In this episode of the Servant Leader’s Library podcast, host Nicholas Paulukow sits down with Mike Reynolds, the President and General Manager of the Lancaster Stormers.

Mike’s impressive career spans nearly two decades in the high-octane world of professional sports, from the WNBA to the NBA G League and now to the Atlantic League of professional baseball.

His unique insights into sports leadership and management are invaluable for anyone interested in the intersection of sports and servant leadership.

Tune in to gain valuable lessons from one of sports’ most seasoned and respected leaders.

Watch the episode above or listen over at Spotify. Make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next great servant leader’s story!

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Episode Transcript

Nicholas Paulukow
Welcome back to Servant Leader’s Library, where we crack open the pages of wisdom to explore the art of leading with humility and empathy. I’m your host, Nicholas Paulukow, your curator of all things leadership. And today we have a true titan in the realm of sports leadership gracing our shelves today.

None other than Michael Reynolds, the president and general manager of the indomitable, excellent winning Stormers. And with nearly two decades of navigating the high octane world of professional sports, Mike’s journey has taken him from the hardwood courts of the WNBA to the thundering arenas of the NBA G League, and now in the Supreme Atlantic League of professional baseball. So dear listeners, buckle up as we dive into the playbook of servant leadership with one of our industry’s most seasoned captains.

Mike, welcome to Servant Leadership Library podcast. Wow, what a heck of a career and congratulations. I mean, you know, the WNBA has been getting a lot of press these days.

You know, tell the listeners a little bit about yourself, kind of your journey through all of these great experiences. I’m impressed.

Mike Reynolds
Well, thank you. That was an incredible introduction and probably one of the best I’ve ever had. I think we’re done.

Yeah, you know, the WNBA is finally getting its due. I think it’s a long time overdue for them to start getting the recognition that they are currently getting. Obviously, you know, you look back to the NBA back in the 80s with Magic and Larry Bird and then Michael Jordan.

That’s really when that league started to take off and hopefully now with, you know, Peyton Clark, Angel Reese, and these current WNBA stars, they start to get the due that they deserve. It’s incredible. I was fortunate.

I did an internship at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut. Yes, and it was actually my first day on the job. It was, as an intern, it was a pretty cool experience.

They had just opened the 10,000-seat venue and Cher just did her, well, she was doing one of her farewell tours to a sold-out crowd. One of many. One of many.

So that was my first day on the job. So they had that 10,000-seat arena. Then they had what was called the Wolf Den, which was a stage that was in the middle of the gaming floor.

And that night, it was the Blues Brothers. And then at one point, Steven Tyler went on stage and sang with them and Bill Clinton went on stage and played the sax with them. So I went from the Cher concert to that.

And then I can’t remember who was accurate of Belushi. I should look this up because I tell a story often. But they were in the cabaret.

One of their wives threw them a surprise 50th birthday party. And in that room were, it was NSYNC, it was John Cusack, it was the Blues Brothers. I mean, Chevy Chase and was Ricky Lake?

Is that the daytime host? A bunch of celebrities. And I’m thinking, obviously, this is my first night on the job as an intern.

I was like, oh, sports and entertainment’s pretty cool. Anyway, so I did my internship with that, with that sports and entertainment department. I was fortunate enough where, that was the summer before my senior year.

Going into the school year, they asked me to stand as a part-time employee after my internship. And that entailed the arena or the casino was about an hour from school. I would go up there twice a week.

And I worked on the riders. So when they had concerts, I had to prepare the room, hospitality, whether it be beverages, the food, communication between the staff. It was a really cool part-time job during my senior year.

And then I’m talking about just working hard and be at the right place at the right time. The tribe, the tribal authority that owned the casino purchased a WNBA team. They purchased the Orlando Miracle.

Yeah, so they purchased the Miracle from the Orlando Magic. And they brought them up to Connecticut and are now the Connecticut Sun, who just hosted the Indiana Fever for the first game ever of Clayton Clark in the WNBA. So they offered me a job as a sales rep.

I accepted and now I’ve been in the sports career for now almost 20 years, I guess, yeah.

Nicholas Paulukow
Wow, that is crazy. And so, I mean, that definitely, was that part of your plan? I mean, were you into sports and this is what you wanted to really get into?

Or it kind of has been the experience that has drawn you in?

Mike Reynolds
It was the experience. I mean, I grew up loving sports. I mean, that was when ESPN started and I played a ton of sports, follow a lot of sports.

In college, I wasn’t the, I’m sorry, in high school, I wasn’t the best student, but I really started getting focused on my education when we had a college prep and business classes in high school. So I really love those. I love those business classes.

And actually, my first year of college, I actually went to the University of Rhode Island and as a business major. And when I was trying to schedule my sophomore year classes, I was trying to schedule a lot of business classes, but I still had to take a lot of gen eds and I’m like, oh, this is like, I don’t enjoy it. It’s not what I want to do.

