I was born in Santa Cruz, California to a family that migrated west to San Francisco in 1849.
Unfortunately, they never found gold, nor did they buy (and hang onto) any California land.
My mother named me Michael, after author and actress Blanche Oelrichs, who wrote under the name of Michael Strange. After months of saying, “Yes, she’s a girl. Yes, her name is Michael,” my mother finally caved and I became “Michele.” I was read to as a child, and needed always to have a book with me. My maternal grandmother belonged to a writing club in San Francisco in the early part of the 20th century and wrote poems and jingles—one of which won her a travel trailer during the Depression.
I’ve lived in San Francisco, the Bay Area, the Central Valley, the Sierra, Southern California and the North Coast.
My first career was in journalism, and I spent seven years as a staff writer with the San Jose Mercury News. After returning to Humboldt State University to complete school and work on a master’s, I fell into my second career, as a non-profit administrator.
I’ve worked in the arts and social services and always considered non-profit management my career passion.
I’ve also spent time as a reporter and editor for daily papers in California, including twelve years in management. I was the city, metro and executive editor for daily newspapers in California’s Central Valley. During this stint, I was a judge for three years for the California Newspaper Publisher’s Association Better Newspapers competition and won two awards for directing Investigative/Enterprise stories
For the last several years, I’ve managed non-profit agencies including a legal organization serving roughly 10,000 senior citizens in Alameda County. In 2006 and 2007, I was a judge for the selection of Coro Fellows, a national nine-month long fellowship in public agencies and administration run by the Coro Foundation in San Francisco.
I’m a member of the Society of California Pioneers and Sisters in Crime and live in California’s Central Valley with a cat, skunks, wild turkeys and an opossum (only the cat gets to come in the house).
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