With over 14 years of professional experience, including sales, marketing, education and leadership roles, Michelle brings to the ESA Executive Director position a unique blend of skills, knowledge and practical experience, combined with a strong background and passionate interest in surfing.
Michelle, who lives in Fenwick Island, Delaware along with her husband and two young sons, operates Sommers Surf Lessons, which specializes in surf and SUP lessons for women and children. She also works alongside her husband in their two bicycle shops, handling sales, marketing and financial management. In her previous life, Michelle was the Senior Territory Business Manager for Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.
A graduate of Maryland’s Salisbury University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Fitness, Michelle also enjoys running, biking, yoga, travel and photography. Michelle was a 2011 Athleta Featured Athlete and is a regular contributor to Athleta’s Chi Blog with topics on surfing, training and stories about inspirational experiences. Additionally, Michelle is a volunteer and member of Delaware’s MERR Institute, a non-profit stranding response and rehabilitation organization dedicated to the conservation of marine mammals and sea turtles.
“I am really excited to be joining the ESA at such an important time in the evolution of the organization. What started as a grassroots effort to advance amateur surfing in 1967 has grown into a 45-year success story, and I’m proud to be a part of that story and to help the organization prepare for its next 45 years. I’m quite impressed by the enthusiasm and dedication of the volunteers who have run the ESA over the years and I am extremely proud to join their ranks.”
In addition to beefing up the ESA’s competition program, which serves surfers of all ages from beginners to surfing’s future pros, Michelle looks forward to networking with other organizations to further the ESA’s involvement in beach access and preservation efforts, as well as environmental issues.
“Whatever level you want to take it to, there’s no doubt the ESA provides the solid foundation to produce not only surfing champions, but champions in life, as well.”
Michelle is expected to start in her position as Executive Director with the ESA in late spring 2012. Tom Warnke, ESA Board of Directors Chairman commented, “Michelle is a genuine professional and an inspiring person, so I’m stoked! We are very happy to be bringing her on board.”