One word to describe public speaker, author, and activist Michelle Elizabeth Brown is force. For decades, through her career, creative endeavors, and volunteer work, she has used her strength to assist, inspire, and move people and organizations to be the best they can be. Mixed with her desire to help others also finds her dedication to uplifting those often left on the fringe of society: women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, for example.
For 15 years, Michelle has worked as a consultant to small businesses, non-profit organizations, and individuals in the areas of accounting, business management, and marketing. Those people and organizations who have sought assistance with fund development, volunteer recruitment and retention, diversity and inclusion, strategic planning, organizational development and training, Michelle has lent the force of her organizational and business knowledge.
Another force within Michelle is her voice, and as a public speaker and activist, she has used her voice to educate, inform, and uplift diverse groups of people in a variety of arenas. As a guest lecturer in the role of artist/activist at universities, various pride celebrations, and social justice forums, and with her co-hosting duties for the national weekly blog radio show Can We Talk for Real, Michelle consistently illustrates the need to build up all individuals within a community in order to strengthen the entire community.
Within all the work Michelle does, at the heart of each is her love of helping those on the fringes of society. As the co-executive director of Michigan Equality, she represented organizations in progressive and LGBT collectives. Working with Cass Community Social Services as the vocational training development director, Michelle developed a reintegration/training program for women at risk (victims of domestic violence, homelessness, substance abuse, etc.) to help them develop life skills. When she worked for the Cass Corridor Neighborhood Development Corp. as executive director, she planned and developed affordable housing projects in midtown Detroit. Her career work shows Michelle’s dedication to helping community, the individuals and the organizations, so that all will develop, grow, and use their own unique force.
Michelle also uses the force of her words as a freelance writer for Detroit area newspapers, as a regular columnist for Between the Lines newspaper, and for GBM News and Cherry Grrl.
The force of Michelle’s words continues in her creative endeavors, projects that reach a wide audience. Her Jack with the Curly Tail series of children’s books and her book Wild Fruit Hidden in Open Spaces—Musings in Prose & Poetry show her reach to those young and old… and all in between.
Michelle’s force is also found within her desire to give. She has volunteered for many organizations geared toward assisting those who often go unheard in society. She is on the board of directors for several organizations, to include the Michigan Coalition for Open Government, Fair Michigan, and the Society of Professional Journalism. Social injustice, diversity, fairness for women, youth, and people of color are areas in which Michelle gives a great deal of her time and effort.
In the last 10 years, Michelle has been recognized and awarded for the work she does within the community. Both the National Congress of Black Women (Oakland County, MI) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (Saginaw, MI) recognized her in 2016, and others within the LGBTQ community have awarded her for her tireless work (G-List Black LGBTQ Influencer, 2015; OUT Magazine Hidden 100 LGBT POC Leaders, 2011; Michigan Annual Pride Banquet, 2007).
Currently, Michelle lives in metro-Detroit, and when not working to support, inspire, and elevate people and communities to their best levels, she enjoys traveling.
- Outstanding Activist Award - 2014 IWLA Recognition for Contribution to Community – 2014 Esteem Award Outstanding Podcast “CAN WE TALK FOR REAL” - 2014 Esteem Award Outstanding Service Female - National, 2012 Inductee Who’s Who in Black Detroit, 2011 OUT Magazine Hidden 100 LGBT POC Leaders, 2011 Profiled in Curve Magazine, 2010 Media Award – Michigan Annual Pride Banquet, 2007 Award of Merit National Poetry Society, 2007 Triangle Foundation Catalyst Award, 2005 Spirit of Detroit Award, 2005 Diversity Outreach Award – Human Rights Campaign, 2004-2006