Serving as the CEO of Quicken Loans Inc., Bill Emerson is responsible for the leadership and growth of the nation's second largest retail mortgage lender. The Detroit-based company employs 15,000 team members and was ranked No. 5 on FORTUNE magazine's annual "100 Best Companies to Work For" list in 2016.
Dedicated to his community, Emerson has been the recipient of the ALS Association's Iron Horse Award and the Salvation Army's prestigious William Booth Award, the nonprofit's highest honor. He also supports the Alzheimer's Association Greater Michigan Chapter. Emerson and Quicken Loans' continued support and partnership with the Tiger Woods Foundation show their deep commitment to our communities and the welfare of our youth. With their support we are able to reach thousands of underserved youth.
In a Q&A with TWF, Emerson offers a glimpse into his world and the people and experiences that have shaped him.
How did you get involved with the Tiger Woods Foundation?
Quicken Loans was interested in sponsoring both the PGA TOUR and a golf tournament. As we looked at the various tournament options, it was clear that the Tiger Woods Foundation was not only passionate about putting on great events, but they also cared deeply about improving the lives of kids across the country. The foundation has had a tremendous impact on so many.
What's the best advice you've received and given?
In both business leadership and in life, never take yourself too seriously. The most important thing you can be is authentic. Be open to other perspectives or be ready to lose all credibility.
The other piece of advice that still resonates with me today is my dad telling me that actions speak louder than words. I still remember him reminding me not to tell people what I was going to do - but show them. That is advice I pass on to everyone I can.
Tell us about someone or something that inspired you greatly.
My mom was a tremendous inspiration in my life. She would often say, "There but for the grace of God go I." That is a phrase that has meant so much in my life. It is a reminder that I need to remain humble and grateful for what I have, but to also work hard to achieve more. It really gives a great perspective on life.
Describe yourself in 10 words or less.
Father, husband, coach, challenger, inspirer, teammate, servant-leader.
There are several common traits our staff and scholars possess -- traits we believe lead to success. Which trait do you identify with and why?
Unafraid: When I think about why I love Quicken Loans, one of the first things that comes to mind is that we are absolutely unafraid. We are a company that has benefitted immensely from challenging the status quo and striving to find a new and different way of doing things. Not every idea we've pursued has been a success, but that never slows us down. When you have 15,000 team members who are looking to create something great and are unafraid of failure, you will be successful.
Unwavering: We are unwavering in so many aspects of our business -- there are certain things we will not compromise on. It's what you would expect from a company that is founded on the simple saying "Do the right thing." We refuse to compromise on our integrity or the level of service we provide our clients. In so many ways, we know WHO we are, and that drives WHAT we do.
How or why did you choose this profession?
Honestly, I answered an ad in the local newspaper to work for Rock Financial, which eventually became Quicken Loans. I quickly realized that I had the ability to use my communication skills to help our clients improve their financial situation and achieve the American dream of homeownership. There is something tremendously inspiring about what we do, and I couldn't imagine doing anything else.
What's the greatest strength of your organization?
Without a doubt, the single greatest strength of Quicken Loans is its people. There is nothing more impressive than what is possible when you have 15,000 team members aligned behind a strong core philosophy and culture.
Champions of the unexpected for 20 years.