Michelle is a licensed private investigator in the state of California and a mitigation specialist at Community Resource Initiative (CRI), a capital defense office and resource center based in San Francisco, California. She is a founding board member at Pangea Legal Services and worked to build the organization at its formation stages starting in November 2012.
At CRI, Michelle collaborates on social history and mental health investigations, in the US and abroad, in an effort to improve the legal representation of men and women facing the death penalty. Through her work at CRI, she also contributes to special programs that serve and support communities disproportionately affected by the death penalty and mass incarceration. These include collaborations with local educators, artists and students that focus on disseminating important stories and knowledge to create change in impacted communities.
Michelle’s interest in the organization of non-profits originated while working within the consensus based, non-hierarchical structure of CRI. She believes that organizations founded on horizontal leadership models are better equipped to foster cultures of collaboration, and therefore author creative solutions to difficult societal problems, than institutions founded on more traditional power hierarchies.
Prior to her work at CRI, Michelle collaborated with attorneys in the legal defense of immigrants facing banishment from the United States. She also worked as an editor and freelance journalist in Caracas, Venezuela and on a Clean Water Initiative in Honduras and El Salvador.
Michelle holds a bachelors’ degree in International Affairs from the Elliot School of International Affairs at George Washington University in Washington D.C., She is a dual citizen of the United States and Ireland and speaks both English and Spanish.