Mike Rosenbaum is an entrepreneur and lifelong Marylander who maxed out his credit cards and started a company 21 years ago based on the premise that talent is everywhere but a broken system filled with systemic bias keeps underserved, urban, and rural communities from accessing opportunity. Since starting his first company, Mike has helped thousands of Marylanders from all backgrounds and every region of our state access opportunity through a good-paying job. His work has successfully challenged biased systems – making it possible for Marylanders who felt stuck to move into the middle class, earn enough to raise a family, and obtain the economic security we all deserve.
From an early age, Mike was instilled with a belief that any successful community is built on a foundation of hope and dignity. Mike’s mother Susie, a school teacher, and his father Bob, a lawyer, raised Mike and his brother in Montgomery County and built their home and family with values of humility, selflessness, and hard work.
Early in his childhood, Mike gravitated to math. It just made sense to him. It was later that Mike’s precocious math skills and time as a Mathlete got him into Harvard, the London School of Economics, and later, Harvard Law School.
As a law student, Mike focused on many of the themes that would later define his career as an entrepreneur. He saw firsthand how inequitable our criminal justice system is toward people of color and those without means. That inequality ultimately creates barriers to opportunity. While attending Harvard, Mike served as a student criminal defense attorney – observing firsthand the disparate way the criminal justice system treats different communities. Later, Mike worked in the White House to protect Black churches in the south from insurance companies looking to take advantage of houses of worship due to an uptick in white supremacist attacks.
In the 1990s, Mike briefly worked on trade and other issues in the US Department of State, and joined the Clinton White House as an economist focused on tech, labor, urban and rural policy for the Council of Economic Advisers and Vice President Al Gore. Mike also served as a law clerk for the Honorable Diana Gribbon Motz at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Following his work in government, Mike moved to Baltimore and started his companies Catalyte and Arena. Through his work, Mike has advanced his core belief that talent is everywhere but opportunity is not. As a result, he has challenged our broken systems and helped to expand opportunity to thousands of Marylanders.
In the early years of Catalyte, Mike met and fell in love with his wife, Amy, an attorney and former nurse. Mike and Amy doubled down on their bet on Baltimore by buying a home and raising two daughters in the city. All of Mike’s life he’s believed that society must be built on a foundation of hope and dignity. It was a belief in these ideals that drove Mike to challenge the status quo and start Catalyte and Arena.
Under Mike’s leadership, his companies, Catalyte and Arena, took a different approach—using
data to identify people with skills and potential, regardless of where people are from, who they are, or who they know. Mike’s work helped create pathways of economic mobility, hope, and dignity for his employees and community. Mike knows that underserved, urban, and rural populations contain just as many people with the talent to succeed, but they are often overlooked by a system that fails to recognize talent and create opportunities.
Mike’s businesses prove that a more diverse workforce outperforms competitors, creates a
more stable workforce, and drives better financial outcomes and better customer service—all while stripping away the bias that plagues the labor market. Mike did this with the belief that every person is worthy. Every person has talent. But our system is broken. If we fix that system, organizations, people, and the greater society thrive.
Mike as Governor
Mike is now making a bet on Maryland by running for Governor with a vision to continue challenging assumptions and taking on the unfair systems that have plagued our society for years. He believes we can reimagine the status quo and build an inclusive and equitable economy that works for every Marylander.
As the richest state in the richest country in the world, the fact that poverty exists in Maryland is a systemic choice. And it doesn’t have to be this way. Mike’s career has been about challenging systemic bias that unfairly puts under-served communities, women, and the working class at a disadvantage—making him uniquely qualified to lead Maryland toward a more inclusive and equitable future. It will take courage to challenge the system and question assumptions, but Mike will be the Governor that can create a Maryland that works for everyone.