And so I actually transferred to, I transferred to Johnson and Wales University because majority of the classes were, it was a business school and you took business classes. And whether it was the right decision or wrong decision, I mean, you look back, it was definitely the right decision, but I was able to take a lot of business classes. And because of that transfer, two years later, my advisor talking through what I had interest in, and by the way, they have a sports management major that I didn’t take.

I was just in general business. And, but through our conversation, he realized how much I enjoyed sports and entertainment. And he got me two internship interviews, one with Mohegan Sun, their sports entertainment department, and then one with Foxwoods, which was a casino that’s like three miles or five miles down the street from Mohegan, both right there in Southeastern Connecticut.

And both are with the entertainment departments, but I chose the Mohegan Sun one because of the larger venue. And, you know, talking about just, again, just being at the right place, right time. Obviously you gotta work hard.

You gotta, you know, you gotta be a good teammate. You gotta show that you want to be there, but it definitely paid off when they purchased that WNBA team and was fortunate enough to get that first sports job.

Nicholas Paulukow
Wow. How do you go? Is it normal for people like in your career to like go from like basketball to baseball, like to other sports in that arena?

Like how’d you end up, you know, with the Stormers in baseball? So from, you know, that aspect.

Mike Reynolds
It’s normal for some, it’s some tend to stay in the same arena, same sport. But my, you know, I got out of sports for about four, I think it was maybe four years. The job previous to this in sports was out in Reno, Nevada with the Reno Bighorns, as you mentioned, of the NBA D-League or now G-League.

I was fortunate enough to be the president of that team. And we had our first child with the second one on the way. And we wanted to come back East and a couple of different opportunities in the sports world.

They weren’t as close to home. A couple of different things didn’t go the way I wanted it to go. So I chose to purchase a business in Rhode Island where we’re from, me and my mom.

Yeah. So we had that. And then fast forward, I had gotten contacted by someone for a different team and actually it was down in Orlando with the Orlando, actually ironically with the Orlando Magic.

Nicholas Paulukow

Mike Reynolds
So I went down there for an interview and it was a great interview. They gave me a tour of Amway Center, which was beautiful. It was very new at the time, I believe, but it was far from home.

And I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my business. I wanted to keep it going. So anyway, there’s this website called

And so I told my wife, I had the itch to kind of see if I can get back in sports. So I looked in Rhode Island, then I looked at Mass in Connecticut, but I just kept going further out. And the first leadership job that I saw was this one.

Really? Yes. So I submitted my resume and actually got a call from one of our owners that night.

And we were on the phone for about two hours. Yeah. And so he convinced me to come.

That was a Thursday. I remember it clear as day. That was actually the Thursday before the 2016 election.

I was here Sunday night, stayed at Hotel Lancaster. He’s like, oh, take your wife, kids, take your dog. They gotta see how great Lancaster is.

I was like, no, I’ll just come with myself at first. So I stayed downtown here and I remember walking around. I stopped at the Prince Street Cafe for a coffee at like 7:30 at night. And then I kept going and I got a drink at TELLUS, which had, it was a Sunday night and they had live band and entertainment. I’m like, oh, for a small town, what I thought was a small town, there’s a lot happening here. And then I saw a lot of construction going on.

I was like, so that was a good opening to, hey, is this a place that you would wanna move your family to? Anyway, I had the interview the next day and I was here a week later. Literally, that’s how fast it happened.

Nicholas Paulukow
Wow, are you serious?

Mike Reynolds
Yeah, it turns out, I mean, the owners have been amazing to me. They’re great people. But the owner that I had interviewed with, he was a former recruiter headhunter.

So he got me.

Nicholas Paulukow
Good sales pitch there, I’m telling you what.

Mike Reynolds

Nicholas Paulukow
That is amazing. What risk though? I mean, that took a lot of risk and leadership in itself just to decide, hey, I’m gonna pick my family up and move.

And so kudos to you. And it seems like it’s been quite successful for you.

Mike Reynolds
Yeah, it’s been an amazing eight years. Well, almost eight years. You know, I love basketball.

I really, I love the NBA. I love the G League, the W. I just love it.

I love the sport, but I also love the business side of it. I think that they have done it right. And I think a lot of the other sports leagues have followed their suit with how they provide entertainment, how they provide hospitality.

Obviously, the main piece of entertainment is the actual sport. But as you build your fan base, you need to provide more than just the sport, right? So I believe the NBA has been the leader in that.

I truly do. But I believe the other sports have followed it. So making the jump to baseball, the biggest difference at the time, everyone was like, well, you just have to worry about rain.

Rain and foul balls. You know, in basketball, if someone gets hit off the head with a basketball, it’s nothing too bad. In all my time in sports, I’m sorry, in basketball, I only had to call one game and that was because of a huge snowstorm in Reno.

So the weather is the big difference here. But I grew up playing baseball. Baseball was the sport that I was best at as a child, as a youth.

So I love the game. I love what we have built here as far as just the energy from the community, the support from the community, the growth in attendance, the growth in sponsorship from support from the business community, the amount of athletes, incredible athletes that we’ve have come here. Ross and I, our team manager, we started, you know, he became the team manager the same year I was named the GM.

