Alum Exec “Battles Democracy’s Decline” – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Alum Exec “Battles Democracy’s Decline”

After graduating from HWS in 1996, Michael Mills has been climbing his way up booklists and corporate ladders. On the path to writing his new book, “Battling Democracy’s Decline,” Mills has worked his way up to an executive position at Wal-Mart and started his own business.

Mills’ book examines the history of American civic participation and looks at how the nation has arrived at the current decline, using real world examples of what inspires people to action. Based upon his grad school thesis from Georgia State University, Mills’ book continues his interest in a plan for engaging young people in the civic process and personal experiences working in politics, non-profits and public affairs.

“The book explains why we are a nation less engaged in civic pursuits but is inspirational and provides tangible steps people can take to make a difference on issues they care about and in the communities they serve,” says Mills. “It is intended for elected officials, non-profit workers and anyone interested in shaping the direction of our world.”

Mills contends that each reader will take something different from “Battling Democracy’s Decline.” “To some,” he says, “the book will be equal parts inspiration and motivation because they will see concrete changes people made in their communities by taking action — real results delivered by real people.” He continues by saying that, “Others will learn the theory behind our decline, which will lead to better results in their efforts to engage people in their communities and spheres of influence.”

Thinking back to his HWS education, Mills says, “The Colleges provided me with critical skills that I rely on every day in the professional world,” he reflects. “The curriculum and faculty forced us to ask critical questions, leading to strategic plans based upon solid analysis. And the third is an ability to successfully interact with a wide range of people in professional and networking settings.”

While earning his degree in political science, Mills was a member of Delta Chi fraternity and the Statesmen hockey team. He continued his education at Georgia State University, graduated in 1998 and then started working as a legislative aide to a cabinet officer. From there, he embarked on a successful path that led him to his current position, regional director of corporate affairs for Wal-Mart, where he manages all media and community relations in eight southeastern states.

Active in the community, he tutors at-risk children who are in danger of dropping out of school because of poverty and has worked on the Get-Out-the-Vote drives with the League of Women Voters. He was a member of the Hobart College Alumni Council from 2001 to 2006 and has set up an independent record label, Barefoot Mailman Recordings.