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Roxanne Allaire, Roxx Consulting Service, Inc.

IB Wisconsin's Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet the state's professionals. This week features Roxanne Allaire, president of Roxx Consulting Service.

Business Address: 2675 S. Calhoun Rd., New Berlin, Wis.
Phone: 414-502-ROXX (7699)
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wis.
Education: B.A. in biology, Cardinal Stritch University

Roxanne, how long ago did you create your company and what’s your quick elevator message?
I founded Roxx Consulting a little over four years ago in the fall of 2007 to help entrepreneurs, business owners, and CEOs of technology-focused companies increase their attractiveness in the market so they can attract customers, investors, and buyers faster, while eliminating their competition in the process.

What or who motivated you toward an entrepreneurial career choice?
My parents and my many aunts and uncles have conditioned me since childhood to always strive for personal fulfillment and success. Things didn’t go well for me in my household if I didn’t get decent grades on my report card. At family gatherings, my aunts and uncles would take turns imparting words of wisdom about self-sufficiency, independence, interdependence, and following your dreams. I recall things like, “Don’t let anyone tell you what to do with your life,” “Don’t rely on anyone but you to take care of yourself,” and “Don’t get stuck in a dead-end job that you hate.” It was repetitive and very black and white!

So you got the message! But things aren’t so black and white in the industry you’ve chosen to specialize in, so how do you keep current? What do you read, or who do you follow?
Yes, it’s important for me to keep current in both the high-tech and Internet marketing industries. I subscribe to Smart Brief and FIERCE newsletters to keep a pulse on entrepreneurship, online video, biotechnology, IT, and social media. I also follow industry influencers on Twitter, like Guy Kawasaki and Steve Blank, to stay abreast of what trends are grabbing their interest. I further invest in the best Internet and information marketing training on the market, such as Video Traffic Academy, Video Sales Magic, and Total Product Blueprint so I can transfer what I know to my clients’ attraction marketing strategies. Offline, I get value attending some of the educational events provided by the Wisconsin Technology Council via WIN’s luncheons and the annual Entrepreneurs’ Conference.

What was a personal high point in your career?
Although it initially seemed tragic, suddenly losing my corporate gig as an area sales manager for a bio-pharm company was a personal career high point. The transition from corporate security to self-security has facilitated substantial changes and opportunities that I can’t imagine my life without. For example, there’s no better lesson in business or accumulation of skill sets than when having to market your own company, products, and services, not someone else’s.

So now that you’ve made the jump, and you’re comfortable again, what’s next? What’s your own growth projector in your field?
I don’t necessarily feel like I’ll ever leave my company or industry; however, I do know that in the next three to five years, I’d like to be a renowned author, speaker, and investor. I like coaching and helping others achieve their personal and business goals, and I believe these roles will allow me to help even more entrepreneurs and business owners while taking my coaching skills to the next levels.

Okay, let’s go from future-think dreams to past reality and the known. Did you always want to be an entrepreneur or to help people?
As a young person I always knew I wanted to be able to effectively take care of myself, or at least have the ability to do so. I understood this meant earning a substantial salary and possibly owning my own business. When I was in high school, I wanted to be a chiropractor or a doctor of osteopathic medicine because I liked the life sciences and the holistic approach to preventing and treating disease. Because I started my family at a very young age, and because there were no chiropractic or osteopathic schools in Wisconsin, I didn’t have strong support from my spouse at that time to pick up and move out of state with our family.

Have you always lived in Wisconsin, then?
I was born in Milwaukee and raised in the suburb of Wauwatosa.

Okay, back to, hopefully, a more pleasant memory. Where did you earn your first paycheck, and how much was it?
It’s funny, but I can’t recall anything about my first paycheck because my first job experience was a little traumatic. You see, my first job was working at Chuck E. Cheese’s when I was 15 years old. Everything was going along just fine until my manager asked me to dress up as Chuck E. himself. As I was walking around in that steamy mouse get-up, pretending to be happy, I recall telling myself that I will never work in a job that requires me to do something I absolutely do not enjoy doing. So thank you, Chuck E. Cheese, for the role you played in my personal development.