And just to see his growth as a manager and a leader of our clubhouse, we’ve been very, very fortunate here in Lancaster. It’s been fun.

Nicholas Paulukow
That’s amazing. It is a great place for anybody that hasn’t visited yet. And I think a credit too, I think to you, but also your owners are a high level of entrepreneurs.

They’re driven on client experience, which is pretty amazing. I’ve had the opportunity to meet them and to meet Mike and man, they bring in like you’re part of the family, right? Like let’s go and experience the ball field.

And I think that that’s pretty amazing thing, right? It creates such memories and I’m explaining a memory that probably happened many years ago, but continues to happen. So it’s pretty impressive.

The owners also remember attention to detail. So they’ll send you a message or connect with you, you know, pretty impressive.

Mike Reynolds
Yeah, yeah. They are incredibly able to work for. They, to your point, it is about detail.

Like we, you know, some owners of sports teams tend to, I don’t know, maybe the right words to say pinch pennies or just worry about, you know, the immediate effect of a decision. Our owners worry about the long-term effect, right? What do we provide for the guests when they come on site?

Are we having that attention to detail that we should? Does everything look the way it should? If someone spends money with us, we wanna make sure that they are getting their value for it, right?

It’s never about, it’s never about, hey, thanks for this sponsorship and move on to the next person. We are constantly, constantly thinking about, is this right for the sponsors? Is this right for the guests?

You know, we use the mentality, I like to say, every guest is your guest. So whether it’s a sponsor that spends a ton of money with us or someone that received a complimentary ticket, when they come on site, everyone has to make sure that that guest is having a great time. So it’s, yeah, the ownership really drives that.

And the other thing I like to say is, though we spend a lot of energy on opening night, which we should, it’s the kickoff to our season. I like to say it’s the unofficial kickoff to summer in Lancaster, but we have 63 home games and that’s someone’s opening night, right? So if it doesn’t have to be the same hoopla that we do for opening night, but someone that every single night, that’s their opening night and we wanna make sure that they have a great experience when they come on site.

Nicholas Paulukow
That’s awesome. You know, kind of going back to what you said earlier, Mike, in your career, I mean, you were a young man, you were going to school and the ownership of the establishment you were working with, obviously recognize this leadership ability that you had, right? Like was leadership instinctive to you?

Were you taught it? You know, where’d you learn it? Where’d you learn to lead or to build those skills and abilities?

You know, at such a young age.

Mike Reynolds
You know, I think it’s, I think we all can be leaders. Some are taught, some read books, some have it in them. Maybe I’ve been fortunate enough where I’ve got a little bit of everything.

I’ve had great mentors in my life. My mother is an incredible human being. She worked hard.

She’s worked many jobs to, you know, to make sure that my brother and I not only had what we needed, but we wanted. And so I definitely work ethic, I believe comes from her and her, you know, just desire to make sure she’s providing and doing what’s right. Also within my career, I just, I always look at, you know, we all get paid to work.

I want to make sure that whether it’s the right way to think about it or not, I always want to make sure that the person paying me is winning on their end, right? I want to work harder than when I’m getting paid. I should not be getting paid more than like, you know, I should not be taken in my personal opinion.

And I believe it’s worked for me over the time, you know, just always being a hard worker. And I also think being a good teammate, you don’t have to be a leader to be a great teammate, right? And I just think, you know, treating everyone fair, being transparent with your expectations, being able to manage up, you know, you’ve got to be able to have good conversations with leaders of yourself to make sure that you’re doing your job right, asking questions.

So I’ve just been, I don’t have the exact answer for you, Nick, but I just think I’ve worked hard. I’ve always had a positive attitude. I try to always look at the glass half full, if you would.

I’m okay with change in life. One of my favorite books is, Who Moved My Cheese? It’s a great book.

And I just think being flexible, being a good teammate, respecting individuals and working hard are a couple of good characteristics of a good leader and allows you, whether it be at a young age or later in your career, to become a strong leader.

Nicholas Paulukow
I think that’s great, Mike. I think one thing that I heard from you that was really amazing is, is that from your perspective, it’s humbleness, right? Like, I mean, you’re like, hey, listen, I’m here to serve someone else, right?

Like if value is being provided to me, I want to give value. And that’s a uniqueness that we hear today, right? Like many people that are starting to learn, there’s a book called Five Levels of Leadership.

And like level one leadership is like, I’ve been given this job. So I ultimately have the say-so and it doesn’t really, it’s more about themselves than it is the outer part of others. And I think that’s really key, what you said.

I mean, you’re talking about the benefits of others as well as the same benefit for yourself. And I think it’s really key for people that are listening because that is the distinguishing factor, I think, of leadership, right? Like you have to put away yourself and lead and give that benefit to others, right?

And carry that on. So I really appreciate you sharing that. And you talked about kind of your mother and how other people have kind of shaped your life.

On the podcast, we talk about like servant leadership and like serving others. What does that mean to you? And is that part of something that your mother instilled in you as well?

