It’s an understatement to say that Mike Banasiak likes to be involved, and it’s usually in a leadership role, said Brian Hood, co-founder and principal of Legacy Financial Group, where Banasiak has worked since 2006. 

Over the past three years, Banasiak has held the top three leadership positions in the Young Professionals Connection, served as co-chair for the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute’s class project that raised $135,000 toward building new offices for the Amanda the Panda charity, and founded two new events – Devour Des Moines and LinkedIn Social. 

“One of the things I’m most passionate about is connecting people and networking, and motivating people to get involved in the community, Banasiak said. “The latest saying I have for people is ‘Embrace the fear.’ You never know who you’re going to meet and how that’s going to impact your life.” 

Banasiak said his wife, Kate, who was honored last year as a Forty Under 40, inspires him as a mentor.

“She’s someone I can really talk to,” he said. ”She truly inspires me to be a better person every single day.  It doesn’t matter what the issue is; it’s the fact that I’m able to talk through everything with her, whether it’s at the end of a long stressful day at work or talking about a new leadership event.” 

Educating people is also a key part of his professional life as a certified financial planner. “There’s nothing better than walking away from a meeting knowing I’ve helped someone realize they can save for retirement,” he said. 

Additionally, Banasiak is pursuing a professional speaking career, speaking to groups and at association functions about the importance of getting involved and networking. 

“Honestly, I would like nothing more than to become a motivational business speaker, to travel around to different organizations across the country and world, and to help people create effective and fun networking events,” he said. 

Reasons he’s a Forty:

• Last year he created a new quarterly event, LinkedIn Social, which has enabled more than 300 professionals to network with their LinkedIn connections. 

• In 2011, he founded Devour Des Moines, a fundraising event that combines triathlon activities with competitive eating. The event has so far raised $5,500 to benefit Buy Fresh, Buy Local.

• As a member of the donor committee of Young Variety, he assisted in revamping the Network with a Heart event to attract new heart donors.  

• Serving as a transportation consultant for the World Food Prize, he managed transportation logistics for the weeklong event with more than 1,000 international guests.