Meet Mike Rogers, National Sales Manager

In Brief:

  • New to his role at Nelnet Campus Commerce, Mike bring 20 years of experience in the higher education industry.

  • His favorite part of the job, without a doubt, is the people.

  • One of his key motivations and passions is the power of perspective.

Blog Post

What has been your experience in the higher education industry before coming to Nelnet Campus Commerce?

Prior to Nelnet, I spent the previous 18 years at Oracle and PeopleSoft. I have worked exclusively in the service of Higher Education in various areas which include implementation consulting, solution consulting/engineering, strategy, and sales.

What do you enjoy about working in the higher education industry?

Without a doubt, it’s the people. Higher Education is a mission and purpose driven industry and profession, and the people who create, nurture, and support that mission are rather amazing. The word ‘altruistic’ comes to mind when you think of Higher Education as a collection of people who have dedicated themselves to the continuous enrichment of the lives of others.

How do you see your role as a National Sales Director at Nelnet Campus Commerce and what do you see is the most important part of this role?

First and foremost, it’s an honor and privilege to have been selected to fill such a role. I have been entrusted to safeguard the members of our team, our customers, and our partners. Remaining focused on that most important duty and obligation is my priority. With inspired and passionate colleagues comes a level of commitment and execution that cannot be matched through any other means.

What unique characteristics do you bring to the table?

I do not know if this is unique, but I am very quick to listen and understand. Miscommunication and inadvertent misunderstanding can be the root cause of downstream conflict and dysfunction which could be mitigated by active listening and empathy. So, my first inclination is to really listen to people.

I am also curious by nature and tend to ask questions to help me create a conceptual and practical understanding of a topic or issue. At an elementary level, this is no different than how kids draw and color: create the outline, add detail, and add color for additional context.

The combination of these helps me to understand overall strategy and delineate the ensuing objectives, targets, measures, and so on.

What are some ways you create effective communication within your team?

Though I have not had the opportunity to meet anyone in person at Nelnet yet, I do think open and regular communication is foundation to creating an effective atmosphere. Also, a certain organizational agility is necessary to adequately adjust should patterned or systemic communication challenges arise. This is an area where breaking quickly will be beneficial.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Without a doubt, the enduring friendships and relationships are the most treasured aspects of my career. The accomplishment and achievement of any goal is utterly meaningless without those with whom you have led, followed, aided, or guided.

In your personal and professional life, what motivates you to work hard?

The best way that I can answer this is by sharing something that I read that captures the sentiment: Follow your blisters.

We’ve all been told variations of the sage tutelage to follow our passions, and I certainly believe in that; however, following the blisters can be much simpler to comprehend. Every one of us has a thing that we simply cannot let go of even when there is friction and the path is unclear. So, we keep coming back to it frequently enough for that friction to leave an indelible mark…or a blister.

Another motivation is that of perspective which, in and of itself, can be a challenge. The first step is to gain perspective. The second, and more difficult, step is to maintain perspective. If you take a moment to slow down and have an introspective and comparative glance around and within, you will realize that you have been afforded a rich opportunity; personally and professionally. Make of it as you will, but the opportunity of a lifetime is before us all.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given and by who?

I have had the extraordinary opportunity to watch and model the behaviors of many wonderful people. Buvern “BJ” Francisco was one such person. Our worlds initially intersected as paired freshmen roommates in college. Though he is no longer with us, one enduring sentiment that I cherish about BJ is that he never put a wrong foot in his interpersonal relationships. He was one of those rare angels amongst us who had an amazing level of compassion with people.

What is one thing that can instantly make your day better?

The right song at the right time can be downright magical. I am sure that others can relate when I say that music can be therapeutic in nature. Who hasn’t been transported back to that seemingly lifetime-ago-moment that comes hurtling at light speed to the forefront of your memory because you heard that song?

In your personal life, what do you enjoy doing? What are you passionate about?

As to what makes me tick, family and friends (family by choice) are a cornerstone of my life and give me purpose.

I thoroughly enjoy traveling to less usual destinations. Back to the power of perspective, it thrills me to visit and explore places where it’s beyond apparent that you’re not in Kansas anymore. Some of my favorite destinations have included Morocco, Turkey, and Thailand.

Also, I love movies and reading. And thanks to Netflix, I have a newfound interest and appreciation for Formula 1 racing.

Author: Natalie Schwarz

Natalie Schwarz creates and edits internal and external communications as a Communications Specialist with Nelnet Campus Commerce. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Creative Writing and has over a decade of professional writing experience. When she’s not crafting communications, you can find Natalie enjoying the outdoors with her husband and their twin boys or scoping out an estate sale.

View all posts by Natalie Schwarz