Mike Ritz (LRI ’07), Executive Director
Training language instructors from multiple cultures while studying applied psycholinguistics at Compania Linguistica in Mexico City sparked Mike’s lifelong interests in human behavior and communication.
Over the past 25 years, Mike served as a Tri-lingual interrogator in the U.S. Army, established his first company by the age of 25, motivated people to excel at his fitness Boot Camps, and served as a Regional Manager for an international healthcare company based in the United Arab Emirates. A former on-call interrogation analyst for CNN, Mike has been interviewed hundreds of times for TV, radio, newspapers and magazines. He participated in nine documentaries in the past 15 years; “Songs of War” won an International Emmy.
Under Mike’s leadership for the past ten years, Leadership Rhode Island has received numerous accolades, including the Excellence in Public Service Award by Common Cause RI, two National Innovation Awards from the Association of Leadership Programs and two Community Outreach Awards from the RI Press Association for public forums in partnership with The Providence Journal and Rhode Island College. LRI’s innovative Make RI Stronger social enterprise is recognized by Gallup as an inspiration for the global strengths movement.
On the heels of serving as the Rhode Island Chairman for the Department of Defense Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve (ESGR) since 2012, Mike spearheaded the national transformation from an executive strategic subcommittee to ESGR’s first board of directors since its inception in 1972. He was awarded the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service before being recruited to serve on the board of a national nonprofit focused on decreasing veteran suicides.
Mike is also the Chairman of The Avenue Concept, the Director of Cultural Food Initiatives for the award-winning Providence Cultural Equity Initiative, and a newly appointed board member for the national Association of Leadership Programs.