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Leading with Integrity: Former Mizzou Quarterback Cheers Others On

By Inside Columbia
ceo100223 271860 min

Photos by L.G. Patterson

After his final game as a University of Missouri quarterback, Alex Demczak started the exciting part of his life.

Leaving behind the roaring crowds, the game he loved and the thrill of being on an SEC-winning team, he girded him- self for greater challenges ahead of him. Today, at age 31, the 6-footer with an athletic frame and thoughtful demeanor is in demand as a keynote speaker, addressing groups nationwide, as well as here in mid-Missouri. Typically, he’ll speak to about 50 groups a year, ranging from high school assemblies to professional sports teams, from sales groups to corporate organizations and civic groups. Among the major corporations and organizations that have heard his pre- sentations are the U.S. Space Force, U.S. Air Force, Bridgestone, Cincinnati Reds, Cintas and Edward Jones.

Addressing a broad range of industries and organizations, Demczak gears his speeches to different audiences’ needs and interests. In one presenta- tion he may focus on ethics. In another, leadership development or sales train- ing. And he helps other groups become better communicators. But whatever group he addresses, he aims to inspire his audience to grow personally as well as professionally.

Recently, he squeezed in an interview at a local coffee shop as he was preparing for three presentations later that week. Staying closer to his home in Columbia, he was scheduled to address a Future Leaders Association in Warrens- burg; a Young Professionals organization in Jefferson City; then onto Wichita, Kan- sas, for a chamber of commerce event. Between the travels and talks, he’ll line up a guest or two for his Alex Demczak Leadership Podcast.

When asked why he thinks busi- nesses are so interested in hearing what he has to say, he replies, “My message is all about building trust — we’re coming out of these last few years where people were working remote, and they need to rebuild that trust. People are looking for ways to engage and connect in more meaningful ways at work. It starts with integrity, whether you’re the leader of the team or a teammate. This means being a person who others can see not only talk- ing the talk but walking the walk.”

Demczak defies the stereotype of the ex-football player turned motivational speaker and author. He is definitely not a “don’t let anything or anybody get in the way of your success” sort of guy. The val- ues he promotes are simple, yet powerful: Live with integrity, lead with integrity. Instead of promoting aggressive, self-centered behavior, he promotes values that can lead to a better life. He co-authored a book, The Sale: The Number One Strategy to Build Trust and Create Success, with renowned author and speaker Jon Gordon that has earned praise from such notables as Dave Ramsey, Michael Porter Jr. and Paul Goldschmidt. An endorsement from Dave Ramsey reads, “The Sale reminds us that doing business and living life with integrity is not just the right way, it’s the only way. Well done!”

It’s a book that companies frequently provide to the groups that he addresses. Carla Leible, general manager for Zimmer Communications, “loved the book,” and made it a book-of-the-month selection for Zimmer’s employees, after inviting Demczak to speak to her team. “One of our core values is continual improve- ment,” she says. “Alex is a perfect fit for our values, and his presentation was inspirational.”

Author and speaker are just two of the roles Demczak has carved out for himself. Recently he founded a company called Speaker School that helps individuals become keynote speakers and clarify their message. Companies can also bring in Speaker School to coach team members on effective communication strategies through engaging keynotes and workshops. In addition to that work, he is CEO and co-founder of Streamline Books, a book publishing company he co- founded with Will Severns. The two met at as counselors at a sports camp back in 2014 and share a common goal of helping others to write and reach audiences with inspiring messages. The company works with would-be authors, providing a wide range of services that could include help writing, editing and publishing, as well as speakers’ training.

Between workshops, keynoting and overseeing Streamline, Demczak makes sure to spend time at home with his wife, Erin, and two kids. If there’s any down time, Demczak uses it to plan for the future, one that will include seven more books he’d like to write. In the meantime, he finds talking to various groups rewarding, especially groups of business leaders and sales teams. “What I love about talking about the book is that it isn’t just about sales. Its message is deeper than that, and it ap- plies to any team that continually wants to push past barriers and grow,” he says.

That message was exactly what the Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals were looking for this fall. “He told us about his trials and tribulations during his years as a Tiger quarterback and volunteer coach. Our group’s theme was the ‘Challenge of Change,’ and his presentation showed how we can grow and become better,” says Allison Owen, professional development co-chair of Jefferson City’s Young Professionals group.

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