Michele grew up in Western New York, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at SUNY Fredonia. She began spending her summers working at Denali National Park in 1992, and traveled during the winter. After the summer of 1994 she moved to Healy year-round. During her nine years in Healy she worked for the National Park Service and private tourism businesses. Afterwards Michele spent five years in Minnesota working for a contracting company specializing in cold storage construction. In Minnesota, Michele lived in, and was very closely involved in, the conception and construction of a highly energy-efficient and sustainable ICF home, the design of which also focused on function, air quality, aesthetics, and minimizing sound. In September 2009 Michele earned her MBA at the Minnesota School of Business. Michele came back to Alaska and lives in Fairbanks with her husband Sean and twin children Cierra and Hunter. Michele oversees the general operations of the organization.