"This hotel is named in honor of Emma Koehler, a towering figure in Pearl history. Emma ran the brewery after her husband and Pearl president Otto Koehler died in 1914. She was an ingenious CEO who kept the brewery going during Prohibition by converting operations to dry cleaning and auto repair, and making near beer, ice cream and soda. While other breweries were shutting down, Emma kept her entire workforce employed."

Stories about restoration may be my favorite thing. Honoring great leadership is one of the others. Emma Koehler’s story and the construction of Hotel Emma are about both.  

We all, at times, feel like we are powerless to succeed given the deck of cards that the market has dealt us or our industry.

You know that feeling, right?

And while there is a humility in not taking full credit for our success, it can be a tremendous stumbling block to not accept some the responsibility for those good things happening. If you don’t have anything to do with the success of your company or family experience, it would also mean that you don’t bear any of the responsibility for the struggle and failure.

The reality is that we play a crucial role in our success and our trials. We are not successful circumstantially and we are not hapless, powerless victims when it doesn’t go well. 

Believing that we can do something about our difficult circumstances is one of the key building blocks in restoration.

Think about it, Emma ran a brewery during prohibition! We all face competition and shifts in the market conditions, but the thing she produced became completely illegal to manufacture and sell! I’ve fallen over backward against puffs of wind that didn’t come anywhere close to that kind of headwind. She is an extraordinary picture of leadership in the worst of times.

And when they started the restoration of the Pearl Brewery, what better name could they have chosen than “Emma” for their hotel?  And what a way to honor her. The hotel has won numerous design and travel awards, and Conde Nast called it an "architectural wonder" when it named it one of the top hotels in the world in 2016. It is truly extraordinary.

We are really big on stories like Emma’s and are increasingly running with a tribe of local business leaders writing similar ones. Our desire is to see more restoration…

At SummitTrek, we exist to restore leaders and organizations to their original intended purpose through coaching.

For us, restoration means a couple of things. It is about restoring the original intentions the owner had when they started their business. No one started their business to live in chaos, overwhelm, and operate with a lack of clarity. But we also believe that God intends our enterprises to make a difference in the world…to be His very hands and feet in terms of meeting the needs of team members and our communities.

While we are privileged and honored to help coach dozens of leaders (and their teams) toward that kind of restoration, we desire to see more of these kinds of stories. One of the ways we’ve done that is through a several hundred of these posts we’ve connected to a several hundred of you. Another is to gather leaders for a few hours to introduce them to a roadmap and help them take some actual steps toward the restoration other leaders are finding.

And what better location could there be than the Hotel Emma?


  • Have you quit believing that you could have the business you hoped for?

  • Have you made an agreement with the fact that the problems you are facing are not solvable?

  • Would you be willing to invest four hours to make a real difference in your circumstances?