“My mother was an elementary school librarian and this quote is from one of her favorite books, Miss Rumphius. Making the world more beautiful is the final task, out of three, that young Alice is taught to do in her life (the first two being: travel to faraway places and come home to live by the sea). The arc of my life has always reflected these ideas, maybe as a natural progression of life as a Mainer and a child of world travelers, but I’ve always felt a strong link between my life’s path and these three goals. While I’ve always loved gaining the visceral knowledge you get from visiting “faraway places” (experiencing the foods and textures and smells and feelings of those places), I’ve always needed to keep coming home to live by the sea, especially smelling the salt air and seeing the shimmering water among the islands of Casco Bay.
Now, while I still continue to enjoy the ocean and travels, my daily life is very focused on this third task of making the world more beautiful, and I know it will occupy me for the rest of my life. I’m now raising kids who I hope, too, will feel a link to this book’s message: that we must leave the world better than how we found it. I personally work to make the world more beautiful through literal means via attending beach cleanups or doing DIY home renovations, in financially supporting my town library or my church, or in raising and educating healthy children. But I also interpret “beautiful” in many intangible ways…. Anything that helps increase harmony among people or between humans and the rest of the planet is related to this inner calling. So, whether it’s working on social justice issues, advocating for cycling infrastructure and alternative energy, or giving my attention to others in all my various roles as mother, group leader, activist, or financial planner, each effort contributes to my mission of leaving the world a better place.
Making order out of chaos is one of my strengths, and when applied to finances, order and planning can be a truly beautiful thing. Financial planning enables us to feel that we have “enough”, to sleep well at night, to be able to allocate resources to causes we care about, or to provide for the health and safety of our future generations. So much relies on both making financial plans and executing on them. So, I’m happy to be part of this industry, to continue creating beauty by helping people direct their energy and talents toward their goals, and to someday leave the world better… knowing I helped make that all happen.”
Michelle graduated from Brown University and joined the Cornerstone team in 2019. She passed Level I of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam in 2015, the Series 65 exam in 2018, and is currently pursuing the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) certificate. Previous work experience was at Aurora Financial, Atlantic Trust, and GMI Ratings (now part of MSCI) doing equity analysis, portfolio management, and corporate governance research. Over the years, she has been active with several climate change and women’s rights organizations, and is currently serving on the board of the Maine Women’s Lobby Education Fund and as a leader in her local Cub Scout pack. She and her family live in her hometown of Falmouth.