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Home | SportsMakers | Bonnie St. John
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Color: red
Food: chocolate
Quote: People fall down, gold medal winners get up first.
Season: summer
Birthplace
Detroit, Michigan
Interview Description:

Biography |

Interview Date: 08/11/2016

Olympic skier Bonnie St. John was born on November 7, 1964 in Detroit, Michigan to Ruby Cremaschi-Schwimmer. As a result of a stunted leg at birth, St. John was forced to have her leg amputated at age 5. Fortunately, her mother introduced her to what would become her legacy, skiing. In 1979, St. John began skiing with the amputee club and would become the third best amputee skier in the nation. While attending Harvard University, St. John qualified for the 1984 Winter Paralympics, where she won two bronze medals and a silver medal, becoming the second fastest woman in the world on one leg in that year, and the first African American to medal in the Winter Paralympics. St. John graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1986, earning her A.B. degree in government. St. John was awarded a Rhodes scholarship that same year, and earned her M. Litt degree in economics from the University of Oxford in 1990.

Upon graduation, St. John began her career at IBM, becoming an award winning sales person, specializing in image products. In 1992, she was appointed by President Bill Clinton as a Director for Human Capital Issues on the White House National Economic Council. St. John left her position at the White House in 1994, and pursued a career as a writer and speaker, founding Blue Circle Leadership. Blue Circle Leadership assists companies and other organizations in creating a culture of sustainable growth, with clients that include Target, FedEx, Microsoft, Pepsi, and Disney, among others. St. John spoke during the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Paralympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, and in 2010, she represented the United States as a member of President Barack Obama’s official delegation to the Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada.

President George W. Bush honored St. John for Black History Month at the White House in 2008. St. John was awarded an honorary doctorate by Lasell College in 2004, and by Miami University of Ohio in 2015. She has written six books, including two Amazon #1 Best-sellers – Live Your Joy, published in 2009, and How Great Women Lead, which was published in 2012 and co-authored with her daughter, Darcy Deane. How Great Women Lead features a compilation of interviews with influential women leaders such as Condoleeza Rice and Hillary Clinton. St. John was selected by NBC Nightly News as one of the five most inspiring women in America in 1996, and has appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, Montel, and the Discovery Health Channel.

St. John lives in upstate New York with her husband, Allen Haines, and has one daughter.

Bonnie St. John was interviewed by The History Makers on August 11, 2016.

Speaker Bureau Notes: