By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Mar 08, 2023 at 2:19 PM

OnMilwaukee's The Future Is Female series is brought to you by Alverno College and features some of the most interesting, innovative and intelligent women in the city.

Alverno College, for over 135 years, has strived to educate and empower women to realize their leadership, strength of voice and potential to lead in the working world. Alverno’s support of “The Future is Female” continues to showcase and exemplify these efforts by supporting the stories of grit, resilience and strength of character of present, past and future leading women in the Milwaukee community! #AlvernoStrong

Emmy Fink is a TV host and producer. Currently, she is the co-host of "John McGivern's Main Streets," a destination travel show on PBS Wisconsin.

Now with 20 years of on-air experience under her belt, Fink began her career in television in 2006 as the host of the CW’s Buzzed into Madison segments. She later became the host of the state’s longest running tourism show, Discover Wisconsin.

Fink's seasoned background includes contributions to WISC Channel 3 in Madison, Madison Magazine, PBS’s Outdoor Wisconsin and Kennedy Communications, a full-service advertising agency. 

Fink grew up in Racine County in the town of Yorkville and graduated from UW-Whitewater with a double major in Broadcast Journalism/Education and Physical Ed. K-12.

Fink lives in Waukesha County with her husband and three children.

"When I’m not working, I cherish the time I spend with my family: My husband Seth and our three kids, Leona, Hank and Clarence. Being active outside is my happy place. Tennis, golfing, hiking, camping, working out, going out to eat and discovering new restaurants," says Fink.

Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Fink and ask her eight questions presented to all of the women in this dynamic series. She knocked her responses out of the park.

OnMilwaukee: What does active listening mean to you? Do you consider yourself a good listener, and if so, how has this helped you in your personal and professional relationships?

Emmy Fink: In my mind, active listening is a conscious choice to stay in the moment as a listener and be mindful of what the speaker is conveying. It’s maintaining appropriate eye contact as a listener to show the speaker you are engaged in their message. I do consider myself a good listener – with my years of interviewing people on television, I’ve come to realize the importance in this. Professionally, if I can make people feel comfortable, at ease and confident to share their thoughts and ideas, the interview content will be better. By trying to have a two-way conversation more than simply asking a list of questions, I inherently become a more active listener because I'm not focused on what my next question is, I’m focused on the subject’s answer and what other topics might come from what they are saying.

Personally, I find it more difficult to be an active listener with my family. At work, there are less distractions, but at home with my husband and our kids, there are multiple distractions: housework, homework, cooking meals, phones, emails, texts, etc. Kids want to feel that they have your full attention and that they are important and they also want to share EVERY DETAIL of their day. I practice being better at active listening everyday with them and my husband, so they don’t ever doubt that they are being heard. 

What was the last subject you were curious about and then pursued to learn more? 

The topic of gratitude is one that I have focused my attention on over the last couple of years. There is an immense power in being grateful. It can change your mood, your outlook and attract more things that you can and should be grateful for. I pursued this knowledge through reading mostly and then practicing these techniques in my own life. I believe that when you are genuinely grateful for what you have, the universe will allow more in your life that you can be grateful for. It goes beyond being grateful for the big things – trips, a new job, a promotion – but being grateful for the time with a friend to connect and catch up, or grateful for a hot cup of coffee on a snowy morning. When I keep this mindset front and center, I find more joy in my life and such an appreciation for more moments in my day.

If you can’t figure something out yourself, what source or person do you turn to first? How long do you wait before you ask for help? As a woman, do you think you wait longer to reach out? 

If I can’t figure something out, I will either ask my husband or go online to find an answer. My parents and my sisters are also resources I tap into. I am so blessed to be surrounded by all of them. I have never had a problem or a stigma asking for help. In fact, I probably should try harder to find a solution on my own instead of asking for help.

What are your personal values? Who and/or what inspired them and how do these values affect your decision-making process? 

A few of my personal values include happiness, respect, security, honesty, loyalty, my faith and my family and friends. My parents instilled every one of these values in me from the very beginning and then my sisters and the choice of friends along the way played a large role. One of the most important decisions I personally think one makes in their life is who they choose as their mate/spouse/life partner. That one person can build up or break down the values you have placed importance on. My husband Seth makes me a better person every day; he has strengthened these values in my life and I am so grateful we share the similar values.

Technology and online communication/social media has definitely changed over the years. Do these things help or hinder your growth – or both?

Although I very much see the value in a world of technology, it is not a place where I am at my best. I enjoy real human interaction – in person connection and group collaboration. I think technology is two-pronged – both helping and hindering our society. As far as my own growth, I have learned to appreciate technology for learning to edit content and have a social presence to build my brand.

Where is the furthest you’ve traveled and what is a thing or two you learned from the experience? And what surprised you?

The farthest trip I have taken is to Switzerland. The 10 days my family and I spent in Appenzell and Lauterbrunnen were unlike any trip thus far. Hiking the Swiss Alps, the slower pace of life, the attention and love of nature and the animals, the emphasis put upon eating real and natural foods, and the sense of community all provided core memories for me. What surprised me most was how these towns practice a slower, simpler way of life.

What are your favorite art forms? How do you challenge yourself to actively engage in the arts?

The art forms that I appreciate the most would be photography, live performance theater and music. Photography has become a real focus for me since having our three kids and wanting to capture moments I know I can never recreate. Real moments of love, connection and vulnerability are my favorite. My husband and I enjoy seeing live theater a few times a year and now have enjoyed sharing this love with our oldest daughter who has really taken to it. These things are not a challenge. I have however, always struggled with drawing and because of our kids and spending time together doing their basic drawing instruction books and videos, I have learned to love and appreciate drawing.

How do you/your work move Milwaukee forward? 

My involvement as co-host of  "John McGivern’s Main Streets" Travel Show gives Milwaukee and the rest of the Midwest an opportunity to be introduced to many towns and communities. We hope by watching the show, viewers are encouraged to embark on their own travel adventure. Prior to my involvement with Plum Media and Main Streets, I was a regular contributor to Milwaukee PBS – hosting and producing segments for 10 Thirty-Six and Outdoor Wisconsin. Some of the features included a 10-Year look back and honoring the victims at the Oak Creek Sikh Temple Shooting,  how Custom Cottage Furniture in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park Neighborhood is “Rebuilding Lives through Rebuilding Furniture” and Teacher Appreciation features at Magee Elementary School in Waukesha County. I love being able to highlight great people in the Milwaukee Area doing extraordinary things.

Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.

Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.