Domer Diaries

My Domer Diary: Mike Brown

A Magnetic Force

Name: Mike Brown
Class Year: 2001
Residence Hall: O’Neill Family Hall
Major and Minor: Bachelor’s in business technology with a minor in management from the Mendoza College of Business
Student Activities: Cheerleading (two years as the Notre Dame Leprechaun), Voices of Faith Gospel Choir, Founder of First Class Steppers, Troop ND, Interhall Football, Student Activities (sound technician)
Occupation: Regional Director, Athletics Advancement in the Notre Dame Department of Development
Local Notre Dame club or affinity groups: Black Alumni of Notre Dame, Monogram Club, former director on the ND Alumni Association and Monogram Club boards

Share a short update about yourself and your life changes since graduating. 

The Golden Dome has been a magnetic force in my life. I went from living in Milwaukee, where I was born and raised, to Notre Dame for school, back to Milwaukee, then Chicago, and now I’m back at Notre Dame where I serve as a Regional Director for Athletics Advancement in University Relations. Prior to Notre Dame, I had a career spanning nearly two decades with FIS, a financial technology and services company, where I held roles as a web developer and sales executive. I’m also the founder and CEO of Soulstir LLC, a social enterprise focused on enriching lives by creating experiences that stir the soul and inspire empowerment and action. I live in the South Bend area with my wife, Jaymie (Garcia) Brown ’02, ’03 M.S., and daughter, Harper.

What accomplishments have you been most proud of in your career?

As I reflect on my career as a web developer, sales executive, fundraiser, and social entrepreneur, I’m most proud of the way in which I’ve continued to embrace every change or challenge as a growth opportunity, the investments I’ve made in my personal and professional development, and the extensive and deep authentic relationships I’ve nurtured. Through it all, I’ve remained humble and focused on helping others — whether it was building or offering payment solutions that help financial institutions better serve their customers, unlocking the grace of giving within people to help further Notre Dame’s mission, or inspiring people to toward the realization that they have the power within to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others.

What was a formative moment in your time at Notre Dame that continues to influence you today?

During the spring semester of my sophomore year at Notre Dame I was not accepted into the London study abroad program. It was disappointing, but little did I know, two short months later, I’d be named the Notre Dame Leprechaun mascot, and make history by becoming the first Black student to serve in the role. The lesson of God closing one door as a way to open another has stuck with me ever since. Each time something doesn’t quite work out the way I think it should, I think of London.  

Another formative moment centers around my mindset and actions as a Notre Dame student who didn’t know anyone prior to stepping foot on campus. I’m not Catholic and I didn’t have the same type of financial resources many students had, but I knew I was going to add a lot of value to the place and I was committed to embracing everything it had to offer and make the most of my opportunity to be there. My experience at Notre Dame was enriched because of the variety of people from different backgrounds and cultures who I met and spent quality time around. I attended and participated in (and even created) cultural events, traditional campus events and activities, and off-campus events, and I firmly believe that my growth and development as a human being was enriched because of each of those things. I’ve carried that same spirit and energy with me into my current role at ND, and have been able to more fully apply it through the work I’ve been doing recently as part of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Unity Task Force within University Relations, on which I serve as a committee chair. We’ve had hundreds of people within the division raise their hand to actively participate and lead in the effort with a heightened level of intention of us being a more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and unified division. I’ve experienced and witnessed personal journeys of growth and I truly believe we’re a better division and are able to better serve Our Lady’s University because of it.