Michelle’s career has been defined by standing up for equity and access for disenfranchised individuals and communities. Prior to joining LIFT, Michelle spent nearly 20 years leading youth and community development efforts in New York and Los Angeles. Michelle joined LIFT in 2012 as the Founding LIFT-Los Angeles Executive Director where she seeded many of the program innovations that are now core to LIFT’s nationwide program model, including the focus on an intergenerational approach to breaking the cycle of poverty, the integration of financial coaching into traditional supports, and giving cash directly to members. After serving as LIFT’s Chief Cities Officer overseeing all of LIFT’s regional operations, in 2019, Michelle was promoted to and now serves as LIFT’s Chief Executive Officer.
Michelle LIFTs because she believes in the transformative power of “hope, money and love” – her signature take on LIFT’s special sauce. Her own parents loved her fiercely and instilled in her the notion that she could do and be anything she wanted. She fully understands that this firm belief and investment in her possibility provided a buffer against socioeconomic inequity. It is an honor for her to pass on this transformative power of love, backed by rigor and dedication, to populations historically marginalized and unjustly overburdened by stigma, isolation, and disregard.
Michelle is a sought-after public speaker and thought leader whose has been featured in SSIR, Variety magazine, LA Magazine, NPR’s Marketplace, and the 2018 United State of Women Summit, amongst others. She is a Senior Fellow at both the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab at the USC Marshall School of Business, a Promise Venture Fellow, and part of the inaugural class of ProInspire’s Catalyst Collective of BIPOC nonprofit executives across the country.
Michelle resides in Los Angeles and is the proud mother of two beautiful children who are her ultimate source of motivation and inspiration. She loves them fiercely!