delegations to both the Winter Paralympic Games in Vancouver and the Summer Paralympics in Rio.

NBC Nightly News called Bonnie, “One of the five most inspiring women in America.” She has also been featured on the Today Show, CNN, and The Montel Williams Show. In addition, the nation's leading publications, such as the New York Times, Oprah Magazine, Essence, and People Magazine have profiled Bonnie and noted her extraordinary achievements.

Drawing on her unique experience, analyses, and signature brands of resilience and inclusion, Bonnie St. John established Blue Circle Leadership with the mission to equip professionals with research based, rigorously tested, easily actionable tools and techniques that directly improve bottom-line business results.

Now, Bonnie focuses on bringing out the best in others through executive coaching and motivational speaking for corporations and associations, as well as writing books and articles.

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Listen to Bonnie Now!

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Show notes

  • Who is Bonnie

  • Some of the challenges Bonnie has faced becoming a ski racer

  • Getting into skiing at a young age

  • Having an amputation when she was 5 years old

  • Learning to ski on one leg

  • Training hard and qualifying for the Paralympics

  • Competing in the 1984 Winter Paralympics in Austria

  • Dealing with a lack of snow

  • Was it life changing winning medals

  • Being picked as a Rhode Scholar

  • Learning to work with the press

  • Taking a year off from Harvard

  • Going to Oxford University for 4 years

  • Working for IBM and working for President Clinton at the White House

  • Starting to focus on leadership development

  • Leadership for women

  • Having confidence

  • Writing with her husband

  • Having to prove herself over and over again

  • Book: Live Your Joy

  • Smiling through the challenges

  • How have things changed over the past 30 years

  • The rise of Trumpism and the increase in animosity

  • Self care and making sure to make it at a priority

  • The downside of socials media

  • The power of polarising views

  • Trying to be seen and heard

  • Building resilience and embracing success

  • Focusing on micro-resilience

  • Why resilience doesn’t have to be big things

  • The biggest challenge is incorporating it into your life

  • Day to day routine and what that looks like

  • If you were to give a TED Talk…

  • Ted Talk - Be More Resilient with a FIRST AID KIT FOR YOUR ATTITUDE!

  • Building your own “first aid kit”

  • Making a choice and the silence behind it - Martin Seligman

  • I choose to….

  • The importance of sharing what’s in your “first aid kit”

  • Figuring out what type of support you need in challenging situations

  • From training to failure to - training to growth

  • The power of your words

  • Reframing things - a great side and a good side

  • How you can connect with Bonnie

  • Blue Circle Leadership

  • Final words of wisdom from Bonnie

  • Learning to get up when you fall down

  • Get back into the race


Social Media


Facebook @bonniestjohn

Twitter @bonniestjohn

Listen to the Straight Up Podcast:


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