Michael Ferlito is passionate about developing real estate and business in the City of Detroit. Michael is a Co-founder of Bamboo Detroit and partner of The Ferlito Group, a real estate development firm. The Ferlito Group has been investing in Detroit since the 1980’s, from single family houses on the City’s east side to multi-million dollar renovations like the Kales Building. Mike received his MBA in Finance from Wayne State University in 2014. He plans to continue his work driving new business forward in Detroit, managing real estate development, building facilities, and strategic relationships for Bamboo Detroit. Michael is an active member of the Detroit Athletic Club, Urban Land Institute and the St. John's Guild.
In his own words:
1. What’s your most important career accomplishment to-date?
Starting and growing Bamboo Detroit. Amanda Lewan (co-founder of Bamboo Detroit) and I for the past 5 years have put our heart, soul and tears into Bamboo. It's not just a business but more importantly it is a community where everyone feels welcome. It shocks me to hear of how many people know and touched our community. We’ve helped over 1,000 entrepreneurs build their networks and businesses. Most importantly Bamboo is a diverse space that intentionally pushes inclusiveness to drive growth in the City of Detroit.
2. How have you redefined leadership through your professional success?
A leader doesn't have to be a person in charge of 30 or 30,000 people. A leader can also be a person that drives vision and passion into projects while executing the plan along the way. I learn every day through charging ahead, making mistakes, failing often and learning from my failures. In my opinion, the most important trait of a leader is their ability to listen and execute from the knowledge that they have gained whether it be from a mentor or an employee.
3. Why is civic engagement (volunteerism) important to you?
We pay taxes to governments to live in cities, counties, and countries but our tax to live on this Earth is to help people. What is the point of success when you only direct it to yourself? Meaningful engagement speaks volumes on the type of leader you want to be. I have mentored youth and worked at soup kitchens. My life goal is to help others who have not had the same opportunities as me.
4. How have you disrupted the idea of traditional leadership? How do you express leadership?
I let my employees take the lead often. There is something special about letting your team members make a decision or take the lead on a task. People that are in the right place at the right time feel a sense of empowerment when you call on them to make the decision. A true leader is in the back of the train encouraging people, building them up and making sure no one is falling behind.
5. What is a blue sky goal that you would like to accomplish in your career?
I would love to build an all encompassing investment, development and construction company where team members lead projects all over the country. That includes developing shared work spaces and all other real estate asset classes.
6. Why did you choose to pursue your passion/profession in Metro-Detroit? How do you intend to impact the region through your work?
My Father started our business in 1980. He built a reputable name and a good business. I wanted to carry out his legacy and continue building on our name. Along with that, our region needs private sector small businesses to help push our City for generations to come. Other regions of the country are already there and the potential for Detroit to get there is within our grasps. We all need to take action and myself staying here to help Detroit get there is a dream come true.
7. What do you love most about owning your own business?
Knowing that your vision, work process, and the end product have touched and impacted lives is what I love most about owning businesses. If you think about it, no one will execute your vision other than yourself. So developing a business and watching it launch, grow and succeed is extremely gratifying. More importantly, it's seeing the people who have helped you get there share the joy of your success. In the end, helping your team build as human beings personally, socially and economically is a duty every entrepreneur should be happy to do every day.
Meet Michael at the Vanguard Awards! Click HERE to join the celebration!