Roxanne Emmerich’s “bring it
on” approach engages and ignites
audiences—with amazing results.
By Barbara Parus FIrE Light Their
“Kids say the darndest things,” the late Art Linkletter, CPAE, said on House Party, his long-run-ning TV show that aired in the 1950s and 60s. Take Roxanne
Emmerich, CMC, CSP, CPAE, for example. When she was 4
years old, someone asked her what she wanted to be when she
grew up. “A nun and a go-go dancer,” she said without hesitation. Her relatives still chuckle about it.
Little did Emmerich know that her response would become
a self-fulfilling prophecy. Emmerich has artfully blended
the attributes of a nun and a go-go dancer in her illustrious
20-year career as a motivational speaker. She transforms organizational cultures by facilitating programs that teach people
how to be good to each other, while having fun doing it.
IT’S IN HER ROOTS
Emmerich’s obsession for transformation is rooted in her
childhood, growing up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. She literally “worked it” by milking cows, plowing fields, baling
hay and balancing rations for the cattle. Unfortunately, in
those days, all of her neighbors were losing their farms due
to bankruptcies and foreclosures.
When the farmers in her community met at the feed mill
to discuss a plea for a government bailout, Emmerich, who
was only 10 years old at the time, listened intently and wondered why they let the world dictate to them. Why were they
resigned to being victims of circumstance? Why didn’t they
just do something different?
Although this life-changing experience shaped who
Emmerich is today, the real turning point in her career came
years later when she was offered the presidency of a larger
bank “My ego was screaming ‘yes,’ while my gut was screaming ‘no,’” Emmerich says.
At the time, she was attending a seminar by Chris Clarke-Epstein, CSP, CPAE, who passed out Richard Leider’s book,
The Power of Purpose: Creating Meaning in Your Life and
Work. In his book, Leider asks readers what they wanted to
be when they were 4 years old—which really hit home with
Emmerich. When she finished reading the book, she submitted her six-month notice to her employer and immediately
began her speaking career.
Today, Emmerich—a four-time Entrepreneur of the Year
winner, member of the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, CEO
of The Emmerich Group, Inc., and author of The New York
Times best-seller, Thank God It’s Monday!—is praised for
her amazing results in corporate “spinarounds.” She teaches
people how to become “un-stuck” in dysfunctional behaviors
that sabotage an effective work culture. “One person with
a bad attitude can destroy a company and take it down,”
Emmerich says. “I’ve seen it happen.
“We (The Emmerich Group, Inc.) go into workplaces
and completely transform the results because we transform
employees into people who really care about each other and
their customers, have a hoot doing it, take the results very
seriously—and themselves very lightly,” she says. Emmerich
also readily acknowledges that it is impossible to achieve
these amazing results without total audience engagement.
REALLY DO THE HOMEWORK
Emmerich works with the top 5 percent of movers and
shakers in their industries. She has a strong presence in the
financial services sector, specifically community banking.
Before Emmerich accepts a speaking engagement, she always
gathers information about the client’s organization that does
not appear on a basic questionnaire.