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Hi there!

We are just beginning to build our empire and would love to meet other enthusiastic female leaders!

About Michelle

I helped build my first empire when I was 10.

We didn’t know then, but my mom, grandma, and aunt were building a local gem–the Ice Cream Party Shoppe–that still serves our community today. Around the same time, I fell in love with dance at the studio next door to our business. I spent my childhood quite literally running between “the stores”. This is what launched my journey into entrepreneurship and supporting women leaders. 

 

Fast forward more than a few years later.

 

I was a struggling professional NYC dancer with 3-6 jobs at any one time frustrated by the lack of opportunity for women – especially those of us with less traditional backgrounds. By eventually leveraging my dance training and entrepreneurial spirit, I landed my first “real” fundraising job at American Ballet Theatre. A dream come true for a dancer and lifelong entrepreneur.

Since then, I’ve helped raise tens of millions of dollars for nonprofits including American Ballet Theatre, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Dancers’ Workshop Jackson Hole, and Partnership Schools (founded by NYC-Philanthropist Russ Carson). 

Most recently, I served as VP of Development for Partnership Schools, building and leading the $16M+/year development team, exceeding organizational fundraising goals, and acting as a special advisor to the Executive Director. After nearly four years of serving our students across NYC and Cleveland, I decided to expand my impact and create Cleopatra. 

It’s been 20+ years of supporting women-led small businesses, teams, and organizations. Today, Cleopatra has the privilege of serving as the strategic fundraising consultant for social impact start-up, Grapevine, to build and fundraise for the newly launched Grapevine Giving Foundation. Cleopatra also works with DREAM Charter School to create and integrate team-wide development operations via Salesforce.

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