Type: Public event

In a Distracted World, Solitude is Practice for Tomorrow’s Leaders

Date & time

Nov 6, 2019, 7:30-9:30 pm EST


Weill Hall, Annenberg Auditorium
735 S. State Street

Free registration required. Register.


A Michigan Leadership Collaborative (MLC) Event with Michael S. Erwin, Co-author of Lead Yourself First, CEO of the Character & Leadership Center.

The volume of our communication, and our unfettered access to information and other people, have made it more difficult than ever to focus. Despite this reality, there is another truth: Opportunities to focus are still all around us. But we must recognize them and believe that the benefit of focus, for yourself and the people you lead, is worth making it a priority in your life. In other words, before you can lead others, the first person you must lead is yourself.

Mike Erwin has dedicated his life to serving the nation—and empowering people to build positive relationships. A 2002 graduate of The U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics, Mike was commissioned as an Intelligence Officer, deploying three times between 2004 and 2009. Following his third deployment, Mike attended the University of Michigan from 2009-2011, where he studied positive psychology and leadership under the tutelage of Drs. Chris Peterson and Nansook Park. He went on to serve as an Assistant Professor in Psychology & Leadership at West Point from 2011-2014. 

While in graduate school in 2010, Mike founded a 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.

Mike is the co-author of Lead Yourself First by Bloomsbury Press (2017). The book focuses on how solitude strengthens people’s ability to lead with clarity, balance and conviction. The book profiles leaders including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Winston Churchill and Jane Goodall, and how they used solitude in some of their most pivotal moments. Currently, Mike is leading another non-profit organization that he co-founded in 2015: The Positivity Project. Its mission is to empower America’s youth to build positive relationships through a deeper understanding of positive psychology’s 24 character strengths. Currently partnered with over 625 schools in 24 different states, The Positivity Project is helping over 400,000 students to see the good in themselves---and in other people---which is giving them the foundation to build stronger relationships.