Mike Erwin

Mike is the CEO of the Character & Leadership Center and co-founder & president of The Positivity Project—a non-profit organization with the mission to empower America’s youth to build positive relationships. With 425 partner schools, the organization reaches 260,000 children daily.

He is the co-author of LEAD YOURSELF FIRST by Bloomsbury Press (2017)The book focuses on how solitude strengthens people’s character—and their ability to lead with clarity, balance, and conviction. Mike is also a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, assigned to the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he serves as an Assistant Professor in Leadership & Psychology. He also serves as the founding Chairman of the Board for Father Vincent Capodanno High School, outside Fort Bragg, NC.

Mike graduated from 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 worked with NATO forces, to include serving as a lead intelligence planner for one of the largest NATO-led combat operation in history. 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 under the tutelage of the co-founder of Positive Psychology, Dr. Chris Peterson. 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 the non-profit organization named Team Red, White & Blue (Team RWB). 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 on the Board of Directors. Team RWB has 146,000 members and 212 chapters across
the country.

“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”

- Colin Powell