Polish, persistent and proud

Polish CEO is this year’s Fulbright foreign lecturer

On April 8, Ewa Rogozinska will deliver the address “In the Company of Women: The Art of Global Leadership” via Zoom. 

Rogozinska is the founder and CEO of Corporate Diplomats & Translators, based in Warsaw, Poland. She also serves as the president of the Polish foundation Sport and Education Build a Good Nation and has established two foundations for women: In the Company of Business Women and The World Belongs to Women.  

Her research and lecturing are centered around gender intelligence and effective workplace communication between men and women. 

By telling her story, Rogozinska hopes she will inspire the women of Ferris to remain persistent and motivated in the face of adversity. 

“My success is that I survived so many downs, and my success is that I still want to do more. I sort of invent in my head a new aim all the time and check just to find out if it’s possible or not. This is the curiosity in life, you know, this is the success,” Rogozinska said.  

Born in the Cold War-era Polish People’s Republic, Rogozinska learned how to carry herself through life’s challenges independently. 

“I remember I was four, and my mother was forced to send me to the nearest shop to do shopping for the family. I had to be very careful and very responsible. I had to go very close to the wall of the building not to get hit by anything,” Rogozinska said. “Yes, I cannot really forget this moment, this first moment of my life that I had to be responsible and arrange something for the family.” 

This self-sufficiency combined with her enduring curiosity allowed Rogozinska to fulfill her passion for the English language.  

“English was my obsession since I was 13, or something, because during communism, we couldn’t really enjoy the Western culture so much. It was forbidden,” Rogozinska said. 

Despite this, she was able to discover the classic English literature of British Invasion rock music through illegal radio stations.  

“The Beatles and all those groups of the 60s and 70s. And then, of course, I started searching for more and more and more,” Rogozinska said. “I desperately wanted to know the lyrics. And at first, I started studying just the English language, the very elementary things on my own. I got a book, like a very primitive book, but it was enough to start it. And then in high school, I started having regular classes. And that was it. I was just English obsessed,” 

In 1994, Rogozinska graduated from a school of pedagogy now known as the University of Opole. She majored in English and American literature. Because the language was not valued by the Polish government, Rogozinska had limited access to academic resources. 

“We didn’t even have the proper books, or proper amount of books, for every student. So, in order to, you know, to pass the exam and be well prepared for the class, we actually had to rewrite the books,” Rogozinska said.   

Remaining persistent in her studies, Rogozinska went on to earn her master’s degree. During this time, she was taught by Ferris English professor Dr. Christine Vonder Haar. 

“[Rogozinska] was in a second-year master’s program class that I was teaching. I taught rhetoric comp and linguistics, and I’ve been in touch with her ever since,” Vonder Haar said. 

Vonder Haar has admired Rogozinska’s spirit for nearly 30 years, referring to her as “madcap” and a “dynamite person.”  

“When the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviets left Poland, and there was a new freedom for everyone. [Rogozinska] saw it and grabbed it,” Vonder Haar said. 

Vonder Haar was able to teach in Poland under the very program hosting this annual lecture, the Fulbright Scholar Program. According to Vonder Haar, the Ferris Fulbrighters aim to expand the international presence on campus with their stories. 

Rogozinksa also has Vonder Haar to thank for the origin of her successful translating company.  

“She was so fascinated by the Macintosh desktop computer I brought with me,” Vonder Haar said. “It had no internet connection, not in 1990 or 92, and she wanted it for translation, typing and printing purposes. She bought it from me. And that was her startup computer for their business.” 

Today, Rogozinska continues to broaden her horizons in her career while maintaining her passion for language. She is featured in the book “Never Give Up!” alongside 20 other outstanding businesswomen.  

A version of the book has been translated from Polish to English by Rogozinska’s own translation company and will be gifted to a few lucky viewers of her lecture. 

To hear Rogozinska’s full story, access the Zoom link located on Ferris’ university web calendar at 11 a.m. on April 8.