Mike Erwin

Mike is the CEO of the Character & Leadership Center—and the Founder & President of The Positivity Project, a non-profit organization with the mission to help America’s youth build stronger relationships by recognizing the character strengths in themselves and others.

He is the co-author of a forthcoming book from Bloomsbury Press, LEAD YOURSELF FIRST – Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude. To be published in May 2017, the book focuses on how solitude strengthens people’s character—and their ability to lead with conviction, clarity and balance. Mike is a Major in the U.S. Army Reserves, assigned to the Pentagon.

Mike graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics. He was commissioned as an Intelligence Officer, serving in three combat tours with the First Cavalry Division and 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne). His service includes deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004–2005—that involved the Battles of Fallujah and Najaf. Mike also deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2006-2007 and 2009. On those tours, he served as a lead intelligence planner for NATO operations. Mike earned two Bronze Star Medals from these tours.

Following his third deployment, Mike attended the University of Michigan from 2009–2011, where he studied positive psychology and leadership in the Personality Psychology PhD program. He went on to serve as an Assistant Professor in Psychology & Leadership at the U.S. Military Academy from 2011–2014. While assigned to West Point as a Major, Mike served as a lead planner for the Bob McDonald Global Leadership Conference and was the aide-de-camp to the Class of 1951 Chair for the Study of Leadership, held by Jim Collins and then Tom Tierney.

While in graduate school in 2010, Mike founded a non-profit organization named Team Red, White & Blue. Team RWB’s mission is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their communities through physical and social activity. He volunteered as the Executive Director for 3 years and continues to serve as Chairman of the Board. Team RWB has 115,000 members and 190 chapters across the world.

Mike currently lives in Pinehurst, NC, with his wife Genevieve, who earned a B.A. from the University of Texas-Austin and they have four young children. Originally from Syracuse, NY, Mike is also an endurance runner, who has completed a dozen ultra-marathons since beginning in 2008.

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”

- Colin Powell