Michael is constantly thinking about the world. Despite being based in Chicago, as a Global Business Director for multiple companies, he is tasked with building opportunities and connecting with people on a worldwide scale. He is also an avid eater- traveling the world has allowed him to sample international cuisines which he recreates in multi-course meals for his close friends

What do you wake up thinking about?

I wake up thinking about the world. Literally. Because I have been able to build business opportunities around the globe, my perspective and interests expand into their local concerns, whether they be political, religious or cultural. The world is in constant flux, and mountains can move between the time I finally get to sleep and wake again. People rely on me as a businessman to hire them, which in turn pays for their mortgages and kids' tuitions, and builds their portfolios so they can help themselves. We are all connected. 

What's your morning ritual?

Due to the varying timezones I do business in, I am routinely conducting Skype calls until the wee hours of the night. My first ritual is stretching and shaking off the cobwebs with a huge cup of water while I check my emails and messages. I almost always wake up to a loaded inbox. After checking global headlines and financial markets, I hop in the shower and sing to the people in the cheap seats. The neighbors love it, I'm sure.

How does social media play into your daily life?

Social media allows me to access a wealth of information--some personal, some professional--to better understand how people are feeling. My business revolves around how people think, how they feel, and how they want to be talked to. The most effective media reflects the hearts and minds of its audience, and social media allows you glimpses into those realms. If you can read the signs, you will be successful in the modern marketplace. 

Are we more connected or disconnected than before?

We are more connected, period. If I was born 10 years earlier, my global opportunities would have been severely limited. Without Facebook Messenger, Skype, WhatsApp, WeChat, Viber and the rest, I wouldn't be able to communicate instantly with my network of friends and colleagues abroad. The phone bills alone would have put us out-of-business before we ever got off the ground. I've never been the type to walk down the street with my head bent looking at my phone, and I am just old enough that I don't experience many of the negative sides my younger cousins deal with when it comes to peer-bullying and the like. Look at the Arab Spring, the peaceful protests surrounding the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Felix Baumgartner leaping from the stratosphere- all of these world-shaping events were driven by that digital ability to connect with each other. We are the first generation in thousands of years of human evolution to be able to turn on a machine and talk to someone on the other side of the world. What we have to say will make all the difference. 

What is most important to you in life?

Family is the most important thing in the world. It has shaped or informed nearly every decision in my life, and I don't regret a single one. Having a source of pride, of confidence and of unflinching honesty prepares you for the wide world out there. They celebrate you when you are on top and they keep you grounded when you are not. So many people around the world will never have the blessings of family that I was so robustly gifted, and everything I do is inspired by my love for them. Plus my mom's chocolate chip cookies will make you weep real tears of joy. Fact.