This week, the news was shared at Adobe that I’m leaving my role there. After 15 years, I’m grateful for the learning & growth, friendships & opportunities, personal & professional success, and amazing friendships.
Last December, I was in the Lehi, Utah office and enjoying breakfast with a long-time friend & coworker. We shared similar hopes to work five or ten more years then “retire” and spend more time with family & other interests.
So what could pull me away more quickly? An Exodus, you might say.
A Rosary on the Road, and a Proposal
In May, I drove to Fort Wayne, Indiana, at the request of the leadership team of Exodus 90. I was spending a day with them in a “focus group” on better support for parishes & parish leaders.
Driving the loop around Indianapolis, I was praying a rosary and had a random prompt hit my heart. I heard, “You’re going to be a leader in Exodus.”
Unsure what it meant, I held that in my heart until the next day, after the meetings, when their CEO James Baxter asked if he could talk about something. Over the next few minutes, he floated the idea that perhaps I might join their team to lead their operations. I could help him lead their team to a broader scale and impact.
That kicked off a conversation over the course of several months. We continued discussing whether it was the right mutual fit and whether it made sense for both of us.
It also kicked off a lot of prayer and discernment for Suzanne and me, and for our boys as we included them in the discussion.
A Bit About Exodus
Exodus 90 is a ministry – a movement – devoted to setting men free from attachment to the things of the world and forming them into men for others.
Exodus has a vision to be the formation house for a million men around the world.
I’m excited to be joining as the new Head of Operations, to help lead a new chapter of growth and innovation.
I believe that more men need Exodus, and this is a unique opportunity to bring my experience and background to this mission. It’s also an opportunity to better integrate my identity as a Catholic deacon, husband, and father with my professional experience.
There’s a lot of room for Exodus to grow and to help more men, and I’m grateful and excited to be on mission to free and to form men for others.
Consolation from the Blessed Mother
This has definitely taken discernment, courage, and trust. To be honest, you don’t leave a role like mine at Adobe for a role in a church-related ministry and make any more money. I’m pretty sure my “retirement” timeline just moved from 5-10 years to 10-15 years. But for the mission, it’s worth it.
There’s also a lot of risk in a small team getting a model right and making the impact they want to have.
At the end of the discernment journey, though, I came to know this was the right step. But giving notice to my leader at Adobe wasn’t easy. I hadn’t left an employer in over 15 years!
However, after walking through my decision (and my notice) with my manager last week, I turned to the other side of desk and glanced at my personal computer.
Just arriving was an invitation to the conference call for the weekly rosary of the Exodus leadership team.
From the start of the journey into Team Exodus to the start of the journey out of Adobe, Our Lady had sent me signs. That was a deep and wonderful consolation.
Next Steps on the Journey
I am floored by the notes from friends & coworkers, along with requests for one-on-one meetings to say ‘goodbye’. The next eight or so working days are going to be a deeply emotional time of farewells.
I’m left quite simply with a deep sense of gratitude for the 15 years at Adobe, and now for this new opportunity with Exodus.
I also have a renewed appreciation and gratitude for Suzanne and the boys. Their support of my career journey and this decision in particular have edified my understanding of their love and support, and also of my responsibility to them.
Thank you for your continued prayers & support on the journey.
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Tech Executive Joins Leadership of Exodus 90
Former Adobe Director tapped to lead operations of fast growing men’s movement
Fort Wayne, IN, October 12, 2022 – The worldwide spiritual men’s movement, Exodus 90, is set to welcome a new addition to their leadership team this month. Former Adobe executive Deacon Michael Halbrook, of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, will start his new role as Head of Operations on October 24.
Halbrook’s first experience with the popular men’s formation program was in 2016 during the organization’s infancy, and then again in 2021. He went on to become one of the first Exodus Parish Guides – volunteers trained to help Exodus men lead their parishes through the Exodus 90 spiritual exercise.
“Exodus changed my life and helped me become a better man,” states Halbrook. “I’ve seen it not just within myself, but with so many other men who’ve taken on the 90-day journey as well.
“Joining this team and helping it grow and impact more men around the world was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
Prior to joining the team at Exodus 90, Halbrook served as Director of Technical Account Management at Adobe – capping 15 years in various roles, including Chief of Staff for the consulting business. In those roles, Halbrook led various teams, day-to-day business operations, communications, special projects, change management, and more.
“It has been a great grace to have Deacon Michael bring his management experience to our small team,” adds James Baxter, co-founder and CEO of Exodus. “The Lord’s timing – as we always know – is perfect for this moment in the life of our young mission.”
Exodus 90 has grown rapidly in just the past seven years – with more than 60,000 men worldwide taking on the ninety-day spiritual program. It has now been translated in five different languages, with more in the works for 2023.
Halbrook got his start in leadership at radio stations in the St. Louis market – serving as on-air talent and online director before founding and selling a dotcom business in 2000, and leading digital media and analytics for customers including AT&T and Anheuser-Busch.
He lives in Granite City, IL with his wife of 18 years and their four sons. His diaconal ministry at St. Elizabeth Parish includes serving his pastor as director of faith formation and liturgy.
Men everywhere are encouraged to find or start a local Exodus 90 fraternity in preparation for Easter by January 9, 2023.
For more information on Exodus 90 and a complete press kit, visit https://exodus90.com/media/.
Since 2013, Exodus 90 has evolved into a powerful 90-day spiritual exercise that reaches across the globe to impact fraternities in more than 65 countries, freeing over 60,000 bishops, priests, and laymen from enslavement. Through a regimen of daily prayer, asceticism, and fraternity, Exodus 90 summons men back to the foundations of their faith, stripping them of worldly addictions and reinvigorating their devotion to Christ.
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