Board Spotlight - Michael Barry

Meet the Board of Directors

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"My passion is in leaving the world a better place."

Michael Barry

How long have you been a board member for Volunteers of America Michigan?
A little over 6 years, I joined the board in June of 2014.

Why did you join Volunteers of America Michigan’s board?
I believe that it is important to share your skills and talents to help others. I found that VOAMI does so much for so many of those most vulnerable in need and that I could help VOAMI be successful by sharing my financial, organizational and leadership skills. That I could be part of helping to make the world better.

What do you enjoy most about serving on the board?
I am always looking for the bigger picture and the greater purpose. I enjoy knowing that VOAMI serves so many people in need and that I had a part in making that happen. I also enjoy working with all of the diverse and talented Board members, who each bring their own skill set, that I can continue to learn from.

What was your experience like while serving on the board during the coronavirus pandemic?
The pandemic became just one more obstacle in the way of reaching those in need. I believe that the pandemic highlighted the fact that there needs to be a wider net to support the most vulnerable. I am so impressed with how the staff of VOAMI rallied to continue their services despite these obstacles and the board continued to focus on the ways that we can support the staff of VOAMI.

What VOAMI services are you most passionate about?  
My passion is in leaving the world a better place. Whether that is by repaying our veterans for their sacrifice by providing a support system to keep them safe and healthy, or bringing joy to families at Christmas through the Adopt a Family program, or providing seniors a safe, comfortable and affordable place to live. VOAMI does so much to improve our world, I am so proud to play a part in it.

What is your current occupation?
I am an Institutional Investment Advisor with PFM Asset Management LLC. I work with many public entities as well as endowments and foundations to build resilient investment portfolios to help them achieve their financial goals.

How do you define success?
Achieving what you set out to do. Its not about accumulating things, but having a plan and executing it to fulfill your dreams.

Who inspires you?
My children inspire me to be a good role model as a person who cares for others and shares with the community.

If you could choose anyone as a mentor, who would you choose?
I am always looking to elevate my efforts in public service. I count VOAMI's CEO, Alex Brodrick, as a mentor as he has shown me the path through board service in several organizations over the past 20 years. I am certainly open to finding other mentors who may show me the ways to broaden and deepen my public service.

What’s one thing-either industry related or not- you learned in the last month?
If you want to reel in a 6-pound bass, you need to have more than a 3-pound line, it got away. If you are going to dream big, you better be prepared for those dreams to come true.

What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know?
I have had some unique jobs earning money for college. I glazed hams for the Honey Baked Ham Company, and I directed traffic at the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.

What’s the last book you read?
John Bolton’s In the Room Where it Happened

What’s the first concert you ever attended?
Probably the Livonia Youth Symphony Orchestra. Two of my sisters played the violin and I recall attending many LYSO concerts. In terms of professional concerts, one of those sisters became the Arts Editor for the Michigan Daily and she took me with her, while I was still in high school, to review a Harry Chapin concert at Pine Knob.

If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?
My wife’s lasagna. She took my mother’s recipe, which was amazing and made it even better. It is definitely my birthday meal every year.