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Episode Nine: Stephanie Leese Emrich

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In this episode, Michelle Mason, FASAE, CAE, talks to Stephanie Leese Emrich. Emrich is a leading expert in customer service, speaking and advising organizations on providing high-level customer experience. She is the Chief Service Officer of ServiceSpeaks Solutions, the President of the National Customer Service Association Chicagoland Chapter and a former college professor and hotel executive.


  • Michelle Mason, FASAE, CAE

    President and CEO, Association Forum

    Michelle Mason is the President and CEO of Association Forum. Association Forum is the “association of associations” in Chicago. Founded in 1916, it has nearly 4,000 members. These members represent more than 44,000 association professionals from nearly 1,600 Chicago associations. These organizations serve 27 million individual members, have 9 million donors and generate $10.3 billion annually in economic impact. She provides strategic leadership, fiscal responsibility, and successful delivery of member value. Prior to Association Forum, Michelle served as a managing director at the American Society for Quality (ASQ). In this role, she concentrated on business development, membership, component relations, innovation, advocacy, social responsibility, and process improvement efforts. Prior to she was Vice President of Strategic and Future Focused Research at the American Society for Association Executives (ASAE).

    Michelle is a Certified Association Executive (CAE), Six Sigma Champion, and a Certified Quality Improvement Associate (CQIA). She is an ASAE Fellow (FASAE) and an Aspen Institute Ideas Fellow. Michelle completed the SmithBucklin Leadership Institute. She has a BA, MBA and MS. Michelle was the project lead for the bestselling publication, Seven Measures of Success: What Remarkable Associations Do That Others Don’t.

    Michelle has strong board experience including, ASAE Board of Directors, ABSI, Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin, PAVE, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, MIAD, King's Academy Charter School, TEMPO, and Penfield Children’s Center. She is devoted to education and learning, Michelle has served as an adjunct instructor at Mount Mary University in Wisconsin and Strayer University in Washington, DC.

  • Stephanie Leese Emrich

    Stephanie (Leese) Emrich speaks and consults on the Customer Experience, and about those who create the experience.

    Inspired by her grandfather's ideals at his Disney World-area hotel, Stephanie's own customer service journey began at Chicago's Drake Hotel. Including her college internship, associations then and now play a large part in understanding how individuals and groups evolve.
    From meeting planner to Les Clefs d’Or Concierge to Kendall College professor, each role completes the picture.

    Stephanie founded ServiceSpeaks Solutions, where her signature "Be My Guest" mantra motivates and structures organizations to shift from a transactional to an experiential culture. Core program tracks include the esteemed Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP), applicable to every business.

    As Founding President of the National Customer Service Association (NCSA) Chicagoland, every day centers on high-touch interactions and the indelible imprint made in the customer journey. As a customer experience innovator, Stephanie’s work weaves in humorous and heartfelt stories, where meaning and message remain memorable.