Born without limbs, company CEO leads by example

ELMA, N.Y. (WIVB) – John Robinson was born a quadruple amputee–without arms or legs–but that hasn’t stopped him from golfing, hiking, and driving a car with specialized equipment. It also didn’t stop him from realizing his lifelong dream of making it big in television.

The corporate executive and entrepreneur had a long hard climb to the top, overcoming obstacles many of us cannot even imagine, but after 4 years of rejections, Robinson was hired at a television station in Syracuse, and eventually rose to top management jobs at other stations in Syracuse and Albany.

“I have never forgotten the unemployment period of time, and the struggle that I had because of my disability, trying to find that employment. So I want to pay that back to others with disabilities to try to help them.”

After making his mark in television, Robinson turned to recruitment of persons with disabilities, and founded a firm near Albany, called Our Ability, that brings those targeted workers and employers together.

Robinson’s groundbreaking work also brought him to Buffalo, as guest speaker for the annual National Disability Employment Awareness Month Business Awards Luncheon, held Thursday at The Columns banquet hall, in Elma, an event that recognizes those who actively hire workers with special challenges.

“We need to speak to businesses, in their own terms, that there is less turnover, there is less training costs, there is more retention. So you have a longer lasting employee,” insists Robinson. Speaking also as an entrepreneur, Robinson said a longer lasting employee is good for business.

The challenges Robinson has overcome in his climb to the top in the business world have been documented on national television, and he travels the country advocating for workers with disabilities.

“When we hear more positive stories about success, people working, businesses hiring–making the business’s case for hiring people with disabilities–then that will only help other businesses come to the table, and other individuals fulfill their dream.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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