Mike Reynolds
Yeah, I mean, I say this and hopefully this is in reference to what you’re looking for, but we do not just give jobs here, right? We have 30 plus full-time employees. We have another 20 plus year-round part-time employees.

And then we have over 200, 250 seasonal employees. We don’t, so we have over 300 year-round and we don’t just have jobs that have jobs, right? If you’re here on our property working, you’re here because we need you.

And no matter what level you are on the org chart, it’s a need and everyone should be treated equally and fairly and respected. So also everyone in the organization should be willing to do what everyone else is doing, right? Not saying that we all have to go outside and pick up trash every single day, or we all have to make sure that the turf is prepared for the players.

But when it’s called upon, you gotta be ready to do it, not think that it’s beneath you. Really making sure that you know the names of all your colleagues, right? And it’s not, no one is better than the other.

We are all needed to make this work for our guests when they come on site. So I try to lead by example. I don’t do it just because it’s for show.

If I see a piece of trash on the ground, I’m picking it up because it’s part of my job. I wanna make sure this place looks great for people. If a guest needs help, I’m not pointing to a direction, I’m guiding them to a direction and helping them.

Sometimes it’s a lot to have to have conversations 12 hours a day, but if someone wants to stop and talk about the Stormers and what we’re doing, I’m there with a smile having that conversation. So it’s, and I expect everyone to do that. So I think being a leader and a good leader, you’ve gotta do what you’re asking others to do as well.

And you gotta do it with a smile and you gotta do it like, you gotta be sincere. Some people try to do it, but they’re just not sincere or genuine. And I think that is the difference between a good leader and someone trying to be a leader.

If there’s no, if you’re not genuine with what you’re doing, then it kind of, you can see it, you can pick up on it. Yeah.

Nicholas Paulukow
You know, it’s gotta be difficult. I mean, 300 employees, that is amazing, right? And you’re at the helm to kind of lead this, but how many people did you say are seasonal again?

Mike Reynolds
Over two, I mean, you include the players and yeah, we’re over 225, 250, I believe.

Nicholas Paulukow
Wow. So every year you might have 200 new employees that you have to train. How does one lead through that?

Like that has to be right. Many of us are like, I have an employee, I train them, they’re growing. I mean, you’re like swapping them out, right?

Like they may come back, they may not. How do you lead through that? How do you train, you know, new people every year to participate in, you know, this experience?

Like that’s gotta be difficult.

Mike Reynolds
Yeah, I think it is difficult. I can’t say that it’s my sole responsibility every single day. One recently, we’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of people return.

We have a great retention rate, but definitely have a lot of new people each year. But I would say the other thing is, I mean, I have a great group of team leaders that are up to the challenge just as I am. It’s not just me.

We are, no matter what level they are in the org chart, I would say we have 30 leaders on our team, right? The full-time employees. And we take it serious that they all have to make sure that they’re good leaders and they’re good teammates and colleagues to these seasoned employees.

We want the seasoned employees to feel just as special as we do from full-time employees. It doesn’t matter how many hours you put in a year or a week. So yes, it’s difficult, but I would say we have, this is probably one of the best group of colleagues I’ve had in all my years of sports.

Like we’ve, the tenure, the desire to be successful, the desire to win, the desire to be a good human being to colleagues, desire to provide a great experience, not only for guests, but also for our seasoned employees. It’s high. And I’m fortunate to have the group of colleagues that I have here.

Nicholas Paulukow
That’s amazing. And I mean, that goes to a lot of kind of the culture and the values it seems like that you instill. How long did it take you to develop that excellent group of people?

Many people are like, wow, that’s amazing. I wish I had that. Did it happen overnight?

Did it happen over multiple iterations? You know, could you kind of shed some light on people that might be struggling with developing a great team right now?

Mike Reynolds
It did not happen overnight. That’s for sure. It took years.

But one thing is when you have good colleagues and good leaders, you got to keep them. You got to find ways to keep them. And it’s not always just about financial gains for them.

It’s about culture. It’s about them feeling rewarded, them feeling appreciated, them feeling respected and them also gaining ways for growth. It’s a lot of people, this happens in sports a lot, my league sports too.

People always want to chase a title. And for me, I don’t work well with people chasing a title. I work well with people chasing responsibilities.

And so when you, right? So when I have colleagues with that work here, and I’m not saying like it’s about them working more than they get paid as far as the amount of hours, but when they’re chasing responsibility, that shows me like, hey, they’re chasing growth, right? It’s not about what the title says.

It’s about what are the responsibilities. And it’s reciprocal, right? You also have to make sure that they trust you that eventually that title will come or that pay raise will come or the additional responsibilities will come.

But I definitely have been fortunate where people have trusted the ownership in myself that the compensation comes over time, titles come over time. But if you want responsibility and we think you’re up for the task, you’ll have it today. And those individuals have…

So we have the baseball business called Stadium. And then we also have taken food and beverage in-house. We took it in-house at the end of 2020.

