In May, I along with over 200 attendees, were honored to be in attendance at the retirement celebration for Roger King, former president of EO Johnson. GreatAmerica has worked with EO Johnson, providing office equipment financing solutions for quite some time. Because of this business relationship, I have had the privilege of getting to know Roger over the last 15 years, and we’ve grown from business partners to friends. Roger leaves a legacy of leadership, not only to the EO Johnson family, but to the many lives he has touched over the course of his 44 years in the Office Equipment Channel. The five most impactful leadership attributes I have learned from Roger are: people come first, be humble, do good, count your blessings, and have fun along the way.
People Come First.
With Roger, people have always come first. In his interactions with others, he makes a point to ensure they know he has their best interests at heart. He always meets you eye to eye, and always genuinely asks, “How are you doing?” He does so in such a way that you feel compelled to completely open up to him. It’s automatic and it’s genuine. He is completely in tune with each person he talks too. You’ll often see his hand on their shoulder or arm around their neck – all while sporting a contagious smile and laugh that draws those around into the conversation.
One of his greatest qualities is he is a connector of people, and I believe he’s so effective at this because he puts the needs of people first. It is common to hear him say “You know who you should talk to?” or “I know someone who can help with that!” If there is anything anyone one needs, he is eager to help them in any way he can. His authentic care is seen and felt in every encounter, and you will not leave his side without a big hug goodbye.
Roger has connected people across the country for years, and I expect he will continue to do so for many more!
How do you ensure the people you engage with know they come first?
Roger is a true listener with a humble heart. His calm, caring demeanor has won the hearts and minds of those that come across his path. When receiving accolades and recognition for his accomplishments, he is always quick to deflect to those that have been alongside him, be it in contributions within his community or the independent Office Equipment Dealer Channel.
Roger is an inclusive leader who draws people in to celebrate a team win versus having it be all about him. He’s always been quick to give recognition and raise others up, which leaves people desiring to be part of his circle. I, like many, have been graced by his humble spirit. Roger has impacted so many with his ability to inspire and raise others up around him. I look forward to hearing stories of him continuing to do so as he adventures across the country with his amazing wife, Kathy!
How do you stay humble in your pursuit of success?
There were many times that I have heard Roger say, “Do the right thing, and the right things will happen to you.” or “Do good, and good will come.” Roger doesn’t say anything that he doesn’t truly believe in. His authenticity shines through because of this. I’m a big believer in what you put out into the world you will get back, and Roger is a living testament to this. He is relentless in his pursuit to help people. Our COO, David Pohlman, said, “After a conversation with Roger, you walk away feeling better than you did prior. If you’ve ever interacted with him, you’ve probably witnessed his effortless ability to energize and elevate the enthusiasm of those around him. It’s contagious and you can’t help but be inspired to emulate his positive energy in your own conversations with others.”
Over 200 people were in attendance at the celebration, and more than 15 people got on stage to share the impact Roger has made, not only professionally through his work in the office imaging channel, but in their personal lives as well.
Roger has done so much good for so many, and I can’t wait to watch the boomerang effect continue on as he enjoys his next adventure in life.
How do you find time to help others every day?
Count Your Blessings.
Ahhhh… my favorite Rogerism! You will not depart from talking or spending time with Roger without hearing his farewell comment, “And don’t forget to count your blessings!” In all things big and small, great and hard, focusing on the blessings we have in this life is vital for happiness. I have had a lot of long conversations with Roger over the years, and we whole heartedly agree, through our personal experiences with family and friends, being firmly planted in faith and gratitude has carried us through it all.
Thank you, Roger, for inspiring me, and every life you touch, to focus on what’s most important. We are all better because you share your blessings with us!
How do you find gratitude, not only in the best times, but also in difficult ones?
Roger is proof that if you work hard and play hard, you will have a lot of fun along the way. In any meeting or event, he can be found working the room, navigating relationships, and capitalizing on opportunities to connect, network, and learn. He is the first to say “One more!” just as everyone is ready to call it a night, but is also the first one to breakfast the next morning.
Roger’s passion for life is refreshing. He genuinely wants everyone in the room to be having a good time. As we walked into his retirement celebration, he was standing near the door greeting and hugging every single person that entered the building. During his speech, he called several out by name and shared a comment or memory. By the end of the night he had worked his way back through the crowd, ensuring he had time with everyone in attendance. You could hear his two common phrases ringing across the room, “Are we having fun?” and “Have I told you I love you today?”
Yes, Roger, we are all having fun and no you haven’t told me today, but I know you will call soon to do so!
How do you make time for fun?
Roger is one of those individuals that you are drawn to. He has the infectious energy you want to be around. I, like so many, am honored to have had him as a constant presence in my life over the last 15 years, learning and laughing along the way. Thank you for sharing with us all, Roger.
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Cheers to many more years of love, friendship, and blessings, Roger!