Ross Shafer

Emmy Winning TV Host, Comedian, and Innovation Speaker; Author of 5 Book and 14 Human Resource Training Films

Fee Range?: $15,000 - $17,500
Traveling From: Colorado

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Ross Shafer grew up in the Pacific Northwest and graduated from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington where he studied business management and played varsity football (linebacker). After college, he took a job as a training manager for » Read Full Bio

Ross Shafer grew up in the Pacific Northwest and graduated from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington where he studied business management and played varsity football (linebacker). After college, he took a job as a training manager for a department store (Yard Birds) and was able to save $10,000. He took that money and launched his life as an entrepreneur. His first venture was as the owner/manager of America’s only Stereo and Pet Shop in the small town of Puyallup, Washington (population 5,000 at the time).

Cleaning pet cages wasn’t as appealing as it sounded to Ross, so after 3 years he closed the store and took a job as an advertising manager for the 28 store Squire Shops retail clothing chain in Seattle, Washington. Writing ad copy and concocting radio and TV campaigns paid the bills, but at night Ross haunted local comedy clubs in search of a career in joke telling. After years of slogging around the comedy circuit, he won the Seattle International Comedy Competition and immediately became an opening act for performers like Crystal Gayle, Eddie Rabbitt, Nel Carter, Neil Sedaka, and Dionne Warwick.

In l985, Ross pitched a TV show idea to the NBC affiliate in Seattle (KING).  Serendipitously, KING-TV had a hole in their broadcast schedule. So, ALMOST LIVE was born and for the next 5 seasons Ross hosted the comedy talk show while he and his team collected 36 Emmys. ALMOST LIVE even won the Esquire Magazine dubious Achievement Award one year for attempting to change the Washington State song to “Louie, Louie. “ During those years Ross also hosted an afternoon drive radio show on the 50,000 watt KJR-AM.

In l988, Ross was wooed by the Fox network to take over The Late Show. The Late Show was a nightly talk show that competed with The Tonight Show and David Letterman. The show lasted a year and Ross next found himself in New York co-hosting Days End on the ABC network. It was here that he sat beside Matt Lauer and Spencer Christian as they interviewed the movers and shakers of New York and the world.  Dick Clark told Ross, “Always have a backup plan, my boy, TV is terminal” and predictably Days End was finally cancelled. Ross always wondered what happened to Matt Lauer.

The next stop for Ross was hosting the revised Match Game on the ABC network. Another game show (this time on the USA network) Love Me, Love Me Not and numerous TV pilot projects followed.

By this time, Ross was headlining all of the leading night clubs and casinos in North America. He produced a highly acclaimed comedy album about the Clinton administration titled Inside the First Family. He also wrote a comedy cookbook that became a best seller; Cook Like A Stud - 38 recipes men can prepare in the garage with their own tools.

In 1994, Ross heard Bill Gates give a speech where he said, “Someday you will all be watching television on your telephones.” Ross took that message to heart and he made the decision to leave TV and get back to his corporate training roots. Human nature and the human condition were always fascinating to Ross because that’s what comedians do. They study the laughter and tears business. To date Ross has produced (14) Human Resource training films on Customer Service, Motivation, Leadership, and Peer Pressure. He has authored the business books, Nobody Moved Your Cheese, Customer Empathy, The Customer Shouts Back, Are You Relevant? 12 Reasons Smart Organizations Thrive in Any Economy and the recently released Grab More Market Share:  How to Wrangle Business Away from Lazy Competitors.

Today, Ross is one of the most sought after keynote speakers and seminar leaders on the subjects of Customer Urgency and Empathy, Personal Motivation, Reinvention, and Market Relevance. The father of two grown sons, Adam and Ryan, Ross lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife Leah and their daughter Lauren.

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Media files by Ross Shafer

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Speaker Programs (Click on each program to view the description)

THE CUSTOMER EMPATHY SOLUTION (Customer service now needs to be Customer Empathy)
While this is a high energy Keynote on its own, many of our clients often want to expand this topic into a Break Out. There is plenty of great material to accomplish that. The evidence is clear. "If you want lifetime loyalty, stop training customer 'service'...and start coaching customer EMPATHY." This dramatic attitude shift goes straight to the heart of the customer experience. Ross defines Customer Empathy as the "ability to identify, interpret and appropriately respond to the customer's emotional state - before, during, and after the transaction." After 14 years of writing, researching, and producing Human Resource training films, Ross unveils frightening case studies of organizations that ignored the customer because they were blinded by fantasy sales goals, outdated operational procedures, and frozen mission statements. Then, he reveals the smart (yet humble) teams who gobbled up market share by responding to their customers' evolving emotional state.
The Urgent Company, Acting Quickly Ensures a Culture of Relevance
Short attention spans, ubiquitous broadband and over 1-Billion smart devices have not only changed the pace of disseminating information, but it has allowed our time-starved society to expect their every desire to be within grasp, "On-Demand." Clients, customers, and suppliers expect on-demand answers, same day delivery, and overnight results. Stakeholders want executives who can respond to shifting market conditions at the speed of text. Team members yearn for their achievements to be recognized more quickly...and more often. Or, as you know, they have no compunction about bolting to an empathetic competitor. Social media can marshal a virtual army of friends (or foes) who can either enhance (or destroy) your company's reputation; sometimes within minutes.
Are You Still Relevant? (Attitude, Leadership, Innovation)
Ross describes the innovations (and attitudes) necessary for leaders to steal market share during "The Recovery." Many smart organizations are leveraging the recession to spike growth during the next phase. Make sure you're one of them.
The Customer Shouts Back (Customer Service)
Our research clearly shows that customers (in 2011) don't want "service" anymore. They want Customer Urgency and Customer Empathy. Your customers live in an on-demand world, and if you don't respond at Internet speed, they will abandon you for someone who honors their time.
Nobody Move Your Cheese! (Accountability/Leadership)
We can no longer blame the recession - or management - or the competition. It is time to take personal responsibility and accountability for our performance; in all economic climates. Leadership needs to remind the sales and support teams, "You are the leading expert on you."
Grab More Market Share (Business Growth)
If you want to grow faster than the national average, now is the time to take market share from your lazy competitors. Large and small businesses alike are using "The Recovery" to leverage the weaknesses of their competitors.
Ross hosts a select number of multi-day events for his high-end clients each year. Because Ross is a trained talk and game show host (helmed over 1,000 network broadcasts) he is the perfect choice for moderating your executive panel discussions and complex award banquets. Ross will keep the programs lively and on task; drawing on his vast experience and lightening wit to navigate (and rescue) even the most unpredictable situations.
Ross is adept at handling back-to-back breakout sessions that may feature a myriad of presenters. He has hosted such luminaries as President George Herbert Walker Bush, Jack Welch, Colin Powell, Bob Dole, James Carville, Tom Peters, Marcus Buckingham, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to name a few. Since many high profile presenters are more comfortable being interviewed by a "pro," Ross is able to show the utmost respect from the opening introduction throughout the Q & A - yet he doesn't shy away from the probing questions your people want answered.
Ross is a favorite for hosting custom game shows. Not only do these formats lend themselves to imparting important training information about your company (in a fun way), they also encourage participation from the entire audience. Ask us how Ross and his game partners at Game Show America can create a custom "TV" show for you.


  • Dynamic/High Energy
  • Entertainment with a Message
  • Innovation/Creativity
  • Leadership


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