Michael Brennan

Co-founder & CEO


In a storage closet in 2015, Mike pulled a 40+ page benefits application out of his back pocket with an aspiration to improve it – and Civilla was born.

Mike’s journey to Civilla started at the age of nine – on a 5 am paper route each morning for the Detroit Free Press. This first job instilled a sense of persistence and service that Mike carries with him to this day. After putting himself through college at Michigan State University, Mike joined United Way, where he spent 32 years in leadership roles on the local, national, and international level.

Mike first learned about human-centered design from long-time friend, mentor, and CEO of Steelcase, Jim Hackett. Inspired by this new way of looking at the world, he returned to study at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University (the, where he met fellow co-founders Adam and Lena.

As CEO and co-founder, Mike helps lead Civilla’s long-term vision and strategy. His superpower as a leader is his ability to help those around him believe in themselves and lean into their strengths. He loves helping others understand what’s most important to them and find the courage to pursue it.

Outside of the office, Mike’s curious about nature and loves learning how things work. He’s driven a motorcycle for most of his life, and always likes being in a little bit of trouble.