All one business, but for this example, the baseball, it took two, three, four years to really get the right team together to keep them here and to get to the point where we are now. And now, so we took food and beverage in at the end of 2020. I can now say, now this is our fourth year managing it.

And it’s taken that long to get a good group of leaders to be consistent there. And it’s not always easy. I think culture is the biggest thing, right?

You got to get people in and you got to make sure that you provide a culture that they can succeed in. And you also got to find the right people for that culture. I like to explain our culture as, I want to be able to be all buttoned up, ready to go downstairs and go into a meeting to present a six-figure deal.

But on my way there, I want to be able to dip off, hide under someone’s desk and scare the you-know-what out of them, right? But after that’s done, we laugh. I want to dust off my pants and I want to go into it and turn on the switch professional and be ready to present, right?

So that’s how I like to explain our culture. Like, you got to be ready to turn it on and off quick. Like, we have a lot of fun here, but we also have responsibilities and we have a job to do.

So you’re going to turn on that professional switch pretty quick. And so with that culture, if you can find people that fit into the culture, then that’s the culture I like. Like, I can’t be like every, I just can’t.

It’s not for me. I got to have fun. I got to joke.

I got to be able to, maybe that’s why I work in the garage because, yeah. But I got to be able to turn off and on pretty quick. So I think if you find the right culture, then you’re going to find the right people.

And it doesn’t work for everyone. So you got to, it’s slow and you can’t, if you have the expectation that’s going to happen overnight because you need it to happen overnight because of financial reasons, your P&L, then you’re forcing decisions. We’re here with this ownership group.

They were okay with a timeline. Like, we’re not going to win right away, but eventually it’s going to be the right people. And once we have the right people, we are going to win.

So it happened on the baseball business where now our leadership team and, and by leadership team, I’ll talk about the 31 colleagues I have. Like, it’s the right people, right? We have the right people doing the right jobs.

Nicholas Paulukow
Feel good though, right?

Mike Reynolds
Oh my God. It feels amazing. And now to have the same thing on the food and beverage side it’s, you know, we always want to get better.

We’re never complacent here, which is a good thing to keep people, employees on their toes and keep them wanting to grow. But yeah, we are in a good place now, but it did not happen overnight. It took, it took, you know, you hire people, some work out, some don’t.

Keep the ones, find the way to keep the ones that do, are doing what you want them to do, are part of the right culture, but then keep, keep going.

Nicholas Paulukow
And to add to that, Mike, that is great feedback. I mean, cause we all go through these cycles, right? I mean, I’ve been in business for 22 years and it seems like every time you go to grow you’re in that reset mode again, right?

There’s people that want to be part of it, people that don’t, and it’s hard. It’s not easy, right? I mean, you know, what you’ve done is quite difficult.

And I think it’s amazing though, to hear, I’m kind of all or nothing, right? So like, let’s get it done. We’ll put a hundred thousand hours into it, right?

That is a vice that I constantly have to control because, you know, like, let’s get it moving. And, you know, you’re kind of teaching me a little patience, like kind of roll with it, but that’s no fun, man. That takes time.

Mike Reynolds
It takes, and trust me, I like, trust me, I’m someone that likes immediate results. I am not, I pretend I’m patient, but I’m not, but you have to set yourself right, right? You have to make sure that I have high expectations, but I also have to be realistic.

I have to hold myself to high expectations, but my colleagues, I have to be realistic and fair with where we’re going, right? They’re not in this job to deal with all the stress and like, how are we going to get there? Yes, I want to get there quick, but also going to see like, going to look down the line.

Well, I’ll share with you one of my proudest moments as a, I guess, as a leader and as working in sports, from the 22 season to the 23 season, we went into the 23 season with the same staff that left the 22 season. Okay. In sports, that is uncommon.

That’s the only year that I can recall in all my years in sports that that has happened. And for us, for me, that’s culture. Like that shows like, you know, we’re not the majors.

We’re a minor league sports team in a, you know, a awesome city, awesome county, but it’s a small, you know, small market for those that want to work in sports. So for us to have accomplished that, that speaks to culture in the group of people that we have here.

Nicholas Paulukow
That is awesome. That’s awesome. You talk about that a little bit.

I mean, it sounds obviously like you have a really strong culture. You know, you have a culture of serving, meaning that you get involved and you lead through that. You know, I mean, I’m sure that the sports industry and especially having, I think you said like, 60 some home games and they’re not all eight to five, right?

Like these are evenings and weekends. And like, how do you lead through that? I mean, that’s a lot of pressure, right?

And so it’s like the beginning of the summer, as you said, it explodes. And then it’s kind of like tax season. I hear from accountants, right?

They get through tax season and then it’s like, how do we have a party? Because things slow down till tax season comes back. It sounds like the sports is like that, but you’ve continued to keep this year round.

I mean, the stadium does everything, Christmas lights and shows. And like, so how do you not burn those people out or how do you lead through that?

