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Stone named speaker for Blue Chip Community Business Award

By Staff | Aug 11, 2010

Nikki Stone, an Olympic Gold Medalist, will appear as the keynote speaker at the Southwest Florida Blue Chip Community Business Award luncheon on Nov. 4.

Olympic Gold Medalist Nikki Stone will appear as the returning keynote speaker for the 16th Annual Southwest Florida Blue Chip Community Business Award luncheon. Stone, who spoke at the 2006 Blue Chip events, will help honor this year’s winner Thursday, Nov. 4 at Harborside Event Center in Fort Myers.

Coordinated and sponsored by BB&T-Oswald Trippe and Company, the Blue Chip Award program recognizes small businesses that have overcome adversity to achieve success.

“Nikki is the only speaker we’ve asked to make a return appearance as a keynote speaker,” said Gary V. Trippe, CIC, managing director at BB&T-Oswald Trippe and Co. “She has an impressive ability to relate her life and stories in her books with our Blue Chip nominees.”

Earlier this year, Stone released her second inspirational book, “When Turtles Fly: Secrets of Successful People Who Know How to Stick Their Necks Out.” When Turtles Fly intertwines Stone’s triumphant success story around inspirational stories from contributors like Shaun White, Tommy Hilfiger, Lindsey Vonn, Dr. Stephen Covey and Prince Albert as well as Stone herself. The book has been recognized as an Amazon bestseller.

She is also a contributing author to the book “Awaken the Olympian Within: Stories from America’s Greatest Olympic Motivators.”

Stone’s tenacity and refusal to step down from a challenge helped her overcome incredible challenges. She brought home America’s first-ever Gold Medal in the risky sport of inverted aerial skiing in the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan after overcoming a career-threatening chronic spinal injury less than two years earlier.

Ten doctors told Stone that due to damage to two spinal discs, she probably would never wear a pair of skis again, much less stand or walk. So the thought of skiing off a 12-foot wall of snow that launches aerialists five stories at almost 40 miles per hour into the air became a dream.

However, against insurmountable odds, Stone reached the sport’s highest acclaim atop the Olympic podium. Her tenacity helped her earn 35 World Cup medals, 11 World Cup titles, four national titles, two yearlong Aerial World Cup titles and a World Championship title. She also became the first pure aerialist ever (male or female) to become the yearlong Overall Freestyle World Cup Champion.

Stone is also a magna cum laude undergraduate of Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., and a summa cum laude master’s graduate of the University of Utah in the field of sports psychology.

Charlotte, Collier and Lee county for-profit businesses that have been in operation for at least three years and employ five to 400 people are eligible for the award. Applications, which must be submitted no later than Sept. 13, can be requested by contacting Stacey Mercado at 239-433-7189 or SMercado@BBandT.com. Independent judges will select the winning entry.

Harborside Event Center is located at 1375 Monroe Street in Fort Myers. Registration begins at 11 a.m. The program starts at 11:30 a.m.

The Southwest Florida Blue Chip Community Business Award is endorsed by the Bonita Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce, Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce, Charlotte County Economic Development Office, Christian Chamber of Southwest Florida and Beyond, City of Cape Coral Economic Development Office, Economic Development Council of Collier County, Edison State College, Englewood-Cape Haze Area Chamber of Commerce, Florida Gulf Coast University, Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, Gulfshore Business, Hodges University, Lee County Economic Development Office/Horizon Council, Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce, Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce, Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce, Southwest Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, The Chamber of Southwest Florida, The Greater Fort Myers Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce.