Motivational Speaker, 3 Feet Tall and Rising

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2009 5:39 PM CDT
Stephenson with former president Bill Clinton.   (
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(Newser) – Sean Stephenson is 30 years old, 3 feet tall, and can’t walk without help. And that’s why he is a successful motivational speaker, psychologist, and former Bill Clinton staffer, the Chicago Tribune reports. When he broke his leg at age 10—his condition, osteogenesis imperfecta, makes him vulnerable to fracture—his mother asked him a pointed question. “Is this going to be a gift or a burden?”

Stephenson’s parents were instrumental to his rise. “We tried to instill a lot of positive things in his life, but he took it and ran with that.” Stephenson is occasionally heckled by other disabled people who say he doesn’t “identify with my disability enough,” but he doesn’t sweat it. “Being 3 feet tall and in a wheelchair is about 2% of who I am. I’m more than able. I’m playing large.”