Mike Reynolds
It’s, that was a, you know, I talked about weather and foul balls initially when I made the transition from basketball to baseball. That’s actually another thing that you had to work through. It is, it’s very common practice that if you work for a baseball team, you are at all home games.

And that leads to people, to your point, that they get burned out. And then at the end of the year, their grass is gonna be greener somewhere, not because they’re not doing the same thing, just because you’re tired. And then when you’re burned out or you’re exhausted, a one bad comment from a leader, one lazy task or not completed task from a colleague is gonna make you think, oh, this is awful, right?

So what we did here in, at first it was, I mean, it was well received from my colleagues, the, all the employees here, leaders are like, what are you doing? But it costs, so it basically, it costs a little extra money because the staff announced, I’ll share with you what we do. So what we did, we have an A, B, we have an A team and a B team.

Nicholas Paulukow
Okay, that’s neat.

Mike Reynolds
Yeah, and so we, and there’s a handful of us that tend to be here for majority of the games and that’s fine, just our responsibilities tend to lead us to have to be here. But what we do is the A team, B team, we do require the A and B team to be here for open weekend and the last weekend in the season.

Then after that, we alternate weekends.

Nicholas Paulukow
Oh, that’s a great idea.

Mike Reynolds
And then on the weekdays, we alternate days. If A’s here Tuesday, B’s here Wednesday, A Tuesday on Thursday, then B would be here next Tuesday. And so with that, and then what I tell them all, like, here’s your teams.

If you, for some reason, can’t be here for one of your nights, work it out with each other, just swap dates. And if it ever has to get to me, I’ll be the decision maker. You know, and so this is my seventh season, we didn’t have a season in 20.

Not once has it had to get to me to have to be the mediator or moderator to how this works. They’ve all, it’s worked out. And so with that, it just, people aren’t burned out, right?

They aren’t exhausted. And then my second summer, so year two, I was like, okay, that really worked well. Let’s do A, B, C.

Yeah, that was, then we didn’t have enough people there. So we went back to the A, B schedule. But with that, also my second year, I made it, I’m gonna say mandatory.

Mandatory is a, it’s not like mandatory, but I strongly urge everyone to take a summer vacation, which again is not a habit of baseball teams. But I, if, for the service individuals, I ask them to take a vacation on a non, on a week where we don’t have games, because they need to be here to serve for the games. And if you’re a sales individual, I’m asking you to take a week that we have games, because those tend to be the days that are not strong sales days, because we get busy with the season.

And I think those two things, I think the A, B calendar, and then the summer vacations add to our culture and just allow for people not to be burned out, because it’s, it is exhausting. We do have 12, 13, 14, 15 hour days. We do have 70, 80, 90 hour weeks for some of us.

And it can get like, you know, at that point you just get, you’re, you don’t mean to be negative, but sometimes you’re like some, like the littlest thing will like, and then all of a sudden, yeah, right. And then someone from another team calls them and say, hey, we have this job, they’re going, right. Not because you did anything wrong, but because they’re tired, they’re frustrated, and that one thing.

So we have to keep people fresh. And then, so that’s for them personally. And then if our employees and our colleagues are fresh, then the guests, when they come on site, they’re getting the right experience from our colleagues.

Nicholas Paulukow
Well, I think that’s really key. What you’re talking about is you have a culture, but the culture is based around the value of the people that you have and how you, how that impacts, it sounds like serving the people that you serve, right? And the community and your guests.

I mean, that’s pretty impressive and probably had cost some money to do that, right? And so you sacrifice maybe some dollars to provide long-term success for your team. And I think that’s pretty impressive from the aspect, but it sounds like it’s also allowed you to grow and retain, which probably then return some of that from a financial statement back to you because it costs a lot of money to hire and train people.

So that’s pretty neat. That’s a neat way to solve a problem.

Mike Reynolds
Yeah, it’s an investment in your team, your colleagues, but it’s also investment in the organization. I haven’t led a lot of different, a lot of my leadership has been business, sports business and or health industry, but I am of the mindset that you don’t pinch pennies to save expenses. You try to generate dollars, right?

And generating dollars, not always, hey, Nick, would your company sponsor this? Generating dollars to your point is how do we make sure that we have the same staff every year, right? So it could, to your point, it does cost us money to have seasonal employees here.

Could we have full-time, could we have all 30 of us here taking on a lot of the seasonal jobs? Yeah, we could, but it’s gonna cost us when they leave and now we have to rehire people. But some people are just short-sighted and I’m not trying to be mean or negative to some people how they make decisions, but for us, we are okay with the expense now for the generation of revenue and good experience for our guests long-term.

Nicholas Paulukow
Well, and then you have a pool of people then that are already trained. So if one leaves, they can cross-train another. I think it is a phenomenal idea.

I’m like, wow, how do I implement that across other places? That’s pretty impressive.

Mike Reynolds
You know, the last thing-

Nicholas Paulukow
Oh, go ahead.

