Field Notes

Benedictine University Alum Gives Back

May 24, 2011

Mike Mantel became the president and CEO of Living Water International in July 2010, but he has worked to bring water to the world’s thirsty for more than a decade. His first glimpse of the impact water could have on a community was in an African village: One small well literally gave life to an entire community. Before the well, most of the children got sick and many of them died because of bacteria and parasites in their drinking water. After the well, the children lived healthy lives. Before the well, young girls spent much of every day walking four miles each way to a polluted spring to transport what little water they could carry. After the well, these girls had clean water right outside their doors and had time to go to school. But clean water didn’t only change the lives of the people in that African village—it changed the course of Mike’s life, too. “While in my 30s, I only intended to spend a few years in the service of others,” he says, “but soon it led to more years during which I have seen God’s hand move many times.” Mike and his wife Natalie, along with their four daughters, have traveled the world in service to others. He is grateful and humbled to know that his children and their friends are realizing that they can make a change. “Today, young people talk about change-making topics I didn’t know existed until I was in my 30s,” he says. “That is inspiring.” Mike’s contributions extend beyond the water sector as well. Another way he gives back is as a volunteer advisory board member for Benedictine University’s Center for Values-Driven Leadership, a place where “top executives, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders come together to innovate at the forefront of values-driven business practice.” Whether he is making an impact by guiding a new generation of leaders into the forefront of water charities or by giving back to the university that encouraged his own growth as a leader, Mike understands something about serving: “It makes you feel more fully alive. Life is so much richer, filled with excitement and opportunities.” This article has been adapted from “Giving Back” in the Spring Issue of Benedictine University’s Alumni Magazine Benedictine Voices. Read the full article (on pages 20-21) and learn more about Mike Mantel by clicking here.