Q&A: Getting “Schooled” on Mike School!
Tell us about how your transition from the corporate world to the Church came about?
I never intended to work for the Church; it wasn’t really an option, but I was working at Capital One, and the youth minister at my parish told me he was leaving the position and asked me to take it. God’s grace was present in all of my life, including this transition. The Lord has been present in the times of great joy, the times of sacrifice, and the times of challenge as well. The concept of “invitation” is so important – that’s how Jesus started. He said to the fishermen, “ Come follow me.” They didn’t come until they were asked.
Do you have a favorite bible verse or prayer?
1 Peter 2:9: But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Is there a Catholic leader you admire? Who is a Catholic leader you admire who influenced your life?
Two: John Paul II – I grew up in that generation when he was at the height of his pontificate. I am always inspired by the depth of who he is and how he understood people and the human psyche. I’m very moved by his alliance with Ronald Regan in terms of toppling Communism in Poland. Imagine the courage required in those moments of standing up to the government that oppressed him.
St. Damien of Molokai – he traveled to Hawaii to help the people in the Islands. I went there a few years ago to the island and that truly made his life and sainthood so tangible. He walked into an environment and was courageously worried only about caring for others and never himself.
Who is your favorite saint?
St. Damien is definitely a favorite along with St. Andrew. St. Andrew because of his evangelical fervor and zealousness – there is a gospel in which Andrew points his brother, Peter, to Jesus. Andrew brought the leaders of the Church to Christ. There is something so interesting about that.
Best leadership advice you could give? Best leadership advice you have ever received?
To give: Listen. When you listen, you are in a position to better know, serve, and lead others: volunteers, Church leaders, coworkers. Listening opens us to new perspectives that we may not have considered. We make assumptions about where people are; often, they are not accurate. If you listen, you can validate or contradict those assumptions.
Received: I’m a big fan of presidential history. There is a plaque that President Ronald Reagan kept on his desk in the Oval Office of the White House that states: “There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.” This is great advice – you can only be as successful as your team is successful. Take ownership. Successes are sweeter when we win together. And there is comradery when they don’t go as planned. This does require humility.
What made you want to work here?
After working in the diocese for 12 years, I was looking for something new. I am not a complacent person, and I felt God calling me to explore something new. I went back to consulting in the corporate world. That was my plan… but God had other plans. Three weeks into consulting, two different people independently sent me the job description for this position. From that moment I could so clearly see the hand of God at work – everything I had done up until this moment was preparing me for just this position.
What are you looking forward to in your role as Executive Vice President?
Right now, CLI is poised for the exponential growth of its service to the Church at a critical time in the life of Catholic faith. We are dedicated to rising up, seizing this potential, and continuing this trajectory of growth; I could not be more excited to be a part of this effort. I’ll be diving into strategic planning, enhancing marketing and communications, capturing and assessing opportunities for transformational impact, elevating our thought leadership, and playing a role in our innovative technology work. I’m looking forward to leading, supporting, and most importantly, working alongside faithful and dedicated people so that we can ultimately invite more people to a new relationship with Christ, deepen faith, and build thriving parishes. That theme of “invitation” keeps coming up!
What is one awesome revelation you’ve had during your initial time at Catholic Leadership Institute?
Through Catholic Leadership Institute, I get to see something new and a bold entrepreneurial spirit in the Church. I also see a great diversity in the church – every instance – diocesan or local parish – has its own unique charism but contributes to a broader whole.
I’ve known this existed before and seen it in action, but it is magnified at CLI and in who we are at CLI. There is a diversity of thought, opinions, and experience, that leads us to what St. Paul envisioned: a body that works together for the glory of God. We have room to grow in many areas of diversity, but we have a great foundation.
What is your great hope for the future of the Church?
People look at where the Church is today and lament – with a sadness, a loss, a mourning, and an uncertainty of what is to come. Recently I heard a great homily quote that I have been reflecting on: “Fear and faith have one thing in common. They both require you to believe in something that you can’t see.” It is our choice which invisible thing we believe in. CLI has the potential to focus on faith. This moment in time is where the Lord has put us, and He put CLI in this moment before a new springtime. We have to know that the resurrection is coming and not be surprised when we get to the empty tomb. The Lord knows what He is doing, and we have to be faithful. My hope is that CLI is both a beacon and a little bit of a thorn in the side of the Church in a positive way. I’m excited to be a part of this movement from mourning to joy.
As a parent of six, how do you pass the faith onto your children?
It’s a hard job – we celebrate Mass together, pray before meals, say the rosary together, offer intentions, and through all that, we model a strong prayer life. The second piece is modeling a strong married life. My wife and I work hard to teach them about Jesus and the Holy Family our love overflows to them. We also aim to set an example by being involved in the life of the Church.
Tell us some interesting insights about you!
- I have a big interest in presidential history – I’m a junkie for historical documents.
- My wife and I love to restore old cars. Right now we are restoring a 1979 Jeep Wagoneer.
- Lastly, we love to dabble in real estate… we were even on an episode of HGTV’s Beachfront Bargain Hunt!
Catholic Leadership is thrilled to welcome Mike into our community, and we thank him for answering “yes” to the Lord’s call to join our mission!