Mike Raab: Executive Director of The GaragePosted on • Posted in Articles
By: Elizabeth Savin ’25
On October 5th, it was announced that Mike Raab will be taking over the role of Executive Director of The Garage.
Mike is a double Northwestern alum, receiving a bachelor of science degree from the School of Communication and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management. Three years ago, Mike was recruited to be a founding director of The Garage San Francisco. From there, he joined the Evanston campus as associate director and served as interim director after Melissa Kaufman’s departure in 2022. In his new role, Mike will continue developing relationships with the entrepreneurial community in Chicago as well as Northwestern students interested in entrepreneurship.
The Garage recently had the opportunity to speak with Mike and learn more about his new role and future plans for The Garage.
What are you most looking forward to in your new role?
I’m excited to continue working with the ambitious students at The Garage to help them bring their ideas to life. I also look forward to finding new ways to grow our community in order to have an even greater impact.
What is your favorite thing about The Garage?
My favorite thing is the people. I love that everyone is positive and collaborative, it makes it such a fun place to be. Students are always willing to help each other out, excited to share what they are working on, and have created a community of entrepreneurs who support each other.
What is next for The Garage?
Next is working to continue expanding our network and impact. A lot of times the things students need are connections and help from other individuals in our network. I initially started working with The Garage in order to build out the community of alumni: specifically founders, operators, and investors in the bay area. We hope to have a national and international network to support our students. Additionally, we want to become more involved with the Northwestern community as well as build closer ties with the Chicago startup ecosystem. Overall working to increase our presence in each of those 3 areas.
What message do you want to share with students looking to become involved in The Garage?
The best thing you can do is just start! Come visit us at The Garage Monday to Friday, 9 – 9 to talk about an idea or get to know the space. If students are interested in joining our communications list they should sign up for the Tinker program or get involved with an existing team through Startup Matchmaking. My general advice is to not be intimidated, you don’t need to have an idea or progress to get started. As long as you are a Northwestern student you can show up and get involved.
What is one of your favorite Garage moments?
After this year’s Jumpstart Demo Day, I was so proud of all the teams and how far they had come. However, what made it so special was that after the pitches many of the students came up to talk about how they felt like The Garage was their “home.” That was incredibly special to me and really demonstrated the strength of our community.
The entire Garage community is excited to see the continued impact Mike will have in his new role as Executive Director.
Elizabeth Savin ’25 is a Manufacturing and Design Engineering major from Wilmette, IL. She is a student aide at The Garage and was part of the Winter 2022 Propel cohort. She is excited to begin her own venture while learning more about entrepreneurship.