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Monday, December 2, 2013

MOVERS and SHAKERS: Lori St. John, Author Our Coverage Sponsored by Miraclesuit®

Lori St. John

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Born the daughter of an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Connecticut and being raised in an environment of accountability, legality and justice, Lori St. John went on to first study accounting at the University of Connecticut.

For over a decade, she practiced as a Certified Public Accountant. A chance volunteer opportunity then led her to confirm the importance of, and seek further education in, the field of law. She first studied at the New England School of Law and continued at and graduated from the Rutgers School of Law in Newark, New Jersey. As a law review journal member of the New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement, she published Commonwealth of Virginia v. O’Dell: Truth and Justice or Confuse the Courts, the DNA Controversy, 25 NEW ENG. J. ON CRIM. & CIV. CONFINEMENT 311 (1999), which earned her the distinguished Scholar’s Paper Award at the Annual Academic Convocaton at the Suffolk University Law School Lawyers’ Guild. While a student at the Rutgers School of Law she founded and directed the Innocence Project for Justice.

At graduation, she received the Eli Jarmel Memorial Prize, a Public Interest Award for “the student demonstrating the greatest interest and proficiency in public interest law.” After graduation she continued to teach at the law school while practicing as an Associate Deputy Public Defender for the Adult Felony Division of the Essex County Public Defender’s Office in Newark, New Jersey. She furthered her practice in Colorado where she litigated criminal cases in the adult felony court while also engaging in post-conviction appellate work for the Alternate Defense Counsel for the State of Colorado. While a resident in Colorado she served as a committee member of the Colorado Innocence Project. Her entrepreneurial spirit led her to successfully engage in a mountain community real estate developement project, creating a planned urban development outside of Denver. Admitted to the bar in New York, New Jersey and Colorado, she currently resides in Florida and is an international speaker and educator.

Lori’s volunteer work, just prior to law school, capitulated her into an almost four-year David and Goliath fight against the government to save an innocent man from execution. Her force and determination drew Sister Helen Prejean (author of Dead Man Walking) as she galvanized unprecedented international support, including the Italian and European Parliaments, Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa. Recognized as an expert in her field she commenced the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights in Florence, Italy where, as the lead speaker, she represented the United States. Lori has worked and consulted with many of the most noted legal and scientific experts in the United States.

Lori’s journey has been documented in a narrative non-fiction book entitled The Corruption of Innocence, a Journey for Justice, reviewed by Whom You Know:
The Corruption of Innocence offers a rare inside look at the detailed manner in which a wrongful conviction can and does occur, by describing, in harrowing terms, what happens when the wrong people (and those with a political agenda) stand behind a conviction. It depicts just how this effects the outcome of a case in the courts, and in the media.

The Corruption of Innocence offers, chapter by chapter, values and principles that are essential for high achievers and for successful business practice, demonstrating focus, determination, strategy, team building, highly efficient and efficient communication and much more! The skills Lori St. John offers are those she utilizes as an attorney, CPA, international speaker and Chief Compliance Officer for the City of Coral Gables, Florida, where she consults with the City Manager on operations, business processes, internal controls, contractual relationships and compliance with statutory and regulatory laws. Currently, she enjoys traveling the world, inspiring and educating others globally.  
Lori St John demonstrates how one inspired woman with a mission can make a difference.  We are so pleased to present Lori as our newest Mover and Shaker.  Peachy Deegan interviewed Lori St. John for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: How did each of your parents inspire you? 
Lori St. John: My father, an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Connecticut, was a conservative man of great integrity. A Yale graduate and President of the Chess Club in Hartford, Ct., he instilled strength and determination in me, and inspired me to pursue a higher education. My mother, a costume designer for the Hartford Ballet Company, instilled strong values in me and taught me to believe in myself. I learned through her that I could accomplish anything I wanted in life. 

What do you love most about Connecticut, our favorite state?
 Connecticut offers the opportunity of a variety of choices for a strong educational experience and a cultural experience that is similar to other New England states. Charming and traditional in style, it is also situated close enough to Cape Cod to offer sensational summer holidays.

How did your study and practice in accounting influence your life? 
The study of accounting taught me to be detailed and precise in all I do, which afforded me the traits I possessed to become a strong advocate of international proportion and which gives me an edge in all areas of my business life. 

Aside from law review, what are your other formative writing memories and how do they vary? My father was a poet so I dabbled in that a bit in my younger years. 

Do you have plans to write more books and if so will they continue along the path you've taken or do you look to take on new subjects? 
I will be authoring a series of books that stem from the values and skills inherent in the work I performed during my journey outlined in The Corruption of Innocence, A Journey for Justice, but are designed to be educational for the business and entrepreneurial markets. The series will address the general business audience, entrepreneur and corporate or governmental entity to educate the public on how to master your life through high achieving values, techniques and skills that bring success to your personal and business life. The strategies I used during my four year journey to champion a worldwide cause are parallel to those I utilize as an attorney, CPA, author, and serial entrepreneur, including my latest venture as a publisher, which I will also write about to assist other serious minded authors who wish to compete with the big houses in quality but retain control and greater profits for success.

Does it scare you to work with felons-why or why not? 
No. I was always comfortably at a distance and in advocating for the innocent my perspective was different than if I felt he was a guilty man. 

