Blind from the age of 16, Russell Redenbaugh's achievements as a successful investor and economist, a Commissioner on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission serving under three Presidents, and a three-time Gold Medal Jujitsu World Champion fighting sighted opponents, prove that if he can, you can. Russell believes we all live in narratives that both produce and limit our opportunities. We live as though these narratives are fixed, rigid, unchangeable things. Instead, Russell shows audiences that these are only stories. They define our lives, and, more importantly, they can be changed.
Typically, motivational and inspirational talks only last until you return to your regular life. That is a pitiful return on the client’s money and the audience’s time. Most of us think that our circumstances produce our narratives, but Russell shows it is our narratives that produce our circumstances. Through a set of actions and behaviors, Russell demonstrates how you can "Shift Your Narrative" to produce more of what you care about, starting today.
Russell's life as a typical 16-year-old boy changed in an instant. The homemade rocket he built exploded in his hands, nearly killing him. After 8 months and 25 surgeries, doctors said, "We have done all we can do. You will be blind the rest of your life." Now blind with limited use of both hands, Russell decided he would not live life as a typical handicapped person - poor, dependent and homebound. He would live in the sighted world doing things that sighted people do.
Russell transformed himself into a serious student and graduated from the University of Utah, first in his class. Both Harvard and Stanford declined his admission since their belief was that no blind person could manage programs like theirs. Those schools held the limited narratives to make that true. Nevertheless, Russell went on to graduate fifth in his class from the Wharton business school at the University of Pennsylvania.
Upon graduation, Russell had 48 interviews with 48 “no’s.” It was then that a small Philadelphia money management firm decided they were in the business of investing and decided to invest, that is -- take a chance -- on Russell. He went on to become Chief Investment Officer and helped grow the firm to $6 billion in assets. After successfully selling the firm, he moved on to teach at Wharton, served as a Commissioner on the US Civil Rights Commission and as a consultant to global corporations such as IBM, Applied Materials and KLA Tencor on "Shifting the Narrative" through process/metric design. He served on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission for 15 years and developed a deeper understanding between economic policy and financial markets, later starting Kairos Capital Advisors to manage his own and his investors’ money in a different way.
Russell earned a black belt in jujitsu and won three gold medals in world championships fighting sighted opponents. His diverse achievements are tied together by the fact that conventional thinking did not accept any of them and they were only attainable when he created his own naratives. The narratives we all live in can be changed, beginning with some simple steps that you can start today.
ADA (disability), Adversity/Challenge, Attitude, Business, Financial, Self-improvement, Sports
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