Inspired by Oprah Winfrey and the educational opportunities she has created for women around the globe, Michelle is passionate about opening doors for others through mentoring, coaching and sponsoring learning activities. The Women Warriors at Holland America Group is one example. In support of this grassroots employee resource group, Michelle spearheaded a book club known as the Learning Circle.
“I started the Learning Circle in 2022 as a spin-off to the M.S. Masterminds Travel Advisor Book Club, which I started in July 2020,” she said. “The M.S. Masterminds Travel Advisor Book Club has grown to 800+ members.”
Initially established to build and maintain connection during the pandemic, Michelle has helped create a unique space for women to share their insights, discuss challenges and learn from each other through courageous conversations.
“By fostering an environment where our members feel safe to share their experiences, it creates a strong sense of community. We feel a sense of belonging by learning that we have many shared experiences, and we possess a genuine desire to support one another.”
Passion for learning has been foundational to Michelle’s career journey, who began as a purser at the front desk of a cruise ship, and is now leading the sales organization at Holland America Line as vice president. “I am living proof that women’s growth and development are supported in this industry,” she noted.
If you or someone you know has felt inspired to take their career to the seas, here are some words of wisdom from Michelle to help you get started: “Grow your network, talk to people in the industry, and connect and learn about what life on board or shoreside is all about to see if it’s a good fit for you. And if it is, chase your dreams and don’t stop until you achieve them.”