- Ed.D. (Ethical Leadership) Olivet Nazarene University, anticipated graduation date 2018
- 2007, M.B.A. (Entrepreneurship), Washington University
- 1998, B.S. (Biology/Chemistry), University of Illinois
Born into an artistically inclined family, Joe Rojek was surrounded by music at an early age. He was involved in music performance program (clarinet and saxophone) at the University of IL in Chicago (UIC). He graduated with a BS in Biology and a Chemistry Minor (1998) thinking he was going into the field of medicine. His passions distracted him away from science, as he was most interested in sales and management. He moved to retail management. As an assistant store manager for Jewel Food Stores in Naperville and Westmont, he was selected by the CEO to be part of the future leader's program. Joe created new end-cap promotional displays and reduced shrink in the bakery department by more than 30% in one year.
After success in store operations, Joe was destined to build on his relationship management skills and was hired by the Northern Trust Company to manage the Chicago teller teams. In the first year he was able to achieve 100% client service satisfaction ratings with his teller teams with the use of secret shoppers. Within two years, he was asked to become COO for Northern Trust in Missouri. He helped to manage a new build-out in Clayton, MO. The site was profitable in three years with 17 people and $1.7BB in managed assets. While enjoying the challenges of growing the business for the bank, he obtained his MBA from Washington University in St. Louis with a focus on entrepreneurship/marketing. After completing his MBA, Joe took three years off and spent his time rehabbing a home from 1896 in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Working with the City of Chicago building department, multiple contractors, and over 20 construction subs was one of the most challenging feats of his life. In addition to rehabbing the home, Joe worked on various consulting projects conducting marketing research in both the food seasoning and fiber laxative markets.
Once Joe’s home was fully renovated, he wanted to move into a more fulfilling position to help guide adult students in higher education. In 2009, his focus became Higher Education for Adult Learners and began teaching Marketing Management for Olivet Nazarene University (ONU) at one of the institution’s partnership sites. Shortly after teaching as an adjunct for the university, Joe was hired to help lead the admissions team for ONU’s Northern Region in Chicago in January 2010.
In his second year with ONU, Joe created the Financial Solutions Team, which was an "added" financial service layer to the Admissions Team. Joe developed a model referred to as "Surround the Student". He and his team created a "student-centered" customer service wrapper around anything financial (Financial Aid, Student Accounts, and Private Loans) in the admissions process. His team branched out their efforts to include Enrollment to sharpen retention percentages. His team insured that all students had an opportunity for a "customized" financial solution if they exhaust their Federal loans. In other words, Financial Solutions provides "bridged" financial alternatives for students needing help with their Financial Aid (FAFSA), private loans and Student Accounts (tailored payment options).
In 2012, Joe was asked to lead Admissions for SGCS. He led the Admissions Team to record revenue growth, a new start record, and built a "sustainable" culture around collaboration. His leadership led to a record number of new partnerships and a round table approach to creation of new "sustainable" academic programs and professional development with faculty.
In 2014, Joe was promoted to Senior Director, Financial Solutions and Expansion Strategies. In addition to those responsibilities, Joe helped craft a manual on new site logistics, facility management, and new strategies for success in recruitment.
In September 2016, Joe was asked by VP of ONU Global to lead the direction of Business Programs for the School of Graduate and Continuing Studies. Joe loves the challenges with learning what comes with the academic side. He is particularly interested in creating “relevant” and “sustainable” academic programming that both students/employers can utilize in this ever-changing world. Joe is currently in his third year of a doctorate program at Olivet Nazarene University researching the efficacy of what the Financial Solutions Team has done for the retention of students who have been placed across all nursing programs at the university.
Joe loves his family. He is happily married to Karen and together are proud parents to Skye, Joey, and Abel. He is a classical clarinetist who plays with a Baroque trio called the Prism Chamber Ensemble in Chicago.