Bonnie St. John Tells Risk Managers to 'Aim Higher' at RIMS Awards Luncheon

U.S. silver and bronze medal-winning paralympic skier Bonnie St. John addressing the crowd at RIMS.
U.S. silver and bronze medal-winning paralympic skier Bonnie St. John addressing the crowd at RIMS.

"Aim higher; normal is overrated," Bonnie St. John told attendees of the 2014 RIMS Awards Luncheon Monday afternoon.

The paralympic silver and bronze medal-winning skier, scholar, economist, and successful author addressed the RIMS crowd following the annual awards presentation to RIMS chapters and risk managers for their outstanding achievements throughout the past year, thanking them for all the catastrophic events that didn't happen in the past year due to their preventative efforts in the risk management field.

The Harry and Dorothy Goodell Award was presented to Mark DeLillo, director of risk management for Taylor Morrison, Inc. in Scottsdale, Ariz. The award, named in honor of RIMS' first president, is presented to an individual who has furthered the goals of the Society and the risk management discipline through outstanding service and achievement.

The Ron Judd "Heart of RIMS" Award was presented to Hal D. Larson, vice president, risk manager of Kent Corporation and member of the RIMS Greater Quad Cities Chapter in Iowa. The award pays tribute to the legacy of Ron Judd, who served as RIMS Executive Director for 22 years, and is presented to an individual who has been nominated by chapters for outstanding performance in furthering risk management at the chapter level. 

Scott B. Clark, risk & benefits officer of Miami-Dade County Public Schools was presented the Richard W. Bland Memorial Award. The award was created by the RIMS Kansas City Chapter in 1974 to recognize a member's dedicated commitment in the area of legislation or regulation.

The Christy Award was presented to Melissa Swanson, risk management analyst at California Polytechnic San Luis Obispo. Swanson was presented with the award for earning the highest marks on the three exams required to earn the Associate of Risk Management designation.

Willam M. Zachary, vice president of risk management at Safeway Inc. was presented the 2014 Risk Manger of the Year Award.

In addition, several RIMS chapters were presented with the Chapter Achievement Award. This year's winners are: 

  • RIMS Atlanta in the Charity, Chapter Planning, and Special Chapter Events categories;
  • RIMS Chesapeake in the Chapter Planning category;
  • RIMS Dallas-Fort Worth in the Programming category;
  • RIMS New York in the Chapter Networking category;
  • RIMS Orange County in the Newsletters category;
  • RIMS Oregon in the Special Chapter Events category;
  • RIMS San Diego in the Charity and Chapter Meetings categories; and
  • RIMS Silicon Valley in the Charity category. 

"This awards ceremony gets you to look into the future and to think about what could be possible with your career," St. John said at the keynote. "What can you achieve if you set your sights high?"

St. John went on to tell her life story, from when stunted growth of her right leg led to her decision to have it amputated at the age of five, to her first time skiing and her struggles to become a participant in the 1984 Winter Paralympics in Innsbruck, Austria. In describing how she won her two bronze medals and silver medals in the games, St. John explained how she still came out on top despite falling on a rough patch of the course: because she was quick to get up and finish the race. 

"You're in the business of preventing falls in critical places," St. John told the crowd. "You prevent many falls every year. And when you can't prevent the fall, you help people and organizations to get up faster and get back in the game. 

"I want to say thank you for all the things that didn't happen in the last year, and to encourage you, beg you, demand of you that you continue aiming higher, elevating, raising the bar on your careers and on this industry."

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