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The basics: Michael Drake is founder, chairman and CEO of masterIT, a Memphis firm that provides fixed fee technology solutions and support to small and medium-sized businesses. He and his wife, Alys, have two daughters, Aden and Yates. He joined the Methodist Healthcare Foundation board in July of 2015.
The early years: Born and raised in Memphis, he graduated from Briarcrest Christian School and earned a finance degree from the former Memphis State University, now the University of Memphis.
The middle years: He’s lived in Memphis for all but about three years that he spent in Wynne, AR and Jackson, TN. As a young professional, he worked in the savings and loan industry, and from 1990 until 2005, he served as CEO of technology firm, Econocom USA.
The here and now: Since starting masterIT in 2005, the firm has grown from 12 to 30 employees, and today has a client roster of about 100 companies ranging in size from 20 to 500 employees. The firm’s approach is hands-on and client-focused. “Our focus is solely on Memphis and the Mid-South. It’s about technology, but for us, it’s very personal.”
The mantra: “When I took over at Econocom, my predecessor handed me a list of the 'Ten Golden Rules for CEOS.' At the bottom was a handwritten message. ‘…and always remember: Mens sana in corpore sano!’ It’s Latin for ‘a sound mind in a sound body,’ and the wisdom it holds for me is that you can’t separate the health of the body from the health of the mind.”
The back-story: As an ardent supporter of the Dennis H. Jones Living Well Network, he had a connection to a part of the Methodist Healthcare mission long before becoming a member of the Foundation board. “Dennis was in the tech industry like me—in fact, we were competitors. He suffered from problems that no on else saw, but they were problems that I can relate to. My grandmother committed suicide and several others in my family struggle with depression. Just as I am pre-disposed to heart disease, I’m pre-disposed to mental illness. I’m committed to an active, healthy lifestyle because of those pre-dispositions.”
The Living Well Network: He currently serves on the advisory board of the Living Well Network, a Methodist-sponsored partnership that serves those suffering from anxiety, depression, risky drinking or suicidal thoughts, and is one of the network’s most enthusiastic spokesmen. “It gives people a very safe place to go to seek counsel and to find a way through whatever they’re dealing with. The more people know, the more they can help themselves and others. And the more each of us can keep a sound mind in a sound body.
The leadership: He sees serving on the Foundation board as both a way to live out his commitment to servant leadership and as a podium for reaching an even wider audience with his message about the importance of pro-actively managing mental health. He’s glad to know that the message resonates with Methodist leadership, including the CEO. “I’ve had the honor of talking to Gary Shorb, and I’m very excited by what I’ve heard. Methodist is offering mental health screenings in the offices of all its primary care physicians. And now, the more than 12,000 people who work for Methodist will have the opportunity to take this screening. Things are happening.”
The importance of serving others: “Methodist provides care to the underserved in south Memphis and especially in 38109. They are providing care to people who need it the most. And Methodist is very up front about being faith-based, which ties into the focus of my company. It’s about serving people. I’m excited and proud to be a part of that.”