04-04-2016 · Young Professional Leaders
Associate, Scotland Wright Associates
YPL: How has United Way and YPL helped you?
Mike: There are several ways that United Way and YPL have helped me both personally and professionally. On the personal side, YPL has created a way for me to engage the community that I love and serve it in a way that maximizes my unique skills. Since YPL is such a hands-on group, it has exposed me to the real challenges that underserved groups in Atlanta are facing and provided me with the chance to make an impact. The people that make up YPL have benefited me from both a personal and professional standpoint. I have learned so much from seeing some of Atlanta’s brightest young professionals leverage their talent for a greater good. It also helps that there are some pretty funny people that serve with YPL, always making it an enjoyable experience.
YPL: What do you think are your greatest personal accomplishments?
Mike: My greatest personal accomplishment took place when I played offensive line for the Georgia State University Football team. During my first two seasons, I suffered consecutive season-ending injuries. The first was a torn ACL, and the second was a fractured fibula. While battling back from both injuries I was able to earn my BBA, complete GSU’s MBA program, and regain my starting position on the offensive line. My second greatest accomplishment is going from my playing weight of 307 pounds, to my current weight of 230 pounds within 3.5 months of my last game.
YPL: What do you think are your greatest professional accomplishments?
Mike: As an office and industrial tenant representation broker, my team and I have the opportunity to work alongside C-level executives to advise them on real estate decisions that will shape the trajectory of their company for years to come. It has been a blessing to have worked with some of the best companies in Atlanta, and across the country, at a very early stage in my career.
YPL: Why do you choose to give to United Way?
Mike: I give to United Way because I believe that they have a true pulse on the most pressing issues that face the Atlanta region. From my experience, I have learned that United Way employs a strategic approach in how to address those issues. United Way strategically continues to identify solutions that lead to real life change and move the needle in a positive direction. United Way’s commitment to a better Atlanta makes it easy for me to feel comfortable with financially supporting the organization’s efforts.
YPL: What’s your biggest concern within the community?
Mike: My biggest concern within the community revolves around Atlanta’s history of not growing in an inclusive manner. The wealth gap in Atlanta is heartbreaking and will require massive and strategic action to address. We have a generational opportunity to do that, and I believe it will get done.
YPL: What would you tell someone who is considering joining YPL?
Mike: Joining YPL will benefit you both personally and professionally. Having the opportunity to serve your fellow citizens and build great relationships will be something that truly enriches your life. Regardless of what issues you are passionate about addressing, joining YPL is the best way to get plugged in.
YPL: What is your favorite YPL event or experience and why?
Mike: My favorite YPL experience was the HoliDAY of Service event. I served at an elementary school and got to spend time working with and getting to know some extremely bright kids. They were all so grateful and getting to see the smiles on the kids’ faces was very rewarding.
YPL: What are your hobbies/interests?
Mike: I really enjoy theology, so any time someone wants to discuss the Bible, I am all about it. I am always learning and being shaped by what is revealed to me, making it a consistently rewarding process. Politics also intrigues me quite a bit and is something that I would like to explore further. I also would like to become a scratch golfer someday.
YPL: If you could speak with anyone past or living, who would it be?
Mike: I would like to speak with Martin Luther King Jr. He did a great job of embracing compassion, while holding fast to his convictions. I would love to ask him how he was able to spur the apathetic middle into action to shake up the status quo. Considering how challenging that is to accomplish, he did it masterfully.
YPL: Who in the world (past or living) do you most admire and why?
Mike: I most admire Jesus, because of who He is and what He did. I’m eternally grateful.
Special thanks to YPL Marketing & Communications Committee member, Christi Schenzel (PWC) for conducting this interview!