Executive Director, Bridge for Youth
Michelle’s experience includes more than 20 years of leadership in the nonprofit and public sectors, including starting, leading and turning around multiple nonprofit and public policy initiatives. She holds an undergraduate degree in communications and organizational development, a graduate degree in public administration and business and a law degree. In addition, Michelle completed a fellowship at the Humphrey Institute Public Policy Forum where she did her group work on women and people of color in political leadership.
At the age of 19, she founded “Avenues for Homeless Youth” which in 1993, was the first shelter for homeless youth in Minneapolis and the organization is still in existence today. In this process, she became a tireless advocate of youth who are victims of sex trafficking and gay/lesbian/bisexual youth who are disproportionately represented amongst homeless youth. Michelle also worked for the Minnesota Department of Human Services, served as executive director for FamilyWise where she led a significant organizational turnaround and provided executive leadership at the largest provider of affordable housing in the Upper Midwest. Michelle also started the MN Runaway & Homeless Youth Coalition and co-founded the Nonprofit Emerging Leaders Academy.
She has received numerous awards, including the City of Minneapolis Award and the Outstanding Young Minnesotans/Americans from the Jaycees. Michelle’s work also included leading the collection of data regarding racial disparities in criminal justice and judicial systems for Hamline University School of Law. Her nonprofit and public sector career has been focused on child welfare, youth homelessness, administrative efficiencies and turning around struggling nonprofits.
Throughout her life and work, Michelle’s passion has been fighting for those that are oppressed, abused or the subject of discrimination. Most recently, Michelle served as the CEO for the YWCA of Delaware and now, she is tremendously pleased and honored to further her personal life mission by advancing the mission of the Bridge for Youth.