Meet Mike Connole Skylight’s Managing Partner

He’s a go-getter and talented linguist who likes subterranean beer drinking (read on…).  Meet Mike Connole, Skylight’s Managing Partner, and joint head, alongside Paul Fox, of our newly merged organization.

Are you from Cleveland and what’s your favorite thing about Cleveland?

No, I’m from Baltimore but Cleveland is my second home.  Both my parents are from Cleveland so I spent my summers here and I have lots of family members living here.  So, when an opportunity came to work in Cleveland I took it.

My favorite thing about Cleveland (and Ohio) is its people who I find to be so kind and polite.  Also, I always say that Cleveland is the best-hidden secret in the US.  It’s a great and affordable city where there are lots to do.  You have the beaches, there are fantastic restaurants and its accessible for skiing and going to cool places like Niagara.

You recently started working in Ohio City.  What’s it like working in this vibrant neighborhood and have you already found your favorite eatery?

I’m loving Ohio City.  It’s a great place to work.  I enjoy being able to walk across the street with a group to socialize or just quickly break away for lunch.  This area has so much to offer.  I frequent Boaz Cafe most often for lunch as I enjoy their Mediterranean menu!

What do you like to do to relax and chill out?

When the weather is good I like to go to the pool or the Country Club with my kids.  Otherwise, I like watching movies with them.

What’s the most interesting place you have ever visited and why?

It’s a tie between Prague and the United Arab Emirates.  Prague is the best vacation spot imaginable!  I love its old-world charm, it’s quirkiness and its bohemian lifestyle.  Where better to enjoy a beer than a 13th-century dungeon!

The United Arab Emirates is a fascinating place although probably not one I would pick as a holiday destination.  Sitting in the bars, it’s easy to think you are in Star Wars – there are people there from all over the world and you are trying to guess who is the spy or the terrorist!  As you can imagine, being a Marine in the UAE, made me stick out like a sore thumb.

A little known or fun fact about you?

I speak fluent Spanish!  I studied Spanish at school and college and then lived in Valencia for a year.

What’s your biggest achievement?

One of my biggest achievements is retiring from the United States Marine Corps in 2016 after 23 years of total service (6 years active and 17 reserves).

What key skills from serving in the US Marine Corps have you transferred to your work and personal life?

Perseverance, discipline, and patience.

What’s the best advice you have received?

From my dad who always said to never quit.  I apply this to all areas of my life whether it’s playing sport, my time at the Marines or persevering to succeed in the financial services industry.

What do you think are the most important traits you need to be an effective leader?

I believe a person must possess 4 important traits – they must be honest, forward-looking, inspiring, and competent. If a person has all four, they will do well.

What do you think it takes to be successful in the financial services industry?

You must be able to find clients, identify what a client’s needs are, and provide the solution.  Then you must have tremendous perseverance as you go through that cycle and fail many many times before you successfully complete a cycle in full.

Gracias (sorry that’s as far as our Spanish extends) Mike!