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Debra Michaels

Sr. Manager, Program Optimization


I am a passionate connector between business and the social sector. I believe in the power of collaboration to drive the change that we want to see.

Debra Michaels is an experienced social impact leader with more than 12 years of working with nonprofits, volunteers, and corporate partners.  She has seen the transformative work of social impact organizations on their communities and prides herself as a bridge and connector between the nonprofit and private sectors. In her role as Consultant, Debra partners with organizations seeking to leverage skills-based volunteers to amplify nonprofit capacity and grow and scale impact.

Prior to joining Common Impact, Debra managed external relations and $1M+ of fundraising as a leader at rapidly scaling nonprofits including VOCEL, an innovative early childhood and parent support program, and Chicago Run, a youth development and health and wellness organization serving Chicago Public School students. She also spent 6.5 years at Cara Chicago, a workforce development organization, managing 200+ volunteers and multi-faceted strategic partnerships.

Debra has an MBA from Chicago Booth (’19) and a BA from Northwestern University. She was the recipient of the Chicago Booth Global Awareness Award and led the most active student organization, Booth Social Impact, for 2.5 years. Debra believes in combining data, strategy, and resources to help good work go further.