Mike Downey, one of our Senior Managing Directors at Newcleus CU Advisors is remarkable at what he does for our credit unions. He is also remarkable outside of his role at Newcleus. In an effort to give you a peek behind the scenes of Mike Downey’s life outside of his role with Newcleus CU Advisors. Here’s what came of our interview with Mike.
“I grew up in a small town on the Chesapeake Bay, just south of Annapolis, MD. As I look back at my time growing up in that area, I didn’t appreciate what I had at the time, but now I do. . I grew up crabbing, fishing, boating, and enjoying the outdoors. In high school, I played lacrosse but chose not to pursue my lacrosse career in college.
After I graduated from high school, I attended the University of Maryland and majored in Architecture. Once I realized architecture wasn’t for me, I transitioned to business, with a focus on Economics. I worked my way through school, bartending in Washington, DC. I realized the joy I found in serving others.
As I searched for my purpose out of college, I found quite a non-traditional path. I started out in the life insurance wholesaling world, and that’s when everything clicked. My business and economic classes in school, along with my time working in art and architecture, helped me design cases and be successful in this role. From there I moved into various roles that introduced me to the skills I need for the current role I am in.
Since 2005, I have worked exclusively with credit unions. Working in this industry allowed me to combine my diverse background experiences and create success for myself and my clients. I found Newcleus CU Advisors, formerly known as Meyer Chatfield, in 2016.
The ability to work with numbers, math, design, and creativity all in one industry is one of the main reasons I enjoy working with credit unions. The other reason is, of course, the people. Those who work in credit unions are extremely down-to-earth and humble. I really value authentic and trustworthy humans, and that’s exactly what I found within this industry.
For those looking to get into the credit union industry, my advice is to be a student of the industry. If you don’t like learning, find a different industry. Working in this industry is not simply a job, it’s a lifestyle. Be self-motivated in your learning, no one is going to micromanage you, it’s your job to succeed.
Outside of my career, a few things have contributed to the man I am today. One area is in coaching and being a Dad. Coaching kids in sports is one of the highlights of my life. Giving my time to influence kids lives in a positive way is one of the most amazing things I have done. One of the most rewarding parts of coaching is helping kids realize that it’s not about the sport, it’s about life lessons. Very similar to being a Dad.
Another moment in my life that has left me truly changed occurred about a year and a half ago. It occurred at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. While in the lobby the doctors brought in a shooting victim. Seeing the pain and how upset that family was in person, had a massive impact on my view of life. This area of town needed support and help.
Living in the suburbs, hearing about the tragedies on the news, I never really understood the magnitude of the loss the family is feeling, as it typically gets drowned out by other news. Experiencing that pain was a whole different life experience. Because of this moment, I now volunteer to help a friend plant a church in Baltimore, and I became integrated into that community within the food bank. Being involved in the community has been such a blessing and truly an eye-opening experience. Serving others and people helping people.
Lastly, my marketing company asked if I were to look back from the age of eighty and tell myself anything, what would it be? For one, I would ask myself:
- Did I make an impact?
- How did I influence my family?
- How did I honor God, my wife, and my kids?
Second, I would ask myself did I learn from my mistakes? Not dwell on them, but do things differently because of them.”