We recently asked you to nominate young leaders living or working in North San Mateo County for Patch's "30 under 30" series recognizing young leaders.
We've been impressed by the talented and influential young people in our area. We'll continue publishing profiles regularly until we hit 30, and we invite you to continue sending nominations of people who you feel should be honored. To nominate someone, send an email to email@example.com with the person's name, contact information and a short description of why they are a young leader.
Name: Mike Riordan
Residence: South San Francisco
Education: Skyline College, Ashford University
Occupation: Athletics Director at the Boys and Girls Club of North San Mateo County
Why did you choose your industry or field?
Working with youth is something I have always had a passion for, and to be able to couple that with my love of sports, it's just about as good as it gets. This is actually my third time working for the Boys and Girls Club. I began working at the club in 2000 for a few years, returned in 2004 for a stretch, and again in 2008, where I've stayed ever since. I've worked in many other fields, in between my time at the club, but nothing was as rewarding as working at the Boys and Girls Club. It's a place where I spent a lot of time as a child and now I have the privilege to have my son, Michael Jr., there with me everyday.
How did you get into that area?
I grew up playing basketball at the Boys and Girls Club, beginning when I was around 8 years old, so I'd already had a relationship with the former Executive Director, Norm Martin, who coached me a few times. When I was 18 years old, I went to the club for a visit and Norm offered me an opportunity to work there. We spoke about a chance for me to coach football, basketball, and baseball, while still attending school to pursue my degree, and I was sold.
What kind of challenges have you faced? How did you overcome them?
The Boys and Girls Club has supported me through two very difficult times in my life. In 2009, I was going through a divorce, basically meaning that the time spent with my son, was about to be cut in half. The club, and the people there, have always felt like an extended family, and being able to bring my son, and spending that extra time with him at the club, was more than I could have ever asked for. In 2010, I was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer, and the time recovering from the resulting surgeries kept me out of work for nearly six months. The support that I received from my co-workers, supervisor, Board of Directors, community members, and family, is something that I will forever remember and be grateful for. I honestly do not know what I would have done with out them.
Who inspires you?
Without a doubt, my son is my biggest inspiration. He is my world. He just turned six years old last Sunday, and these have been the fastest, and most meaningful, six years of my life. Everyday is something new with him and I am so proud to be his Dad. He does a great job in school and loves playing baseball and basketball. I am also blessed with an amazing family, especially my parents, Mike and Jan, who are my rock. I am so proud to be their son. They've loved and supported me through so much, and there is nothing more I could ever ask of them, they are truly the best.
What is your advice for aspiring leaders?
My advice is to always do what you love. Be passionate, about whatever you choose to do. Work isn't really work if it's something you love doing! Also, give back. There are so many people that will help you reach your goals. Be appreciative, and return the gift to someone else. Be a part of, and supportive of another's success. It's an amazing feeling.