Serving Others Is A Part Of Living Life To The Fullest For Brother Mike Callais
by Jeff Jowdy
University of Georgia, ‘83
Service to others is a part of living life to the fullest, says 2018 Man of Achievement Mike Callais (Louisiana State University, ‘84).
“Service is important for anyone – and that goes along with faith. It helps you to know that there’s something more that you can work for,” Mike believes. “Cajuns like to live life to the fullest. That’s one part of just having a happy life.”
A 1984 graduate of Louisiana State University, Brother Callais embodies the term “servant leader” and our fraternity’s motto, “Give, Expecting Nothing Thereof.” Today, the seasoned business leader is chairman of Abdon Callais Offshore, as well as a board member at Community Bancorp. His diverse leadership experience includes influential roles in the real estate, automobile, solid waste and cable industries.
Mike’s late father, Harold, was a faith-filled man who helped lay the foundation for his son’s approach to life.
“He firmly believed in controlling the things you can control and not worrying about the things you can’t,” Mike says.
“He did teach me the importance of sharing our blessings, our time, talent and treasure with others,” he adds. “It’s not for us and not from us – those blessings come from God and we’ve got to return them to God.”
Mike shared that his father’s final words were profound: “God is good!”
His mother, Gloria, instilled faith into her children early on.
“My dad couldn’t go because of his work obligations, so she was the one who brought my brothers and me to church every Sunday,” Mike says. “She was the first one to teach us the importance of a spiritual life. She taught us that God is with you always.”
Mike is a board member of Phi Kappa Theta Foundation. He and his wife, Blanche, have been instrumental in the Foundation’s support, enabling the Fraternity to develop programs that provide a spiritual pillar for collegiate brothers. Mike is actively engaged at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church in Golden Meadow, LA.
Also involved in many nonprofit organizations ranging from Leadership Lafourche to Nicholls State University, Mike was the recipient of the Diocesan Service Award presented by the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux as well as the Outstanding Rotarian Award from the Rotary Club of Golden Meadow. He is a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus and has been recognized several times as Knight of the Year.
He is also instrumental in conversations on re-chartering the Phi Kappa Theta chapter at LSU.
Like the servant leader he is, Mike accepted the 2018 Man of Achievement award with great reluctance and great humility. We even had to enlist Blanche – our “secret weapon” – to encourage him to accept!
Mike credits his success to those who have guided him throughout his life.
“This organization has helped in the formation of many successful leaders of government and industry over the years,” Mike shared in his acceptance remarks, “so being chosen for this recognition is such an incredible honor for me. I accept it on behalf of my family and friends who over the years have inspired and guided me.”
He also encouraged his fellow brothers to invest in developing servant leaders.
“I urge you all to make a contribution – some contribution – to our Foundation,” Mike said, adding that we are each called to lift up others wherever we can.
We don’t know why we were put into this situation, but other people are put into other, different situations,” Mike explained, “so, we need to try to remember them and help them reach their full potential as well.”
Watch Brother Callais’s speech from IMPACT18 in Orlando, FL: