Aimee Mullins: The opportunity of adversity
Aimee Mullins Speaker Profile:
Aimee Mullins was born without fibulae and, to better her chances for mobility, doctors amputated both her legs below the knee. Defying all predictions that her physical activities would be severely limited, Aimee learned to walk on prosthetic legs by her 2nd birthday, and spent her childhood excelling in athletic activities: swimming, biking, softball, soccer, and skiing, always alongside “able-bodied” kids with flesh and bone legs.
While attending Georgetown University on a full academic scholarship, she set her sights on making the US Team for the 1996 Atlanta Games and enlisted Frank Gagliano, one of the country’s most respected track coaches. Through this partnership, she became the first woman with a “disability” to compete in the NCAA, doing so on Georgetown’s nationally-ranked Division I track team. Outfitted with woven carbon-fiber prostheses that were modeled after the hind legs of a cheetah, she went on to set World Records in the 100 meter, the 200 meter, and the long jump, sparking a frenzy over the radical design of her prototype sprinting legs.
Aimee as a model:
Aimee has graced some of the most respected magazines in the world, such as Life Magazine, Sports Illustrated for Women, ID, Dazed and Confused, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, W, Glamour, Elle, Jane, Rolling Stone, Esquire and People Magazine. After Life magazine showcased her in the starting blocks at Atlanta, Sports Illustrated for Women did an entire ten page spread on her athletic accomplishments. This exposure ultimately led her to travel the world to speak at international design conferences and fueled a deep interest in body image and fashion advertising and how they relate to the standard notions of femininity and beauty. Aimee made her runway debut in London at the invitation of the legendary fashion designer, Alexander McQueen. Aimee’s likeness appears in exhibits world-wide, at such esteemed institutions as the Smithsonian, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the NCAA Hall of Fame, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Tate Modern, the Track and Field Hall of Fame, and the Women’s Museum, where she is honored for her contribution to sport among the “Greatest American Women of the 20th Century.”
Aimee’s launch in London led to her being named as one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” and, in February 2011, L’Oreal Paris announced her selection as their new Global Brand Ambassador.
Aimee as an advocate:
Aimee actively assists numerous non-profit organizations and, in April 2011, the U.S. Olympic Committee selected her as one of two Chefs de Mission for Team USA at the London 2012 Olympic Games, the highest honor given to an American by the USOC. Aimee has also done extensive work with the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF, founded by Billie Jean King), and served as the foundation’s President from 2007 to 2009. Additionally, Aimee held a vice-president appointment for J.O.B., the nation’s oldest non-profit employment service for persons with disabilities, founded in 1947 by Eleanor Roosevelt, Orin Lehman and others. She is a founding member of the leadership board to SPIRE Institute, the world’s largest and most diverse athletic development center.
Aimee as an actor:
Aimee Mullins’ film debut was a starring role in the highly acclaimed film by contemporary artist Matthew Barney, Cremaster 3, first presented in the US at the Guggenheim Museum in 2003. Cremaster 3 is “an astonishing work of creativity,” and was lauded by The Guardian as “the first truly great piece of cinema to be made in a fine art context since Dali and Bunuel filmed Un Chien Andalou in 1929. It is one of the most imaginative and brilliant achievements in the history of avant-garde cinema.”
Currently starring as Isis, she continues her work with Barney in Ancient Evenings, an adaptation of Norman Mailer’s novel of the same name. Chronicling the seven stages of a soul’s journey from death to rebirth, each chapter, while filmed, will also be accompanied by a one-time only live performance. In October 2010, they performed Khu, the second chapter, in Detroit.
*In Partnership with New Leaf Speakers
As the pace of business accelerates and established industries spin-off, evolve or die, executives face a world far more complex than that of even a decade ago. Competition, technology, paradigm shifts and globalization make “business as usual” more like “crisis as usual.” As organizations face these challenges, leaders must continually decide how to respond. Turning away is not an option….so how can challenges be addressed in new ways? How can adverse conditions be viewed with curiosity and wonder? Is it possible for your business to thrive when your industry overall is in survival mode?
Aimee Mullins will share how she has chosen to answer these questions and how every individual can adopt the mindset that adversity and change are not to be dreaded, but actually welcomed as exciting parts of today’s ‘new normal.’ From this vantage point, Aimee will share how she creates her path to success by taking the audience on a journey through some of the critical decision points she faced in her life — a life that has seen experiences at the Pentagon, the Olympics, in business, acting, modeling and as the President of the Women’s Sports Foundation. Most importantly, through Aimee’s experiences, listeners will see their personal and professional challenges through a powerful new lens and learn to respond to them in even more authentic, effective and meaningful ways.
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