Michelle is a proud mom to Emilia and Victoria and wife to John, the Village of Wellington’s Vice Mayor. Family is important to Michelle, and over the years she has supported her children as a member of their school’s Parent Teacher Association and School Advisory Council.
Michelle comes from a large Puerto Rican family, and she is the oldest of four sisters. A trailblazer in her own way, Michelle was the first in her family to attend college. Her parents instilled in her a passion for service and the importance of hard work, honesty, and integrity in everything she set out to accomplish.
If elected, Michelle would be Palm Beach County’s first Latin-American elected to the County Commission.
Michelle, John, and their two daughters live in the Village of Wellington.
Michelle’s first job out of college was working for the Governor at The Florida Department of Children and Families. After volunteering for his campaign for several months, Michelle was hired to work for Senator Bill Nelson’s first campaign for the US Senate. Once Senator Nelson was elected, Michelle went to Washington DC to work on policy issues in his Senate office. When it came time for Senator Nelson to open the first US Senate office in Palm Beach County, Senator Nelson asked Michelle to head home and serve as his Regional Director for The Treasure Coast. In this role, Michelle interfaced with the community and elected leaders on major policy initiatives and identified federal dollars for local projects and issues.
A proactive leader, Michelle was promoted to serve as Senator Nelson’s Statewide Director overseeing a team of 10 regional directors and staff across 7 regional offices throughout Florida. She helped lead advocacy initiatives and programs for the Senator with key constituency groups and elected leaders. Michelle worked in these public advocacy roles with Senator Nelson for 18 years.
Michelle has worked side-by-side with local women leaders to successfully bring forward the first rape treatment center to Palm Beach County to serve victims of abuse across our community. Palm Beach County’s Sexual Assault Response Team was created through Michelle’s advocacy and funding she identified to make the program a reality. Today, Wellington Regional Medical Center is home to The Butterfly House, a multi-million-dollar public-private partnership, and Palm Beach County’s first Rape Treatment Center.
As Vice Chair of the Village of Wellington’s Education Committee, Michelle led efforts for the creation of the Village’s Keely Spinelli Grant which provides funding and academic support to 11 of Wellington’s public schools every year. The program has awarded over $2 million in grants since 2013, and it is considered a model grant program for how communities can create partnerships to support local education and schools.
Michelle is also Treasure of The Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County and Chair of the Palm Beach County Advisory Commission on Women, where she continues her advocacy efforts.
Serving and engaging with the community is in Michelle’s DNA. Throughout her life, Michelle has advocated for the issues that are most important to our residents, families, and small businesses. Michelle currently serves – or has served – on numerous organizations, including past president & member of the Board of Directors of the Forum Club of the Palm Beaches; founding Member and President of West Palm 100; Past President of Sunfest Palm Beach County; Trustees of the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches; President’s Circle (Trustee) for the Wellington Chamber of Commerce; and Trustee for Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce.
Always engaged in the communities she has lived. Michelle has served on several local boards. When living in West Palm Beach Michelle was on the Mayor’s nominating advisory board for Mayor Frankel and Mayor Muoio she also served on Charter Review Committees for both Mayors. When she moved to Wellington Michelle got involved on the Education Committee and served on the Charter Review committee.
Michelle has been recognized by our community for her advocacy and commitment to Palm Beach County. She is a Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce Women of the Month Award nominee and two-time nominee for the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches Athena Young Professional Award. In 2020 Michelle received the prestigious Go-Getter Emerald Award by The Girl Scouts of Southeast.
Michelle now serves as the Director of Government and Community Relations for a major healthcare system. She focuses on creating, guiding, and promoting positive relationships. Her work to help local leaders and the community navigate important health and medical issues over the last two years has provided Michelle with essential experience that will prove critical as our county deals with the impacts of COVID-19 and other issues.
Michelle’s advocacy and record of service started early in her collegiate years. As a member of Florida Atlantic University’s Student Government, Michelle served as a Student Senator, Member and Chair of the Florida Student Association, and she was elected Student Body Vice President. This work experience led Governor Lawton Chiles to select Michelle to serve as the first Student Regent, the student position on the Florida State University System Governing Board. Michelle graduated from FAU with a Bachelors in General Studies from the College of Education.