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Augusto “Mike” Flores

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Augusto “Mike” Flores
Class of 2021 BEQ Pride LGBTQ Leader Under 40
(He, Him) is 40

The year 2020 feels like a worldwide wake-up call in so many ways. As a leader, I realize the most important thing I have learned and will take forward is…

“No” is the easiest response that allows the status quo to exist. If we accept or provide a “No” response, it reveals we haven’t been thoughtful about the questions, concerns or barriers presented. We now understand the impact of a “Yes” response in disrupting the status quo.    

Augusto “Mike” Flores is the vice president of Finance and Strategy at Corktown Health Center in Michigan. A veteran of the automotive and aerospace industries, Flores’ calling to nonprofit leadership was unconventional. Transitioning from the private sector to nonprofit work required courage and his partner’s support, but Flores’ leadership is making sure affirming healthcare is available to the Michigan LGBTQ+ community. Flores, a first-generation American, earned a Bachelor’s and a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Detroit Mercy and Oakland University respectively. He also holds a certificate of International Business from the International Institute Of Higher Studies in Mexico.

Augusto Mike Flores’ path to Corktown Health Center (Michigan’s LGBTQ+ health clinic) was undeniably atypical. With 16+ years in the private sector, a background in the automotive and aerospace industry and a history of carefully calculated career trajectory, it wasn’t immediately clear how this could work. Transitions from private sector to the nonprofit sector usually involve a culture shock, but Flores was able to successfully parlay his finance, program management and strategy experience to leading the expansion efforts of LGBTQ+ affirming healthcare access points in Southeast Michigan. 

Flores was initially inspired by the Corktown CEO’s vision of affirming healthcare for the LGBTQ+ community. Inspired to take a leap of faith — against conventional wisdom — to find fulfillment and success by changing paths. The nonprofit sector suffers from a knowledge and expertise gap because of the scarcity of certain business skill sets among the leadership ranks.

By 2016, Flores realized he wanted and needed to do more in the community. He volunteered on the board of directors for Affirmations, Michigan’s largest LGBTQ+ community center, and quickly became president of the board. The organization struggled for years before Flores led the restructuring of the organization, recruitment effort to identify a new executive director and a strategy set to drive a new path forward for the organization. 

His success as president of the board helped him to realize he could truly be successful using his private sector business expertise to help make nonprofit organizations stronger and economically viable. Flores quickly found his calling, with the support of his partner, Josh he followed his heart to professionally immerse himself in the world of LGBTQ+ nonprofits.   

He began as Vice President of Special Projects in 2019 and was soon promoted to Vice President of Finance & Strategy in June 2020. When the novel coronavirus pandemic hit, Flores was able to demonstrate his strong leadership skills by managing several patient continuity of care projects including heading up a technology implementation plan. With the success of the technology plan, he was ready for the promotion. 

Flores believes LGBTQ+ non-profits can operate similarly to for-profit organizations in some of the administrative and operational areas. Allowing these organizations to focus both on long term sustainability while delivering on their stated mission day-to-day requires carefully balancing priorities. Since he is committed to the long-term vision for the organization his finance and strategy skills help him with managing the sustainability, beneficial partnerships and securing high quality, socially driven management talent. 

Flores believes non-profits should be unapologetic about their vision, their partnership goals and the need for business and managerial skills amongst the leadership team. Taking a balanced approach to economic viability and long-term service to the community, Flores argues that it will improve the likelihood that the organization survives beyond any 10 year vision.

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