What percentage of those on death row would you surmise are innocent? 
The statistics hover around ten percent. I am comfortable quoting that figure. 

Do you consider yourself a Catholic and do you think it is possible to be both Catholic and believe in the death penalty for those that have evidenced that their actions justify it? 
I am by birth Catholic and Jewish, and married a Protestant but I am not very religious. I am more spiritual in nature. I am not a staunch anti-death penalty advocate and can justify the death penalty if one's actions justify it. My reservations with the death penalty system is more that we cannot justify the execution of even one innocent person. In that regard I am against the application of the death penalty in a criminal justice system that has flaws inherent in its process (from arrest, through conviction and the appellate process). 

What do you want the world to remember about Sister Helen Prejean, Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa respectively and your experience with them specifically?
I would love the world to learn from the strong convictions of Sister Helen Prejean, Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa. Moreover, their strength and ability to stand in solidarity and compassion for a person or cause that could be controversial is admirable and to be emulated. Sister Helen became a close friend of mine who was unique in that she comprehended my journey like no other. Pope John Paul II helped to ignite a worldwide fever over the death penalty and bring discussion to its fairness to the United States table. In my private meeting with him, his strength, holiness and gentile nature overpowered his fragile state. He inspired me like no other. Mother Teresa too left an indelible impression on me as even in her last days she stood ground and gave a voice to the powerless, hoping to influence mankind for love and compassion. Her invitation to me to be received by her in Calcutta still remains a strong mark in my life. 

Where do you like to eat and shop for shoes in Italy? 
I adore most all of Italy. Recently, I toured Tuscany, Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast. All three were stunning and had amazing food. I loved shopping in Sorrento as I toured the Amalfi Coast.

What do you enjoy most about being a speaker and what do you find most challenging? 
I thoroughly enjoy making a difference both by educating and inspiring others. Most challenging is the time it takes away from my other ventures. 

What would you say to anyone that thinks one person cannot make a difference? 
I would encourage them to find what inspires them and never give up on their mission/dreams. Stay authentic to yourself and be sincere and integral in all you do. 

What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence?
 I am self-motivated to achieve excellence in all I do. I adore educating myself and learning new disciplines in life. I think my parents helped to instill that but then I myself took control over my destiny. 

What are you proudest of and why? 
Of course the birth of my daughter, an amazing and accomplished young lady. Aside from that, I am most proud of my ability to stand for what I believed in despite adversity. I firmly believe that ones true character is revealed in times of adversity. 

What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do? Establish the St John Publishing House and become a well recognized international speaker and author. 

What honors and awards have you received in your profession? 
The Rutgers School of Law bestowed upon me the Eli Jarmel Memorial Prize for demonstrating the greatest interest and proficiency in public interest law. I was also honored to receive the Scholar's Paper award by the Suffolk University Law School Lawyer's Guild for my law review article in the area of Biomedical Ethics and Public Policy. 

What one word best describes you and why?
 Tenacious. Once I set my mind to something there is no stopping me. 

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan? 
I adore Central Park. 

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan? 
I love shopping at Bergdorf Goodman.

If you could hire anybody who would it be and why?
Richard Branson. Because he defines the entrepreneur and remains a down to earth man who aspires to truly make a difference in the world.

What is your favorite drink? 

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at a cocktail party? 
I could not remember someone's name and I danced around that until someone came up and introduced themselves to this person. I was saved by them. 

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan?
 I love so many of them it's hard to choose just one. 

Who would you like to be for a day and why? 
Reese Witherspoon - to interest her in the film script of my new book, The Corruption of Innocence, A Journey for Justice.

If you could have anything in Manhattan named after you what would it be and why? 
Central Park. 

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience?
My favorite experience was when my husband hired a limo to bring me (from New Jersey) to Madison Square Garden for a sports game for my birthday. Champagne and a diamond necklace completed the evening! 

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else? 
 I adore Central Park, Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall. The playhouses are simply fabulous!

If you could have dinner with any person living or passed, who would it be and why?
 I would enjoy having dinner with Marilyn Monroe. I think she was a classic who will always stand the test of time. 

What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience? 
I love the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

What do you personally do or what have you done to give back to the world? 
I brought the world to stand witness to injustice, demonstrating that one person can make a difference in the world, and the importance of integrity. Authoring my book, The Corruption of innocence, A Journey for Justice, which outlines how I gave several years of my life to champion for justice and my current ongoing mission to bring truth, integrity and accountability to the criminal justice system through educating the public. 

What do you think is most underrated and overrated in Manhattan? 
Underrated would be the incredible opportunity Manhattan offers for growth, networking and sophisticated play- both in the personal and professional arena. Overrated would be the constant hussle and bussle lifestyle. 

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite Whom You Know column and what do you like about it? 
Better Living and Travel. I love to travel!

Have you tried The Peachy Deegan yet and if not, why not? 
No, I don't drink but it sounds fabulous. 

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you? 
I love to travel internationally and explore new places and meet interesting people. Most importantly, I am on a mission to educate and inspire others globally. 

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers? 
My contact information is, like my facebook page and message me or see my web site, and send me a message through my contact page. 

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