Mike Reynolds
Yeah, yeah. I was gonna say, the last thing, I say not last thing, man. There’s a lot that we do here, but what we also do is we have MODs, Manager On Duties, every night. And it doesn’t matter if you have a manager, director, a VP in your title or executive, con executive, everyone has to be an MOD throughout the season. And so they take on the responsibility of starting the game and ending the game.

And that literally, it’s building leaders even with the first year here, because they’re seeing what goes into making decisions when guests are on site, when you have to open gates, when you have to close them, when someone gets unfortunately hit by a foul ball. So I think also giving responsibility to individuals builds up, one, it makes them stronger leaders too, but also builds up their sense of worth and value here at the stadium and keeps them engaged year round as well.

Nicholas Paulukow
Oh, I like that idea. That is pretty neat. So then you also get to see kind of emerging leaders through that as well.

Mike Reynolds

Nicholas Paulukow
Yeah, that is cool. I like that. I’m taking some nuggets away here.

You’re teaching me, Mike.

Mike Reynolds
Well, there’s two things you learn. You learn who can be leaders, and then you learn who you might have to work with because they might get a little power and then you’re like, oh boy, no. You gotta back up.

Nicholas Paulukow
That’s that level one leader again. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, Mike, those that are like, I hear a ton of kids that are so, like even my nephew, right?

He’s like went to Alabama and all these places for like sports management. He wants to be an announcer and he thinks the world is his oyster, right? For that, which it is. But like people that are interested in getting into the sports industry, what advice would you give them?

Mike Reynolds
I would say do as many internships or part-time jobs as you can. LinkedIn is an amazing tool for as far as connecting with people in the sports world. But my personal belief is that you’ve gotta meet people.

I can show you a resume or I can show you how I work. Which one’s like, right? So having, and then also the sports world is interesting that it’s a, though it’s a big world, it’s a small world, right?

There’s talk about, you know, six degrees of separation. It could be three if you, just like how people have moved around, grown, interns. You know, I say every year when I meet with the interns, we have like a class of like 33 of interns this year.

And I tell them like work hard, not because you’re just an intern here, but because someone here in this room may be hiring for a position that you want in five years. Or someone here in this room might be working somewhere where you wanna get a job someday. And if they see your work ethic here is not great, the prom night can give you a good recommendation for the place.

So going back to like what to do, I highly recommend to all the interns do as many internships as possible. If you’re, you know, obviously we all need finances and money to live, but a lot of the internships tend to be unpaid and it’s a short-term sacrifice for long-term gain. So if they’re, you know, if you have to intern 30 hours a week for free, but you have to work 20 hours a week to get paid, just figure out in your schedule.

So again, it’s a sacrifice and maybe it doesn’t work for everyone, but the intern, intern, and well the volunteer, local athletics, college athletics, sports teams, we’re all looking for interns and we’re all looking for assistance. And I think those resumes tend to get looked at a little quicker than those that don’t have the sports experience because you wanna be able to see that people understand what the commitment is as far as time, responsibilities. And then the final point with that is then you meet people.

Like you meet people and connections, connections, connections.

Nicholas Paulukow
Yeah. And so kind of segwaying into that, you talked about your ownership and how good they’ve been to you and understanding that they’re entrepreneurs and they’re builders and creators. So as a leader, give me one thing or one nugget you’ve learned from them.

Mike Reynolds
I mean, I’ve always valued human beings and I just, I enjoy meeting people and talking to people and have sincere, genuine relationships, but they take it to another degree. Like they take it to another degree of really, one from a recruitment standpoint, but constant value and constant appreciation. So they have been, I’ve learned a lot from them, but definitely from that standpoint, how you treat people, it’s not always about financial gains, but financial gains, as well as just the importance of work-life balance, understanding that sometimes family and life will be chosen over work and that’s okay, especially when work is typically chosen more times than not, right?

So they’ve definitely the value of people. And I don’t want to sound like I never valued people, but they just take it to another degree. And for me, my first, I’ve lost out on a couple of jobs that I’ve tried for in the past.

This is the only job I actually applied for. I’ve been fortunate where all the others were of referrals, but there are some jobs I didn’t get because my leader at the time thought that the organization would be hurt because I left.

Nicholas Paulukow
Oh goodness.

Mike Reynolds
Which is awful, like that’s not a good leader, right? So being able to provide support for when people make decisions that they want to build their career or what they consider enhancing their life by taking on another job or just another responsibility. These guys, one, I said, I would never do that to someone that worked for me.

I just would never. It’s just, it’s not a good feeling. Like I thought you were my leader mentor and then you go stunt my growth.

One, I would never do that, but now these guys take it to another degree, like, hey, we’ll help. Or how do we keep you with us? Because you are valued and you are appreciated.

Nicholas Paulukow
I love it. As we kind of wrap up here a little bit for the day, what legacy do you want to leave behind as a leader in the sports industry?

Mike Reynolds
I would love for all of my colleagues to not have a day where they feel like they’re going to work. Just really, this is what I am, this is what I do. It’s not, we all have bad days.

Trust me, I have them too. But I never wake up thinking, oh, I have to go there again today. And I would want the same for every single person that comes across and is my teammate or colleague.

