• Cassie Kaawaloa

Meet Michelle Powers - District 7


Michelle Powers is the Director of Donor Relations at Fleet Science Center in San Diego, CA. In her current role, Michelle is responsible for engaging, stewarding, and supporting the Fleet’s donors. She works to grow the Luminary Society, the Fleet’s premier circle of philanthropists, and seeks to promote a culture of philanthropy among donors, members, and friends of the Fleet.


Michelle’s diverse experience encompasses nearly 15 years as a fundraising, leadership, and talent professional, responsible for building lasting relationships between organizations and their donors. She has developed and implemented successful fundraising strategies while managing teams to raise crucial funding for inspiring institutions such as Stanford University, Stanford Law School, and History San José. Over her career, Michelle has recruited, hired, on-boarded, trained, developed, and mentored over 100 employees to excel in their roles.


While living in Boston, Michelle served as a docent at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which inspired her to shift her career track from higher education to museums. Prior to working at the Fleet Science Center, Michelle served as the Director of Development & Marketing for History San José, where she oversaw fundraising, membership, marketing, and social media. Michelle earned her BA in Psychology and Art History from Clark University, her MBA/Master’s in Museum Studies from John F. Kennedy University, and a Leadership & Management certificate from U.C. Berkeley.


As a recent transplant to the Mission Valley neighborhood of San Diego from the Bay Area, Michelle is proud to represent the arts in District 7.


In the past, Michelle has served as member of the Board of Directors of Cultural Connections; the Association for Talent Development - Golden Gate Chapter; and the California Association of Museums. Presently, she serves as a member of the California Association of Museums Program Committee and Multicultural & Emerging Professionals Committee.


When not at the Fleet, Michelle is an adjunct faculty member of the Museum Studies program at John F. Kennedy University, where she teaches Fundraising & Marketing and Strategic Thinking & Planning. Additionally, Michelle is a talent and career development consultant who delivers services such as: resume editing, career pathing, interview coaching, and employee engagement strategies. Michelle is a recently graduated Provisional Member of the Junior League of San Diego.

Arts+Culture:San Diego is a coalition of over 100 arts and culture organizations dedicated to strengthening our diverse cultural ecosystem and achieving the Penny for Arts and Culture funding plan in San Diego.

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