This fall, we are honored to have Michael Schieffer, president of the WinShape Foundation, kickoff our Cottrell Speaker Series this academic year on September 25th.
Mike was born and raised in the Midwest, where he attended college at the University of Nebraska. After graduating, he began working for his father’s printing and advertising business, but Mike’s sense of adventure would soon lead him to take a position with Trans World Airlines. That’s where he met Nanette, his wife of 27 years.
In 1993, Starbucks Coffee Company was on the cusp of becoming a major global brand. Mike decided to pursue a store manager position for the sole reason of learning the coffee trade and, carrying on his father’s entrepreneurial spirit, start his own coffee business. He landed his first job with Starbucks and ended up staying with the company for 18 years. During that time, Mike experienced an unprecedented growth of the organization, watching the 165 stores that existed when he started turn into more than 18,000 stores upon his departure.
On average, Mike’s role within Starbucks changed every 18 months, assigning him both domestic and international responsibilities at store, district and regional levels. This evolution of roles eventually led Mike and his family to live in the Bahamas while he helped conduct an international expansion pilot program that is now used by the company worldwide. The latter part of his Starbucks career ultimately moved him to southern Florida, where he was placed in charge of the Latin America Operations for foodservice and licensed stores.
Mike’s transition from Starbucks to the ministry world would soon come not as a choice, but as a calling he could no longer ignore. In 2011, Mike accepted a position as executive administrator and CEO of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. Calvary Church is the ninth largest church in the United States, with more than 20,000 adults and 3,500 youth attending weekly. During his time there, Mike helped operate the church’s 10 campuses across the country as well as dozens of international church plants, including 17 in Liberia.
In 2015, Mike joined the WinShape Foundation as their new president. The WinShape Foundation is a private, non-profit organization funded by the Cathy family, owners of Chick-Fil-A, Inc. The Foundation holds six individual ministries: WinShape Camps, WinShape College Program, WinShape Teams, WinShape Retreat, WinShape Marriage and WinShape Homes. While each ministry operates under its unique mission, all are focused on making a positive impact in the lives of others.
On Monday, September 25th, join us in the Dining Hall Banquet Room on the Dahlonega campus at Noon as Mike discusses his career and advice for college students today. The event will take place from Noon – 1 PM including a brief Q&A session. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the Mike Cottrell College of Business are all invited to attend. Simulcast locations will also be available in Gainesville (MTN 5105), Oconee (SRC 581) and Cumming (246).