Just because we spend a lot of time at work, no matter what industry you work in. And it shouldn’t be the downside of your day or the downside of your week. It should be neutral with life itself, right?

And so I would love for all of my colleagues to just always enjoy coming to work and be proud of where they work, but also just love what they do every single day. And then I hope that within this organization, that there are a ton of president and GMs of many different sports teams over time. We have a lot of great people here.

And I hope one of them kicks me out of my seat someday. But I also hope others get the opportunity to lead their own teams because one, that is just, that shows that I personally believe if you have employees that become leaders, you’re doing something right.

Nicholas Paulukow
That’s right. I love that. I love it.

I appreciate that. And as we start to talk about like advice, what would you give advice to those aspiring leaders that you have even in your organization or anywhere? Like what advice would you give them?

Mike Reynolds
Like, don’t stop, don’t quit, continue to educate yourself. For me, I did start to go get my MBA, which I chose not to finish. Well, no, this was many years ago.

But I didn’t, but I stopped. And actually I had a couple of people in the sports world that tell me, yeah, you can get it, but really what’s gonna be best on your resume is the experience and the success in the sports world. But that being said, I mean, if you look to my right here, I have a ton of books that I constantly look through and read pages here and there.

Remind me-

Nicholas Paulukow
Tell us about a few of them.

Mike Reynolds
I mentioned one to you that, Who Moved My Cheese? I think that is a everyone because we are all nervous for change.

And that book is a three, four hour read. And it just is a reminder of how we can all, how we all should appreciate change. It’s not always what we want, but a lot of times it’s what we need.

And being able to cope with change and really helping us become, just appreciative of what we have, but also know that change has to happen. I will also, there’s a couple of other things, the one, how successful people think. It’s not always just about leadership, but just small.

Nicholas Paulukow
John Maxwell seems to be a go-to for a lot of people.

Mike Reynolds
He’s a good one. He’s a good one, right?

Actually, there’s a, actually, it’s fun to have a, oh, here, I’ll show you the two. I have two of those by the way. Do you have any of that stack?

Who Moved My Cheese? I’m telling you, this is it. I love it.

I’m telling you, that is it. The last two places I’ve worked, this place and then also in Reno. In Reno, I bought everyone this book.

And then when I came here, there was a lot more employees. I was like, I can’t buy books. I’m going to print it all out.

So I printed them all out and I give it to everyone on the first day.

Nicholas Paulukow
That is awesome.

Mike Reynolds
Here, here’s a really good one. Again, John Maxwell.

Nicholas Paulukow
Love it. I love that one.

Mike Reynolds
Is it right? And so, I don’t get to read as often as I do, but there are days where I come and I just like, okay, I got to get two pages in me or three pages in me. And it leads to, it leads to what I’m doing.

Nicholas Paulukow
Many people say, right?

Mike Reynolds
Right, exactly.

Nicholas Paulukow
I love it. Mike, that’s amazing. Thank you for sharing those.

And John Maxwell has so many great, great books. I mean, the five levels of leadership, 24 levels for leaders, all kinds of great content. So thank you for sharing that.

I’m going to check out that, that Who Ate My Cheese, right? Is that what you said it was?

Mike Reynolds
Who Moved My Cheese. You got it. Oh, Who Moved My Cheese.

Nicholas Paulukow
Ah, I’m going to check that out.

Mike Reynolds
I’m serious. Check it out. It’s a, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, yeah.

It’s a good book to just ease the mind of knowing that change is coming and change has to happen.

Nicholas Paulukow

You know, as we close out today, do you have any parting comments for any of the listeners?

Mike Reynolds
No, I mean, I would love to have every listener come out to a game, would feel free to reach out to me. And I’m sure my contact information will be shared somewhere. I would love to just showcase what we have here in Lancaster with the Stormers and just never give up.

Don’t let a bad leader or a bad mentor stunt your growth. If anything, let it strengthen you to become a better leader and a better mentor for all those that cross your path.

Nicholas Paulukow
I love it. Thank you, Mike. We really appreciate it.

And Mike is really truthful about following up with him in regards to the Stormers. Check out the stadium. It is a heck of an experience and they will definitely treat you like royalty when you show up.

So check them out, check them out. Well, as you know, that’s kind of a wrap for this episode of Servant Leader’s Library. We’ve had the pleasure of speaking with Mike, the president and general manager of the two-time defending Lancaster Stormers.

Mike, thank you so much for sharing your insights and experiences with us today, your journey across various leagues and your dedication to empowering those around you truly exemplifies the principles of servant leadership. So for our listeners, remember to check out our past episodes of Servant Leader’s Library for more conversations with leaders who are making a difference through service. Don’t forget to subscribe, leave a review and share this podcast with anyone who might find inspiration in those stories, which you can find at

Once again, I’m Nicholas Paulukow. Thank you for tuning in. And we’ll see you next time with more insights and discussions on servant leadership.

Take care and keep leading with heart.

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