Michelle Nicholson

As chief operating officer, Michelle leads the organization’s people, culture and operations to ensure Polaris is impactful and effective in pursuing our vision for a world that is more just and equitable where no one is trafficked. She oversees the organization’s day to day functions including strategic planning, legal and risk mitigation, people (including HR, learning and development, culture, and JEDI), and work environment oversight.

Michelle is an empathetic, innovative, and deliberate executive with 20 years of progressive experience in human resources and organizational development. She is a thought leader and strategist with a proven track record of talent engagement, change management, and strategic planning, with the goal of uplifting, inspiring, encouraging others to be their best selves.

Previously Michelle held HR leadership roles at a federally qualified health center, public charter schools, and trade associations in the Washington metropolitan area. She was the board chair of the Tri-County Council of Southern Maryland Workforce Development Board, whose mission is to guide the Southern Maryland workforce in a direction that meets the needs of businesses and strengthens the local economy.

With a strong commitment to social responsibility and innovation, she continuously seeks new opportunities to optimize operations and enhance Polaris’s impact.

Michelle holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and two Masters degrees in Human Resources Management and Human Resources Development.

Need help? Polaris operates the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline.