Director of Philanthropy and Community Engagement | MLaPointe@VillageShalom.org
Michelle joined the family as head of the Village Shalom Development team in 2015, after spending nearly 20 years with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. She’s a graduate of the University of Missouri—Kansas City where she received her bachelor’s degree in communications. Michelle also serves on the Board of Directors for the Heartland Men’s Chorus.
Although she’s been in Kansas City for many years, Michelle was born an Arizona girl – and is still one to this day. Her children, on the other hand, are New Yorkers. Her son, Erik, is pursuing an acting career in Brooklyn. Her daughter, Alexandra, is a newly married Army wife and she and her husband, Doug, are stationed in Fort Drum, New York. Her step-son, Kirk, and his wife, Ami, have three little girls, a donkey, many chickens and several pigs on their little farm in Holden, Missouri. Her step-daughter, Nicole, leads a more cosmopolitan lifestyle in Kansas City.
You don’t spend 20 years in an opera house without possessing a passion for the arts. Michelle certainly has that – particularly for the theatre, visual arts and all types of music – from classical to country. She loves sailing and used to tool around the Midwest regatta scene in a 16-foot catamaran. These days, a game of canasta in a pool-side cabana is more her style.
Her soft-spot for the sun and sand goes hand-in-hand with her love of travel. Michelle is always in the process of planning her next trip. A few of her favorites to date include New Zealand, India, Hong Kong and Trinidad. No matter where she travels, Michelle always brings home an animal – a carved animal. She began collecting them as a teenager after meeting family artisans of the tradition in Oaxaca, Mexico. In the years since, her home has become overrun with animals from India, Guatemala, Nova Scotia, Jamaica and Native American reservations. What a zoo! Now we see where Kirk gets it.