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Leadership Institute Columbus State University The Forum

Bonnie St. John

Bonnie St. John

Leadership consultant, Olympic Medalist and best-selling author

For over twenty years, Bonnie St. John has circled the globe as a keynote speaker and leadership consultant for over five hundred different companies, non-profits and associations. From Fortune 100 C-suites to front line management, Bonnie’s initiatives (both live and web-based), have inspired leaders at every corporate level to improve their skills, hone their thinking, and expand their horizons to new levels of performance. Her flexible, individually tailored, highly impactful, yet entertaining presentations are designed to provide insightful and inspirational solutions to the global, ever changing challenges of the 21st Century workplace.

Bonnie has risen to the highest levels of achievement in a variety of endeavors throughout her life. Despite having her right leg amputated at age five, she became the first African-American ever to win Olympic or Paralympic medals in ski racing, taking home a silver and two bronze medals in downhill events at the 1984 Paralympics in Innsbruck, Austria. In recognition of this historic achievement, Bonnie was quoted on millions of Starbucks coffee cups and was honored at the White House by President George W. Bush.

Bonnie graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard University and earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, taking an M.Litt. in Economics. After returning to the US, she began her business career at IBM where she won awards as a sales rep. Soon, though, Washington came calling and Bonnie was appointed by President Bill Clinton as a Director for Human Capital Policy on the White House National Economic Council.

The celebrated author of six books, Bonnie co-authored her most recent #1 bestseller, How Great Women Lead, with her teenage daughter, Darcy. Together they traveled around the world on an extraordinary mother-daughter journey into the lives, and life lessons, of fascinating women leaders including Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, fashion designers, CEOs, women’s rights activists, and many more.

Bonnie also enjoys “giving back.” She frequently donates personal appearances to schools, homeless shelters, community groups, and other organizations in hundreds of locations while traveling for corporate clients. During the winter, she coaches disabled ski racers for the Adaptive Sports Foundation in Windham, NY. In 2010, Bonnie once again represented the USA as a member of President Obama’s official delegation to the Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

Bonnie has been featured extensively in both national and international media including: The Today Show, CNN, CBS Morning News, NBC News, PBS, NPR, and The New York Times, as well as People, “O”, and Essence magazines, to name just a few. NBC Nightly News called Bonnie, “One of the five most inspiring women in America.”