Elizabeth Rossetti Featured

9:39am EDT July 22, 2002

Elizabeth Rossetti likes to lead.

In fact, it was her favorite part of being a cheerleader as a youth and in college.

“I really enjoy being in front of the action and helping to support the teams and be part of a winning team,” she says.

Now, she continues that love as head of her own $3 million company, AmeriCheer Inc.

The company’s theme, “America’s Leader in Spirit,” characterizes Rossetti, its president and CEO.

The forerunner of her company, which provides camps, training and competitions for cheerleaders of all ages across the country, began when she was still in college as the Ohio School for Cheerleading. She rallied friends and fellow cheerleaders to offer a summer camp for nearly 100 girls in the Cleveland area.

After earning her degree in physical education and health, she worked on a master’s degree in California, changing the name of her company to AmeriCheer and eventually returning to Columbus.

“It’s all about doing more and getting your word out there and being more self-sufficient and getting your staff on board,” she says, noting she incorporated AmeriCheer in 1990.

Five years later, she was in her car on the way to Florida to seek a national presence for the company; when she returned, she had nailed a contract at Disney World to hold the annual AmeriCheer Open National Cheerleading & Dance Team Championships.

This year, she debuted the company mascot, Cheerful, a giant letter A.

“This ‘Cheerful’ is our representation of what AmeriCheer is about: Making people smile, improving kids’ lives, helping them gain confidence and have the best skill they can to be a cheerleader at any level, whether junior high, youth, college or high school,” Rossetti says.

Rossetti’s own cheerleading passion started when she was only 4, cheering for her two brothers in peewee sports. She continued the activity until she reached her goal: making the squad at The Ohio State University.

It took her two tries. After the first miss, she gathered friends to help her improve for her next attempt.

“That was the culmination, that was the best, that was the icing,” Rossetti says. “That was a dream to represent that school. It was important because that meant I had to be a role model. I was a leader in the community, and you need to be that in cheerleading.”

Leading by example, Rossetti serves on the board of the Columbus USA Ohio Scholarship Pageant. She’s donating $1 to the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute for every one of her summer camp participants — she hopes about 4,000 — this year. Her employees and students also participated in this year’s Race for the Cure to raise money for breast cancer research, and she holds a fund-raiser for Adventures for Wish Kids each year during the holiday season.

Her upbeat, energetic manner is obvious in conversation about her company, which last year expanded to a 13,000-square-foot facility in Westerville. Ten employees run the company with the help of about 60 part-timers during the camps. She’s also got a separate division, Victory Wear, which provides apparel and accessories for cheerleaders.

“The passion I have for this is there and very vivid and I believe that’s probably what enables me to bring it to this level. Of course we have a long way to go,” Rossetti says. “We don’t want to be the biggest, we just want to be the best at what we do. We just want to touch the kids’ lives. That’s what we do.”

Joan Slattery Wall (jwall@sbnnet.com) is associate editor of SBN Columbus.