Attitude is everything. Michael Ellenby has one of those once-in-a-lifetime infectious attitudes we’re all attracted to. And, his accent will get you. Born and raised in Australia, he spent many of his formative years creatively playing and experiencing life outdoors. The travel bug bit him early and Michael spent a few years around Europe during undergraduate school. He elected to return to Melbourne to climb the corporate ladder at GE, and then IBM, in sales. He ended up in Singapore where he completed a MBA. As his corporate career skyrocketed, Michael openly admits that at this phase in his life, he was heavily me, me, me focused. Thankfully, he met his wife Beth who helped him transition from me, me, me to you, you, you.

Michael’s love of the outdoors continued and, as the years have passed, he’s hiked Aconcagua, Kilimanjaro, and Everest’s base camp. Each trail teaching him new and important lessons he passes on to his daughter, Jadye, and the many leaders he serves as an executive coach, a member of multiple boards, and mentor to Phoenix-based start-up incubators. In this interview, he discusses servant leadership, losing one’s ego, making others feel valued, avoiding procrastination, playing big, and how you do anything is how you do everything.

Roughly a decade ago, Beth lost her battle with cancer. Although devastated, Michael remembered what his mentors told him… you can’t get through life’s biggest challenges without a team around you… and you don’t need permission to live an extraordinary life. So, he moved from the learning and earning stages of his life to the returning stage. He’s incredibly active in returning his knowledge to his community to help others overcome their fears of failure, starting small, and success. More importantly, Michael is humble and wants us to know “He’s just a dude.” His favorite resources include simply having a curiosity mindset, SEED SPOT, Simon Sinek’s Start With Why, Michael Gervais’ podcast Finding Mastery, Bill Burnett’s and Dave Evans’ book Designing Your Life, and Kieth Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone.

Michael Ellenby is a mountain climber, mentor and business executive, TEDx speaker, MBA, and Australian. He’s on the board of directors for SEED SPOT, Adelante Health Care, and, a member of Valley Leadership cohort 38, a mentor for ASU Venture Devils Program and GangplankHQ, and a speaker at StartUp Week. For more, visit,,,, and email him at

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