Black History Month Spotlight: Bonnie St. John on Learning from History
2 months ago
Abullseyeview.com presents their interview with Olympian Bonnie St. John!
In honor of Black History Month, Target invited Olympian Bonnie St. John to share her personal story and professional experience with Target team members.
Despite having her right leg amputated at age five, she became the first African American ever to win Paralympic medals in ski racing, taking home one silver and two bronze medals 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 is certainly an inspiration—NBC Nightly News agrees, naming her “one of the five most inspiring women in America” in 1996. She has never let obstacles prevent her from becoming a champion skier, Rhodes Scholar, best-selling author, single mother or successful business owner.
Below, we talk to Bonnie about Black History Month and what it means to be a great leader.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
As the first African American to win an Olympic medal in ski racing, I guess I am Black history in a way! By celebrating breakthrough moments in history, you’re celebrating people who took risks and persevered despite hardships along the way. I think about amazing African American women who achieved historic “firsts,” like Condoleezza Rice, Susan Rice and Lisa P. Jackson. These women are history, and I take this time to reflect on their accomplishments. There are a lot of lessons to learn from diversity history.
What lessons have you learned from these women?
Take Condoleezza Rice—she started out in a world where she couldn’t drink out of the same water fountain as some people and she went on to hold one of the most powerful positions in the world. In the face of discrimination, she had the strength and optimism to challenge the status quo and move forward. There’s a lot of inspiration in her story for today’s women. Yes, we still have challenges—and they may not look exactly like those that women of the past faced—but stories like Condoleezza’s demonstrate that you can always achieve more than you realize.