Wow! We’re going to get a good experience in here now with a new direction! What brings you joy today, Roxie, outside of the office and working with clients?
I’m somewhat of a “foodie” so I like to eat out and try new menu items. I especially like cooking vegan because I’ve discovered that vegan dishes are some of the tastiest items you’ll ever have, while also being a form of healthy, guilt-free eating. I also love trying to stay fit through doing yoga, weight training, and running. But nothing beats the company of good family, friends, and music. People seem surprised to learn that my favorite genre of music is progressive house, but I don’t think they really understand what it is. When I play it for people they are pleasantly surprised; it’s very smooth and mellow with jazzy undertones.

I didn’t notice the word “travel” in all of that. Do you enjoy traveling?
Lately, my favorite place to travel is to my Dad’s lake cottage in Portage, Wis. Although it’s not the most exciting location on the planet, it’s really my family that makes it special for me. Sci-fi, junk food, and laughing at life’s curveballs equal the best of times.

What about reading? Have a recent title that might give us the flavor of what you like to read outside of work-related journals?
I can’t remember the last time I read a fiction book, but perhaps I should give it a try! The closest thing to “pleasure reading” I’ve done has been reading the autobiography Life by Keith Richards. This book is a real eye-opener for how much popular culture has changed since the 1970s. It doesn’t seem like that long ago, yet it was so different. The Stones were arrested for some of the silliest things, and then skated on things that today would get them locked behind bars for a lifetime.

This is one of our more fanciful questions: Is there any character in any sport, book, movie, or play you would most like to be identified with, and if so, why?
I think I can most be identified with Hilary Swank’s character in Million Dollar Baby because she is persistent in making a name for herself in a male-dominated arena, and she is diligent and focused toward achieving her career goal. I also identify personally with Jodie Foster’s character in Silence of the Lambs. People reacted to her as a woman first, and as a highly capable professional who is serious about her job second.

Anything you’d be willing to share about your family life?
I started my family when I was very young. I’m enjoying being a mom at age 38 with a son (Vince) and daughter (Jourdan) at ages 21 and 17 years, respectively. It would be much more difficult to maintain my career if they were 10 or more years younger. More importantly, I enjoy the dynamic of our relationship. I’m young enough to openly relate to them, yet old enough to know better and share my life’s experiences for their benefit, especially in the workforce.

Anything you care to share with other young people – let’s say someone who is looking for meaningful work in this economic climate?
Sure. Here are three steps to meaningful work in this challenging business climate:

1) Know what you enjoy doing. “Meaningful work” begins and ends with doing what you enjoy, while also being pretty good at it at the same time. If you aren’t employed yet, you have absolutely nothing to lose by pursuing an area of work you enjoy. Ask yourself what activities you are doing in which time seems to fly by or you’re behaving enthusiastically and with the most energy. Brainstorm these things on paper. Pick an area and pat yourself on the back; this exercise isn’t easy for many people.

2) Discover your personal brand. You help “who” do “what” so that they get “what benefit.” You want to be able to know and articulate this statement. Once you’ve identified your area of meaningful work, you’ll find this statement is much easier to create. Make a table of your best characteristics, and consider the benefit others get from working with you according to each trait. You can even go a step further and create a sort of personal title for yourself. For example, mine is “competition crusher.”

3) Attract employers and opportunities to YOU. You may not like to hear this (I know I didn’t), but you should not openly advertise that you are looking for a job (e.g., in your LinkedIn headline). Sadly, corporate America finds this very unattractive. Instead, you need to be attracting employers by going about your business. Your “business” is helping “who” do “what” for “what benefit,” as branded throughout your personal blog/website at Blog about your expertise and experiences and enjoy sifting through opportunities that come your way.

Here’s some food for thought … if you can get through step 3, why not just start your own business? Now is the time, and I could offer some excellent resources to help someone on a journey toward meaningful work.

Please do!

Thanks for that disclosure, and we’d like to close with another disclosure. Can you offer three words you think best describe Roxanne Allaire?
Honest, persistent, and creative.

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May 4, 2012 01:12 pm
 Posted by  John Brandt

Rock on Roxanne! You are definitely honest, persistent and creative! Good article and good advice! Thanks for sharing via this interview.

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