Top 10 Most Inspiring Women 2016

Dr. Robyn Odegaard

Champion Performance Development | Founder | Visit Website 

Jane Clark, Co-Founder & Creative Director of Brandswan, a Delaware web design agency

Why We Chose Dr. Robyn Odegaard

“When I first met Robyn at a Wonder Women Tea, she intimidated me. Before me stood a goddess — tall and blonde. She was totally present and owned her space. “What a pro!” I thought. I tried to pretend that my tiger-striped tights and long dangling earrings didn’t pale in comparison to her super-put-together look (which I later found to be her personal brand). I continued to run into her at various networking events and at some point we connected more personally on Facebook and shared various phone calls. WOW! What a pleasure. Robyn is not only kind and caring, but she wears herself on her sleeve and has no problem sharing her amazing life stories. I highly recommend you get to know this super smart gal who I’ve had honor of meeting. Oh — and she’s really good at what she does. 🙂 Read on.”

Jane Clark, Co-Founder of BrandSwan

Dr. Robyn Odegaard

Champion Performance Development | Founder | Visit Website


The Story

Tell us how it all started. Why? What’s the story?

I didn’t have an opportunity to go to college right out of high school so I got a job working in the back office of a bank. I was always that person who people came to to share their stories and get advice. I used to joke and that I didn’t even get paid five cents (Peanuts joke).

In my early 30’s a manager from another department came into my office with an employee who was crying so hard she couldn’t breathe. He said, “Can you talk to her? Her boyfriend just held a gun to her head for two hours” and walked out of my office. I did talk to her. I went with her to the apartment, hid the guns, grabbed as much of her stuff as we could and got her out of there.

That event had a profound effect on me. I realized I was wasting my talent for helping people by having a job (not a career) in technology. I quit my job, sold my house and my second car and went to college for the first time. I got my undergrad, masters and doctorate in six and half years. I started Champion Performance Development the semester before I graduated.

Biggest Success

What is your biggest success so far?

That’s a tough one. I’m really proud of being the author of two books and being a keynote speaker where I get to share my knowledge with hundreds of people. And being the speaker coach of multiple TEDx speakers and people doing speaking competitions has been extremely rewarding. But perhaps my biggest success is quite simply just being successful at making this a business. I had no idea what I was doing when I started. There were too many times to count when people who were supposed to be helping me told me to quit and get a job. I powered through that. My resilience, or stubbornness depending on how you look it, has allowed me to touch a lot of lives in a positive way. That might be my biggest success.

Biggest Challenge

What is the biggest challenge in your industry? What are you doing to deal with that?

The biggest challenge in this industry is anyone can call themselves a “coach.” There is no regulation for certification or training. If someone asks what I do and I say anything in the first sentence about being a “coach” people tune out. They know fifty “coaches.” I deal with it by calling myself a “Success Liaison” and explaining that I work in the space where sport psychology and emotional intelligence come together to create elite success. Think speaker coach, executive coach or corporate trainer on rocket fuel. That tends to set me apart from the crowd.


What advice would you give to a business owner starting out in your industry that you wish you would have known going in?

You might be really, really good at what you do but no one is going to hire you just because you have credentials and put out a shingle. People with no credentials, doing a lousy job will make way more money than you because they are willing to sell a promise they can’t keep. The more qualified you are to coach or train others the more honest you will be about the limitations of coaching. You can’t promise someone change. You can only promise to give them to tools to create change for themselves.

Don’t let that discourage you. Other people will give coaching a bad name. That’s not on you. Do what you do with integrity and stick with it. This is not a get-rich-quick industry when you’re doing it right. It takes time, effort, failure and fortitude.

Lastly, always remember to take care of you. You cannot support the success of others if you’re not first supporting yourself.

Surprise Tidbit

What don’t most people realize about you or your company?

Most people don’t realize how much life success comes under the umbrella of “performance” and how sport psychology and emotional intelligence skills make a huge difference in feeling fulfilled and successful overall. Because of that there are many facets of my business on a variety of high performance topics that people don’t know I do. But most importantly, I’m down to earth and know my limitations. I’m always happy to talk with someone about what I do and what I don’t do. If they need something outside my expertise, I’ll recommend someone else. If someone is interested in possibly working with me they should just call and chat. I don’t do high pressure sales and I don’t say I can do something and figure it out as I go. Real credentials. Real skills. Real results. No rah-rah. When you’re ready to roll I’m ready to help. That simple.

Stay tuned for the next fabulous gal…

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