active CEO Podcast Mike Nishi Chicago Event Management Chicago Marathon Beyond The Race Craig Johns Speaker

active CEO Podcast #94 Mike Nishi Chicago Marathon Beyond The Race

active CEO Podcast Mike Nishi Chicago Event Management Chicago Marathon Beyond The Race Craig Johns Speaker
Mike Nishi – General Manager Bank of America Chicago Marathon

On this episode of the active CEO Podcast, Craig Johns speaks with Mike Nishi about Chicago Marathon Beyond The Race, risk and crisis management in mass participation events, closed loop environmental sustainability strategies and the power of collaboration.

We also discuss the Nike Breaking2 Project, partnering with Abbotts World Marathons, why he ran the Bank of America Chicago Marathon at the age of 13 years old, and why placing community at the center of event management decisions is so crucial.

Mike Nishi – Chicago Marathon Beyond The Race

Mike Nishi is the General Manager of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, a global leader in environmentally sustainable events, and is described as professional, highly organised and forward thinking leader. A dedicated family man, he is an avid runner and cyclist, completed his first ever Chicago marathon at the tender age of 13 years old, and is a board member for Girls on the Run Chicago

He started out as an intern, while at school, before becoming an employee for the Chicago Event Management company in 1989. Currently, his role is Executive Vice President of Business Development and Operations looking after the organisation of the Chicago Marathon, J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge, Girls on the Run and the Nike Breaking2 project in 2017.

His role oversees the production of all Chicago Event Management events with a particular focus in event operations, emergency response and sustainability logistics. Over a decade a go he founded the Race Management Program, ten years ago, to provide an intimate forum for race organiser’s to share ideas and find solutions to create unforgettable event experiences.

Mike talks about:

  • Running my first Chicago Marathon in 4hr 25min, as a 13 year old.
  • 3 decades working with Carey Pinkowski at Chicago Event Management.
  • Growing the Chicago Marathon from 5,000 to 45,963 finishers.
  • Safety and security being the number one priority following 9/11.
  • Planning for the unknown and unexpected is very challenging.
  • Creating a forward command facility to protect the safety of athletes and the community.
  • Chicago Marathon Beyond The Race.
  • Creating sustainable partnerships with Abbott World Marathons.
  • The Bank of America Chicago Marathon environmental initiatives.
  • Closed loop sustainability program with compostable cups.
  • Using storytelling to share the journey of recyclable products.
  • Bamboo cups and Nike t-shirts made out of recycled plastic bottles.
  • Nike Breaking2 project to break the 2hr marathon mark in 2017.
  • Sponsorships Nike, Gatorade, American Airlines & Bank of America.
  • Aligning partner’s values in a collaborative arrangement.
  • Race Management Program to support the event industry.
  • Celebrating mistakes not on the outcome, but what you learnt
  • Incorporating Pilates and mediation in his daily routine.

Active CEO Performance Tip

SINGLE-task Not Multi-task For Productivity – If you try and multi-task, our brains move too fast, we lose focus and take on too much. In fact, the brain can’t actually multi-task and what it actually does is task switching. If you are task switching to often or too quickly, it slows down your response time and prevents you from completing tasks quickly, if at all. Break down your work into single tasks and block your time accordingly to the highest priority tasks. First, write down all your tasks. Second, prioritise your tasks according to low, medium and high priority. Third, schedule time specifically for high priority tasks first, in your calendar. Then delegate all medium and low priorities where possible. Plan your day so that you can single task to get the best productivity and performance as a leader.


“It is hard to plan for things that might not happen and things that you just don’t like to think about, but have to do, whether you initiate or not.” Mike Nishi talks about crisis management, on the active CEO Podcast.

Resources Mentioned in this show:

Michael Nishi LinkedIn
Michael Nishi Instagram
Michael Nishi Twitter
Michael Nishi Facebook
Chicago Event Management
Bank of America Chicago Marathon
Craig Johns
Craig Johns
Craig Johns LinkedIn

Recommended Reading:

Fuel Your Body For Leadership Performance Read Article
How Exercise Enhances A Leaders Performance Read Article
Four Basic Fundamentals Of Being A High Performing Leader Read Article
How To Be A High Performing Leader In 2020 Read Article
active CEO Lessons In 2019 Read Article
Four Ways To Overcome CEO Loneliness In 2020 Read Article

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