Michael Rea earned a degree from the Ivey Business School in 1965 and a Chartered Accountant degree in 1968 while working at Price Waterhouse. A former Chair of the Canadian Magazine Publishers Association, Michael held a variety of roles at Key Publishers in Toronto, Including board member, shareholder, and Vice-President, Finance and Administration.
He served as a board member and Treasurer of the Nature Conservancy of Canada and when expansion at NCC led to the need for more management, was appointed Chief Operating Officer and later a Vice-President. Michael retired from NCC in 2009 and has volunteered there since then, lately as President of American Friends of Nature Conservancy Canada. Michael supports several environmental causes and is on the Heritage Committee of the Toronto Golf Club. In 2002, he received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal for his work with Canadian Geographic Magazine. He grew up in Oakville and has lived in Toronto for 40 years with his wife Barbara. He has 2 adult sons and 3 grandchildren.